The 147th district: Two Republicans to primary for state rep. Aug. 14 — Meet Anzelmo Graziosi
CORRECTION —Though Graziosi stated Blumenthal lives in Greenwich, The Darien Times has confirmed Blumenthal moved to Stamford in April 2017, and the district he is running to represent, in March of this year.
Two Republicans, Darien's Marcy Minnick and Stamford's Anzelmo Graziosi, are seeking the chance to run against Democrat Matt Blumenthal for state representative of the 147th district — which represents part of Stamford and Darien. State Rep. William Tong, who currently serves in the role, is running for attorney general.
Anzelmo Graziosi wants to make a difference in the state. He thinks the first step is to ensure political dynasty families do not continue to be elected to office.
Graziosi is running against Marcy Minnick in the Aug. 14 Republican primary. Both want a chance to run against Matt Blumenthal, a democrat, to represent the 147th District in the state senate. The district includes Darien and Stamford. Blumenthal is the son of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Graziosi wants to do what he can to defeat Blumenthal, who lives in Greenwich.
“He doesn’t even live in my community. He doesn’t represent me,” he said.
“The Democrats have controlled this state for 50 years,” said Graziosi, a Stamford resident. “They keep spending needlessly. Someone needs to reign them in.”
Graziosi initially sought the Democratic nomination to run but lost to Blumenthal. It was then that he changed parties to run as a Republican, as reported by the Stamford Advocate.
Graziosi was locally endorsed by the Republicans to run in the primary. He describes himself as an Independent Republican.
“Dan Malloy is not the problem,” he said in regards to the state’s governor. “We have had Republican governors before. But, we’ve never had a Republican-controlled legislature.”
Graziosi thinks reigning in widespread overspending in Connecticut is the first step in fixing the state’s fiscal crisis. The financial woes are being felt by everyone in the state, who feel burdened with high taxes he said. He has met people - even going door to door to campaign, who are leaving because it’s gotten too expensive.
First on Graziosi’s list is changing pensions.
“I’ve already been a vocal voice … about the relationship that the party in power has with unions,” he said. There needs to be collective bargaining reform; public employees need to be moved from pensions to more of a 401K-style plan.
“We have some of the most generous benefits to our state employees,” said Graziosi. “Right off the bat we need pension reform.”
Besides pensions, Gaziosi thinks there needs to be spending caps in place and adhered to.
“The last thing we need to give is leaders more funds,” he said. “They have shown that they have no self restraint in spending. There is a tremendous amount of overspending. There is clearly enough room to go through the budget line by line.”
“Once you get a handle on that and you stop tying the legislature’s hands,” and that’s when real change can be made, he said.
“I have both both private business and elected-office experience,” said Graziosi. “I have essentially the best of both worlds,” for attributes that would make him a good state rep.
He and his wife own two animal hospitals - one in Greenwich and one in Westchester County. Together, they have about 30 employees.
“My children are third-generation Stamford residents,” he said.
Originally from Long Island, Graziosi was the deputy mayor of Glen Cove, also sitting on its city council. The lawyer is also a former member of the Early Childhood Education Committee and is on the Stamford Board of Representatives.
“My wife and my family are a Stamford success story,” said Graziosi. Both came from poorer immigrant families.
“What makes me optimistic is Connecticut is a relatively small state,” he said. There are not too many layers of government. “We have the ability to make changes if we want to.”
On tolls, Graziosi is initially opposed to the idea. He said gas taxes are so high already, people are paying enough. When he goes to visit his parents in New York, he fills up his gas tank in New York, avoiding Connecticut as much as he can.
“If you just initiate toll, it is just like adding to income tax,” he said. If there are tolls, spending needs to be fixed before other things are added.
He also wants to see changes to the Stamford train station. He said that is the busiest train station on the line, after Grand Central Station.
“It is outrageous to me that the train station looks the way it does,” said Graziosi.
There needs to be a quicker rail line, better train service and improvement to the roads.
“Fairfield County is a bottleneck,” on the roads, Graziosi said. “We need to possibly explore options with the private sector.”
“If people can’t get to work and the taxes are high, people are not going to want to live here,” he said. “You need to have change,” he said. “This is a crucial time for our state.”