KENT -- Tuesday's Republican primary for the 64th District seat in the Connecticut House features party-endorsed Brian Ohler and challenger Mark Lauretano.

Ohler is a native of North Canaan. He joined the Connecticut Army National Guard in 2001 and served 12 years, doing three combat tours -- Baghdad in 2003-04, Iraq in 2006-07 and western Afghanistan in 2011.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Ohler did a physical safety assessment of each elementary school and the high school in Region 1. His findings are being implemented by the school system.

The recipient of four Purple Hearts, Ohler holds a confirmed service-connected disability. He serves as veteran service officer for the town of North Canaan. He is single.

Lauretano grew up in greater Boston. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps in May 1980. He then earned an associate's degree in law enforcement and joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

In 1982, Lauretano became a Connecticut State Police trooper. He spent 20 of his 29 years with the state police as the resident trooper in Salisbury. In 1990-91 he re-enlisted in the Marines and served in the Gulf War, then returned to the state police.

Lauretano has a master's degree in management from St. Joseph's College in West Hartford. He retired from the state police in 2011, ran for a seat on the Salisbury Board of Selectmen and won.

Lauretano has been a Lakeville resident since 1988. He and his wife, Kathy, have three adult children and have been married 29 years.

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