Quartet Of Candidates Emerges For Enfield State Representative Seat

ENFIELD, CT — With the imminent retirement of three-term Democratic District 58 state representative Tom Arnone, a quartet of candidates – two from each major party – has filed official paperwork with the state seeking his seat in the General Assembly.

Arnone knocked off incumbent Republican Greg Stokes to win the office in 2018, then successfully ran for re-election in 2020 and 2022.

Three of the candidates vying for the seat are current Enfield Town Council members John Santanella, Marie Pyznar and Bob Hendrickson. The fourth is former District 58 rep David Alexander.

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Santanella is the council minority leader in his second term. A graduate of Enfield High School and Boston College, he is a small business owner and a former executive at Hasbro and Viacom.

His campaign will focus on affordable healthcare, child care, education, job growth and protecting women’s rights.

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“We stand at an important crossroads for our nation, and it has never been clearer that every election counts,” he said. “We need to continue to elect strong leadership to the state legislature, and I will ensure Enfield remains a priority in Hartford’s agenda.”

He will be opposed at a Democratic caucus by Alexander, returning to local politics for the first time since dropping the seat to Stokes in 2016. He had been elected as state rep in 2012, then re-elected two years later.

A graduate of Enfield High School,Trinity College and the University of Connecticut School of Law, Alexander was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon returning to Enfield in 2020, he founded Adjutant Co, an AI legal tech company which invented and the first-ever AI web chat for personal injury lawyers.

His wide-ranging policy goals for next year’s legislative session includes tax reform that would require Wall Street billionaires to pay their fair share of state taxes, with the revenue generated helping fund education, housing, child care and tax relief for the underprivileged. He will also work to create a more equitable state health care system. He believes Enfield would be best served by a representative with his experience in state level government.

“Enfield can’t afford their next representative to require on-the-job training” he said. “I have a proven track record of delivering results by being Enfield’s representative to Hartford and not Hartford’s representative back to Enfield. I know the issues, the committees and the key players at the Capitol, and I have always stood up to the ‘Hartford Insiders’ that mean to harm us. Simply put, Enfield needs a zealous advocate with a unique background and the appropriate skill set for the job. I am that person.”

On the Republican side, Hendrickson makes his second attempt at securing the District 58 nod. He came up just 514 votes shy in 2022, earning support from 46.4 percent of the voters, the best percentage of any of Arnone’s three opponents.

Hendrickson worked in management at ShopRite for nearly 40 years. He is a freshman councilor, winning the District 4 spot in a tight race with Democrat Kari Monteforte after incumbent Democrat Nick Hopkins had been ousted in a primary.

He said his primary goals are ensuring veterans and seniors receive proper benefits and resources, having zoning laws remain local, preventing state mandates for electric vehicles and protecting parents’ rights, particularly on school choice.

“As a former retail manager in Enfield, I understand how the declining economy and increased expenses have affected our daily lives,” he said. “Enfield is an important border town on the I-91 corridor and a retail destination for many. I would like to see the leaders in Hartford recognize this, while still protecting our right to control local zoning and our vision of Enfield. With inflation consuming more of everyone’s wages every day, the time is right to have strong Republican representation in Hartford. Years of failed policies have proven that the Democrats do not want to address any of the major issues facing Connecticut.”

Pyznar, who was selected deputy mayor when the Republicans wrested back the majority on the council in November, says if elected to go to Hartford, she will strive to bring change to issues such as the gas-powered vehicle ban, the financial drain and tax burden caused by unfunded mandates, farmland-encroaching solar farms, juvenile crime and the backlog in the state’s judicial system.

“Connecticut is in the top ten of the most expensive states to live in, making it nearly impossible for newly retired and recent graduates to live here,” she said. “I love my community – it’s been my home for 67 years. I understand firsthand the issues my town and state face, and I intend to be a voice for the residents in Hartford for common sense solutions that make Connecticut a thriving, prosperous place to call home.”

Caucuses for both parties to select their candidates are scheduled for May 22 at 7 p.m. at town hall. Democrats will gather in the council chambers, while Republicans will meet in the Scitico Room.

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