Candidates speak: The Darien Times has invited the candidates for the 25th Senate District and the 147th House District to submit op eds for Darien voters. The Republican candidate for the 147th District, Anzelmo Graziosi, did not submit an op ed by deadline. Marc D'Amelio, Republican State Senate candidate, 25th District A few weeks ago, Sen. Duff and I participated in a Channel 12 News Meet the Candidates forum. I was surprised to hear Sen. Duff rave about the many positive things happening in Connecticut under his leadership. His message was simple, we are making headways, and we should stay the course. Facts matter. In the midst of a national economic boom, our economy is lagging. We face a $5 billion deficit in our next budget cycle, we have neglected our infrastructure and grossly underfunded public employees' pensions. Taxes keep going up, and there is a mass exodus of people and companies choked by taxes, regulations and fearful of our state's precarious future. I am running because I know I have the ability and skill set to help change the course of the financial ruin Connecticut is on. I will bring a unique and creative perspective to Hartford and will go there with an open mind and no political agenda. Unlike my opponent who has been in politics since high school, politics was not a calling for me. Instead, running for State Senate is a call to action prompted by the frustration of observing our area suffer from bad political decisions and being short-changed and ignored by the state for too long. My agenda will aim to improve our competitiveness while reducing the uncertainty raised by our fiscal problems, both vital to growing our job market and attracting businesses. We must work to retain existing companies without using failed corporate welfare. Every senator should work on bipartisan measures to close our deficit and looming unfunded liabilities. Expense cuts and structural changes coupled with tax reform, innovation and a more business-friendly environment are the real solutions. We must also fund our infrastructure while acting more strategically to tackle its extraordinary cost. Fairfield County generates over 40% of the state's revenue; therefore, we need to prioritize investing in our local infrastructure to keep this engine moving. Shorter commute time to NYC would be a game changer. We also need to address congestion, not with tolls or more roads, but with investments in mass transit and new innovative shared-transportation made possible by technology. We need to look at creative out-of-the-box ideas, like underground travel as pioneered by The Boring Company. \u00a0 I am a political outsider who will not be beholden to party or special interest groups. I will work to enact legislation that will benefit Darien, Norwalk, and Connecticut, regardless of party or political aspirations. My opponent is exceptionally partisan; he gets up every morning and puts his Democrat superhero cape on and goes out to fight for his party's cause. Legislators do not work alone and must foster relationships to be successful. I know how to collaborate through my career as an entrepreneur, and I refuse to be compelled by political ideology. Finally, my opponent is making abysmal financial decisions with our tax dollars; you need a state senator with a solid business background to invest your tax dollars wisely in Connecticut's future. I will strive to be fiscally responsible and will value your hard-earned tax dollars as if they were my own. Failure is not an option; there is just too much at stake.