Charity Folk has been the Executive Director of the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce for the last 20 years. A fiscal conservative, her goal is to be a Republican voice at the state level, to create debate and hopefully dialogue as well. Her main concern? The lack of support at the state level for the business community.
"The business community is not heard," said Folk. "I don't think some of our legislators understand what a burden it's become," referring to state regulations on small businesses. Some of her concerns surround the potential increase in the minimum wage, which she says could be "devastating," and the need for the government to support the business community.
Folks also voiced her concern that "business gets in big trouble if they can't manage their budgets. Spend what you earn — I do it at home." Comparatively, she said, state goverment doesn't seem to have any consequences when it comes to over-spending.
"I need people to understand that when you have a strong business community, they support the community around them," said Folk. "We're all connected."
Locally, Folk said, she supports researching the option for full-day kindergarten. "Our superintendent is doing the right thing by asking for input from all the stakeholders," said Folk. She feels it would be vital to find out what full-day kindergarten would cost the town.
"I have a reputation of being able to work with a lot of people," said Folk, who says she does not see a conflict of interest in staying in the position of Director of the Chamber and running for this seat. "I have no intention of stepping down," she said. "I have made a conscious effort to keep [my run for the 16th district] separate from my office," she said.
When Folk entered the race for the 16th District, she thought she would be facing State Rep. Linda Schofield. But, to her and many other people's surprise, Schofield announced recently that she would not be running again, leaving the position wide open for competition.
"She was a tireless advocate for all of Simsbury and an independent thinker," Jeff Tindall, chairman of the Simsbury Democratic Town Committee, said of Schofield. "Her accessibility and passion for constituent services will be greatly missed. Linda leaves big shoes to fill for whoever has the privilege to serve as her successor."
As of now, no other Repulicans or Democrats have announced a desire to vie for the position.
Tindall said that a possible candidate may announce their intentions as soon as next week. "I'm very excited that several very qualified candidates have expressed interest in the state representative nomination," said Tindall. "We intend on retaining this seat and look forward to a robust discussion in putting forth a nominee."
Folk has been a resident of Simsbury since 1983, and with her husband, raised two daughters in Simsbury as well. She has a background in public communications and has worked at Simbury Community Television.