New Milford elects Buckbee, Miner to open House, Senate seats
Buckbee won a three-way race against Democrat Mary Jane Lundgren and Green Party candidate Cynthia Day to claim the 67th District House seat, which represents only New Milford. Buckbee finished with 6,495 votes to Lundgren’s 4,491. Day, a hemp activist, trailed far behind with 207 votes.
Miner beat Democrat David Lawson, chairman of the New Milford Board of Education, 56 to 44 percent to win in the 30th Senate District, which in addition to New Milford includes the towns of Brookfield, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Warren, Winchester and part of Torrington.
Miner won by just under 5,000 votes, 23,439 to 18,448. Lawson won the Democratic-leading Northwest Connecticut towns of Salisbury, Kent, Sharon, Cornwall and Canaan. But Miner built up a big margin in his hometown of Litchfield, 3,053 to 1,516, and even defeated Lawson on his home turf of New Milford, 7,045 to 6,169.
Lundgren, a Democrat who sits on the New Milford Town Council, campaigned on social issues, saying that she wants to improve paid family leave in Connecticut.
Buckbee, executive director of New Milford’s Harrybrooke Park and a member of the New Milford Sewer Commission who for years has played Santa Claus for local children, said he would focus on stabilizing the state’s budget by attracting new businesses.
Environmental issues were a factor in both races.
Although she has not taken a position on it, Lundgren was criticized by Republicans opposed to a natural gas power plant that has been put forth by a fellow Democrat, Mayor David Gronbach.
In the Senate race, Democrats criticized Miner for being named to an advocacy organization’s “dirty dozen” list of legislators who they say have a poor voting record on environmental issues.
Miner has served eight terms as the state representative for the 66th District, which includes Litchfield, where he was first selectman prior to being elected to the legislature, and nearby towns. Lawson is a public school teacher who has served on New Milford’s Board of Education since 2003.
“I’m very proud of the campaign we ran,” Lawson said. “I think we did an excellent job. I think the national election kind of clouded the local results.”
In addition to the environment, Miner and Lawson clashed on gun control. Miner was a leading voice in the legislature against gun control measures that were adopted following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.