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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Incumbent wants to keep 14th

Slossberg, opponent both agree it’s about taxes and state budget

By James Tinley
Register Staff
— Sen. Gayle Slossberg picked a unique venue to illustrate why she is running for re-election for state Senate.
Instead of rolling out the party leaders on the steps of City Hall, Slossberg, D-Milford, announced Monday she is seeking to represent the 14th District for a third term from the home of a grateful constituent, Rosemarie Civitello.
Civitello, of Cleveland Avenue, explained that she was diagnosed with breast cancer May 22, 2007. After two surgeries and radiation treatment over the course of six months, she was told she was 99 percent cancer-free. Civitello, 50, however, has no health insurance and said she accrued more than $80,000 in medical bills.
“I was afraid I could lose everything,” Civitello said. “I made myself sick worrying.”
Not knowing what to do, Civitello, a single mother of two, contacted Slossberg, whom she had only met once when Slossberg knocked on her door while campaigning.
Civitello said Slossberg accompanied her to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport and helped her get through what can be a daunting and onerous task of filing paperwork with the hospital for financial assistance. Civitello said through Slossberg’s advocating on her behalf, her $47,000 bill at St. Vincent’s was erased.
“Sometimes, life knocks you for a loop and you need someone to fight for you,” Slossberg said.
Civitello said she is unendingly grateful to Slossberg. “There are no words I could use to ever express what this woman did for me,” she said through tears.
Slossberg said Civitello’s issue “highlights the problem on a national level,” and she wants to return to the Senate to fight for people like Civitello.
“It’s about working for the people and getting things done,” Slossberg said. In order to keep others from finding themselves in the same position as Civitello, Slossberg said the state should take steps to make health care more affordable.
Slossberg, who formerly practiced law in New York, goes up against Vincent Marino, Orange town attorney. The 14th District includes Milford, Orange and parts of West Haven.
“I think the residents deserve a better leader,” Marino said.
Marino, a Republican, has blasted Slossberg for what he sees as her inability to fulfill a campaign promise to pass ethics reform.
Slossberg scoffed at that assertion and cited a letter from Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, commending her on her work to pass the Clean Contracting Standards Bill. The bill made the way state contracts are rewarded more transparent.
Slossberg has called on Rell and other state leaders to call the legislature back for a special session to approve a bill that would block corrupt municipal officials and employees from receiving their pensions.
Richard Smith, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, said Slossberg is a candidate who “in four years earned the respect from both sides.”
Both Marino and Slossberg said not raising taxes and tightening the state budget during difficult economic times are among their top priorities.
Marino, a former Republican town chairman in Orange, has spent more than two years as the town attorney. Marino is an attorney with the law firm of Cohen and Wolf.
Slossberg earned her law degree at the New York University School of Law. Slossberg served as minority leader of the Milford Board of Aldermen from 2001 to 2004.
The Republican convention is today and the Democratic convention is Monday.


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