A special election for the vacant 15th District assembly seat will be held Jan. 9.
The seat was vacated by Democrat David Baram, who resigned after winning election as judge of the 3rd District probate court.
Bobby Gibson, a political newcomer and the endorsed candidate, will be opposed by former Bloomfield mayor and former state treasurer Joseph Suggs, who gathered enough signatures to be placed on the ballot as a petitioning candidate.
Gibson, 50, and a lifelong resident of Bloomfield has been a teacher in town and in Hartford for 23 years. He currently teaches seventh grade science at Carmen Arace Middle School.
“I bring an ability to listen and stand strong for my convictions,” he said of his strengths.
Gibson, who also coached football at Bloomfield High School, said his professional background would serve him well in the legislature and that he would focus on educational issues, especially related to funding. Caring for the elderly is another area that Gibson plans to concentrate his efforts, as well as growing business in both towns.
As for his lack of political experience, Gibson said it was an asset and not a liability.
“I have a clean slate,” he said. “The only people I owe are teachers and students.”
Suggs, 77, said his political experience makes him the best candidate because he has worked on budgets at the local and state level.
“I have a strong financial background,” he said. “That’s my strength.”
Suggs said his familiarity with legislators at the Capitol would also help, especially in the upcoming short session that will focus on budgetary issues.
“They have confidence and faith in me,” said Suggs, who added that he would work for access to quality health care, support small business growth and do more to protect the state’s drinking water supply.
Suggs, a retired laboratory supervisor with Monsanto, said that if elected he would be a full-time state representative with no other obligations or distractions.
As for being a petitioning candidate, Suggs said the August Democratic primary for town council, which saw the endorsed slate swept out of office, shows that voters don’t want to be told who to vote for by party bosses.
“I’m giving voters a choice,” he said.