[November 3, 2010] Bye Wins State Senate Race (Excerpt)

Hartford Courant / Fox CT

5th Senate District
    Democrat Beth Bye held on to an open seat vacated by a Democrat, defeating Republican Joseph Merritt.
    The race pitted Bye, a Democratic state lawmaker, against Merritt, a Bloomfield Republican who said his decades of business experience would help control government costs.
    Merritt, a retired businessman and a longtime Bloomfield councilman, acknowledged he was the underdog. The district, which has historically gone to Democrats, covers West Hartford, Burlington, much of Farmington and only a piece of Bloomfield.
    Sen. Jonathan Harris, a West Hartford Democrat, vacated the seat after unsuccessfully seeking his party's nomination for secretary of the state. Merritt, 68, ran against Harris in 2008.
    Bye, 48, is an education consultant who was vice chairwoman of the West Hartford school board when she was elected in 2006 to represent the 19th House District, which includes parts of Avon, Farmington and West Hartford.
    Her top priorities, Bye said, are jobs, the economy and education. "We have to get our budgets under control ... looking over the long-term rather than in two-year cycles," Bye said.
    She pointed out that the Connecticut Business and Industry Association recently endorsed her instead of Merritt, and that she supported a bipartisan job-creation bill this spring that established a tax credit for small businesses that hire new employees in the state. "We listen," Bye said, "and we compromise."
    Bye said she is also proud of proposing legislation last year that bans the toxin BPA (bisphenol-A) from baby food jars and reusable food and drink containers. That law will take effect on Oct. 1, 2011.
    "I'm known for listening to all sides of the debate," Bye said.

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