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West Hartford Republicans Announce Nominees for 2020 Election

From left: Phil Chabot, Rick Bush, Alberto Cortes (we-ha.com file photos)

West Hartford Republican Town Committee has endorsed a slate of candidates for the November 2020 election, and also will fill a vacant seat on the Board of Education.

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Republican Town Committee held a virtual convention Wednesday night, and has announced a slate of local candidates who represent the party in the November 2020 election.

“They are all ‘solutions-based’ candidates,” Republican Town Committee Chair Mark Merritt told We-Ha.com.

“We are excited to support this diverse group of individuals that will bring solutions to address the challenges and issues our town and state are facing. The perspective each of these individuals brings to the table will help us tackle the financial instability we have and create a solid foundation for our future. They are business owners, entrepreneurs and community activists,” Merritt said in a statement, adding that the candidates “represent the values of the party that Lincoln, Reagan, and Bush established.”

In the 5th State Senate District, Phil Chabot has been endorsed. Chabot lives in Farmington, where he is an owner of the Farmington Garden event space. The district includes West Hartford and Burlington as well as parts of Farmington and Bloomfield.

“He will be able to bring an entrepreneurial business perspective to the State House,” Merritt said.

Rick Bush, who owns a local real estate investment and property management firm, will challenge incumbent Jillian Gilchrest for the 18th District House seat.

Bush ran a strong campaign for West Hartford Town Council last fall, with reform of the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) as his key issue.

“He will be a voice at the State Capitol for fiscal responsibility and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty,” Merritt said.

In the 20th District, Alberto Cortes has been endorsed.

Cortes, a former Department of Corrections officer, served as a union steward (Local 387) and also spent six years with the Connecticut Army National Guard. He also ran for West Hartford Town Council last fall.

“In keeping with our fiscal values and recognizing the situation our state is in, Al Cortes will not be seeking state funded aid from SEEC,” Merritt said, due to the difficult financial upheaval the state is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the Democratic challenger to also forgo participating in the SEEC program. 

There is not currently an endorsed Republican candidate for the 19th District, Merritt said. The party would be open to supporting a candidate through the petition process if someone steps up, he said.

Republican Registrar of Voters Beth Kyle was also endorsed for another term.

Liz Wilcox. Courtesy photo

In addition, Elizabeth “Liz” Wilcox has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the West Hartford Board of Education resulting from the resignation Tuesday night of Republican Rob Levine.

Levine, who recently expanded his business, felt he could no longer properly commit his time to the Board position.

“We are excited to be supporting Liz to help guide our BOE as we continue to deliver a top-tier educational experience with an eye toward future needs all within a fiscally responsible manner,” Merritt said.

Wilcox will be sworn in at the Board’s June 2 meeting.

West Hartford resident Mary Fay was recently endorsed as the Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District, and faces longtime incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. John B. Larson in November.

West Hartford Democrats have also announced a slate of candidates for the November election.

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