Republican Announces Candidacy for 19th District State Representative Seat

Bob Margolis. Submitted photo

Robert ‘Bob’ Margolis announced Thursday that he plans to run for the 19th District State House seat vacated by Derek Slap in the April 16, 2019, special election.

By Ronni Newton

Republican Robert “Bob” Margolis announced his candidacy Thursday for the 19th District State House seat vacated last week by Derek Slap, who won a Feb. 26 special election to replace Beth Bye.

The 19th District that includes sections of West Hartford, Avon, and Farmington.

Margolis, 60, is currently a resident of Avon, but grew up in West Hartford and is a 1976 graduate of Hall High School. He is a political newcomer, but said in a news release that his interest in running was sparked by his opposition to proposed tax hikes and efforts to force regionalization of school districts.

“Even those who pay little attention to what’s happening in the legislature know we need a different approach in Hartford,” Margolis said in a statement Thursday. “Connecticut residents watched former Governor Malloy and past legislatures impose massive tax hikes with the promise of putting our state on the right path. It didn’t work, yet here they go again – discussing new, far-reaching tax proposals that will make our state an even more expensive place to live.”

Margolis is founder and CEO of LifeSafe Training LLC, which according to its websiteoffers family safety training and personal safety training centered around the proper use of firearms” and is a federally-licensed firearms dealer. He is also the general manager of the Hartford Gun Club in East Granby, and has held management positions in the nonprofit and for-profit industries throughout his career.

“I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any more,” Margolis said. “This state faces significant budget deficits, and I don’t know anyone who expects the approach of the past will get us out of it. Employers are struggling, people can’t afford to live in the communities where they grew up – and the answer from folks who control the purse strings? It’s installing more taxes, more anti-business policies,” he said.

“Lawmakers are focused on their pet ideas, from cracking down on snowblower emissions to forcing school districts to regionalize,” said Margolis. “The legislature should focus on the issue of the day – balancing our state’s books – rather than creating more programs we can’t afford or passing policies that make it more difficult and expensive to live here.

“I’m invested in the effort to turn around Connecticut. I want to fix the state’s problems now so kids have a future here. But that won’t happen unless we inject new voices into the conversation in Hartford, and I look forward to introducing myself to as many people as possible to tell them about my ideas for getting our state on the right track.”

District Republicans will hold a convention Friday at 6:30 p.m. at West Hartford Town Hall, where Margolis is expected to receive the nomination.

Democrat Tammy Exum of West Hartford has announced her candidacy for the 19th District seat. She is expected to be nominated at a convention of Democrats from the district scheduled for Saturday, March 9, beginning at 4 p.m. at West Hartford Town Hall.

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor on Wednesday announced her endorsement of Exum.

“I’m thrilled to support Tammy Exum for the 19th District. Tammy and I worked together when she was vice chair for the Board of Education. I saw how hard she worked, did her homework, listened to everybody and treated everyone with respect,” Cantor said. “I know that Tammy will lead and govern with honesty, ethics, morals, and with grace and dignity.”

In a statement issued Wednesday, Exum said, “I am grateful for Mayor Shari Cantor’s endorsement and her continued leadership in West Hartford. An issue that we worked together on, and one that affects all the towns I hope to represent, is ensuring that we get our fair share of education funding.  If elected as the State Representative for the 19th District, this will be one of my top priorities.”

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  • Forcing well-run smaller school districts under the control of larger low-performing ones is going to hurt a lot of students shift control of education from communities to state bureaucrats. No one looks at how the state is run or what goes on in the larger school districts and says, “I wish my child’s school was run more like that”.

    Make no mistake, this was never about the students. It’s about the state trying to raid the coffers of successful schools and take as much control as they can in the process.

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