Two Democrats are vying for a party nomination to run against incumbent Republican State Sen. Kevin Witkos for the 8th District seat.
Dan Seger, 52, of Canton and Houston P. Lowry, 56, of Avon announced their intentions to run at an issues workshop at the Canton Community Center Thursday. A group of 65 area residents, government officials and party leaders were in attendance.
Connecticut's 8th Senate District consists of Norfolk, Hartland, Canton, Simsbury, New Hartford, Avon, Barkhamsted, Colebrook and parts of Granby, Harwinton and Torrington.
Seger, a father of three and owner of in Canton, is formerly a lifelong Republican who recently made a switch to the Democratic party. Seger said he felt the Republican party no longer represented his values.
"Democratic values, to me, represent a better quality of life for everybody regardless of status," Seger said.
Seger, previously worked as plant manager for Perry Technology Corporation in New Hartford for 26 years. Seger also served two terms as the director of the .
Seger said his experience in business and manufacturing have given him a solid understanding of what is needed to create jobs and what employers need in an increasingly technology-based workforce.
Lowry has worked in commercial and business law since 1980 and currently practices with Brown & Welsh, P.C. in Meriden. Lowry is currently serving his third term on the Avon Board of Education and holds five college degrees including a master of laws degree from the University of Cambridge. He said education would be an important focus if he is elected.
"I think I can make a difference," Lowry said. "I think we should be reviewing laws we have on the books, reforming them. It's a continuing process, stuff that worked 50 years ago doesn't work well now, stuff that worked 10 years ago doesn't work now."
Lowry said residents of the 8th Senate District need a leader who is not afraid to "shake things up."
"We need someone who's not afraid to stick their neck out and say what's going on," Lowry said.
During the workshop the candidates received campaign advice from local elected officials and insight on jobs, the economy, and education.
Regardless of which candidate takes the party nomination, party leaders are feeling optimistic about the election. Chairman of the Simsbury Democratic Party Jeff Tindall said that despite the fact that a Democrat has not won the 8th District Senate seat since at least 1971, momentum within the district is growing.
"The goal of this event was to simply find a candidate and get some momentum and we've clearly done that," Tindall said. "By the attendance here tonight and by the looks on your faces I don't think that you — and neither am I — satisfied by just showing up, we want to win and that starts tonight."