Elections Government

Meet the Candidate: Mark Merritt

Mark Merritt. Submitted photo

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running for election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Mark Merritt. Submitted photo

Mark Merritt. Submitted photo

Compiled by Ronni Newton

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to “Meet the Candidate” – designed to help them get to know the local candidates running for office in the Nov. 8, 2016, election.

Identical questionnaires have been sent to all major party candidates, and each profile received has been submitted directly to We-Ha.com by the candidate or the candidate’s campaign management. The responses have not been edited but have been formatted to match our publication style. Questions left blank have been deleted.

As profiles are received, they will be published on We-Ha.com under the “Government” tab. We-Ha.com is not making endorsements of any political candidates but we are publishing this information in order to assist West Hartford voters in being informed and prepared when they go to the polls on Nov. 8.

If you are a candidate and wish to submit a profile, please return it by email to Ronni Newton at [email protected] ASAP.

Name: Mark Merritt

Age: 47

Party, position seeking: Republican, State Senate District 5

Family information: Married to Michalee Merritt, and the proud father of Hannah, Benjamin, and Adam

Other occupation, if applicable:  Managing Director of Relationship Strategies at Nationwide Financial

Political experience: First Time Candidate

Other relevant experience: Volunteer leader including: Little League Coach, Leadership Advisory Board of the Bank Insurance Securities Association (BISA), Finance Committee Member at the Emanuel Synagogue, and member of the West Hartford RTC.

Why are you running for office?

As a father of three children, I want nothing more than for my kids to be able to work and raise a family in our State. However, based on our State budget, high taxes, and struggling economy the likelihood of the next generation being able to afford to live in our State is fading. I believe that a large part of the reason for this is that our State government and our elected leaders have failed us, by continually supporting the same failed policies. I want to be a voice to change the status quo, and get Connecticut back on track.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? 

Every issue on the minds of our voters this fall is important, but I entered this race to focus on getting our economy turned around, and to get our legislators to begin to responsibly budget our hard earned tax dollars.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today?

West Hartford’s biggest issue is the same as all other towns in Connecticut: Years of poor budgeting and bad financial decisions has left Connecticut’s State Budget in a permanent crisis. Regardless of your political affiliation, or views, it is undeniable that the path that our state is on economically is not sustainable. We either need to make fundamental changes to State government, or there will be nothing left on Connecticut for our children. The state’s poor budgeting also has a profound impact on West Hartford because it affects the money that is appropriated to the town. Further decreases in State funding could cause increases to the already high taxes we pay in town.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position?

One major difference is that I am a first time candidate, which means that I will bring a fresh perspective to the issues that our State faces. Connecticut has seen its fair share of bad headlines, and struggles in recent years, and I think it’s hard to send the same elected officials back to Hartford and expect a different result. I also have spent my career in the Financial Services industry, working collaboratively to find solutions in a challenging economy. I think both my financial services background and my ability to seek common ground are qualities that our State Legislator desperately needs.

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