State Rep. Terrie Wood, an incumbent in this November’s election after holding the spot for four years, thinks she deserves another term.
A solid reputation and experience both in the community and in Hartford, she said.
The self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate believes that the current Democratic majority in all parts of the state’s government is not producing the best result. Democrats are the majority in both legislative chambers, hold the U.S. Congressional seats and both U.S. Senate seats, Wood noted.
“Fiscal conservative and common sense values are not priorities reflected in the current leadership of the majority party,” she said. “That is certainly a frustration.”
Wood, a Republican, inserts herself into the picture as a legislator who is able to work beyond party lines to get her constituent’s views heard. Her experience working with non-profits taught her how to be a leader, build consensus and get the issue solved in a bipartisan way, she said.
“It is essential in democracy to have a debate,” she said, “not only one side and one party represented.” She believes that her position as a Republican is necessary to keep the government’s actions balanced. There is some arrogance from the majority party, Wood said, and she wants to continue to bring spending in order. That’s what she believes her district values.
“What I hear most, from most people is the need to reign in fiscal practices of Hartford, of the majority in Hartford,” Wood said. Her actions represent the constituents’ feeling that big government is hurting the state.
Connecticut has the fourth highest debt per capita, $27,540, in the country. Last year, it had the third highest, according to State Budget Solutions a non-partisan non-profit organization. The state’s credit rating was downgraded at the beginning of this year by Moody’s Investor’s Services, a major credit rating provider.
There are two bills Wood worked on recently that she plans to bring to fruition this sessson. Wood introduced two amendments to 8-30g. The first would allow senior housing to count as a one point, as opposed to the current half point. “In a community like ours, where people should be encouraged to stay,” she said, “it would be great to have a full point.”
Though the the House has not seen it yet, Wood has 10 legislators—mostly Democrats—working on the bill, she said. “I’ve built relationships with people to move that forward.”
The second ammendment would allow for inclusionary zoning, which means developers would have the right to buil without approval in areas previously specified by the Planning & Zoning Commission. Many districts are “struggling” with 8-30g, Wood said, because of its unfunded mandate aspect. She plans to bring these ammendments to the floor next year but recognizes that a complicated bill like 8-30g, takes time to push through.
“When I first started someone mentioned to me that it takes three years to get a good bill passed,” Wood said. “It takes time to get people on board, to educate people. To let people know the highlights of it and the things that might be difficult.”
Wood also introduced a bill in the last session that would require all vehicles to drive at least 500 feet behind an ambulance with its lights and sirens on. This was inspired by a suggestion from a teenager working at Post 53 who was concerned with drivers who did not keep a safe distance.
Wood said that she “shepherded” bills from the House floor to the state Senate, and that the entire process is a learning experience. There are some environmental bills Wood is working on with the shoreline preservation task force. She also plans to advocate for education issues. She was not present for the same-sex marriage bill, introduced in 2009 and eventually passed, but said that she would have voted for it.
Wood is currently a ranking member of the appropriations committee and the children’s committee. She has also served on environmental, education, and human services committees, and the domestic violence, and shoreline preservation task forces.
Wood and her husband have lived in Darien for 34 years. All three of her children went to Darien public schools. Her experience in Darien includes at least two years on the Representative Town Meeting, Republican Town Committee and Community Fund Allocation Panel. Wood has been on the Person-to-Person advisory board for 10 years, and is also currently the chairperson for the state’s Public Land Advisory Board Trust. She was a co-founder of Darien Environmental Group.
Her endorsements come from two organizations—the Connecticut Business and Industry Associates, “for supporting policies that benefited economic recovery and job growth in Connecticut,” and from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, an organization that advocates and educates about environmental policy, according to Wood.
Individual supporters in Darien funded most of her campaign, Wood said. She does does not agree with the Citizen Election Program, which provides some public funding to eligible candidates, such as her opponent. The program was implemented several years ago to encourage more people to run for state office and reduce fraud but “a number of cases” have proven otherwise, Wood said.
“I don’t feel taxpayers should be paying for elections,” Wood said. ”I feel we should be running with support from the constituency.”
If elected for another term, Wood says she will “continue to advocate for constituents and be their voice at the table.”
“Constituents in the 141st district are intelligent, hardworking, straightforward and appreciate honest truth,” she said. “They desire fiscal responsibility, social moderation, common sense and experience in their representative in Hartford. My track record in our community and in Hartford reflects what constituents need and value.”