Brian Ohler to announce his candidacy for the 64th District of the state’s House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by long-term incumbent Democrat Roberta Willis of Salisbury."/>

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Brian Ohler Seeks Seat in 64th District

Brian Ohler.

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CANAAN—Concerns about lingering problems in Connecticut’s economy and a deep-seated desire to serve his state and community has prompted Republican Brian Ohler to announce his candidacy for the 64th District of the state’s House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by long-term incumbent Democrat Roberta Willis of Salisbury.

Military Service

The decorated Army veteran and local business owner made his announcement last week.

Mr. Ohler separated from the military last June after 12 years in the National Guard with two tours in Iraq and a third in Afghanistan. He was also deployed domestically in 2005 to help people in Louisiana manage the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“I joined the National Guard because I wanted to serve my country but still be able to stay involved at the local level,” he said. “But given the injuries I received [he was awarded four Purple Heart medals and three Army commendation medals], I couldn’t go forward with my military career. Since my discharge, I have been contemplating running in some capacity, thinking about how I can affect the most change and I decided this would be the way.”

Civic-Minded Family

Mr. Ohler noted that his grandfather, Henry Pozzetta, was a longtime public servant and first selectman of Canaan for many years. His grandmother, Jeanne, was also politically active in the town.

“I guess it’s in my blood, but this is my first attempt at elective office. But I feel I have a good foundation in this district as far as name recognition goes,” he said.

He adds that he is also motivated to serve as a way to pay back those who stood by him and his family during his years in the Guard. “This whole area has been behind me for 12 years and I can never repay that debt,” he said.

Not that he isn’t trying. He served as a volunteer firefighter here for more than a decade and also works as an emergency medical technician. He operates Patriot’s Safety Group, LLC, a security consulting firm that has worked with the seven schools in Region 1 to modernize their security procedures in the aftermath of Sandy Hook. Continued...

“Since January 2013 I’ve been involved with all seven schools,” he said, “working with their committees and administrations to go over policies and procedures, modernizing their plans where needed. Some of our schools were lacking in preparedness. We’ve made their response plans more seamless. Everyone—the schools, the police, the first responders—are now on board with one plan.”

Politically, he describes himself as “conservative but not as far right as some,” saying he does not believe the divisiveness in Hartford and at the national level is the way to move forward. “I’m fiscally and economically conservative but socially moderate,” he explained.

His campaign currently focuses on the need to stimulate business growth in a state that is consistently ranked among the least friendly to business owners. “Small businesses are the backbone of this state, and over the last few years we’ve seen a disproportionate amount of state aid go toward big companies to simply move them from one Connecticut community to another or to just stay inside our state’s borders,” Mr. Ohler said. “During the same period, the legislature considered and passed proposals that small and mid-sized business owners said will block growth.

“Right now, Governor Malloy has his ‘First Five’ program, which is meant to encourage large corporations to provide 200 to 300 new jobs,” he continued. “But once the tax incentives are gone, those businesses will feel the stress of the state’s business environment and there will be layoffs in the future. The 64th District has few large corporations that we need to keep here, but small businesses are the bread and butter of the region. A lot of my friends have lawn care businesses, tree care businesses, are local mechanics with maybe five to 10 employees—they are the very people we need to create jobs and help turn around our economy.”

He said that since the height of the recession, the majority of the American people have made the individual sacrifices needed to get by but that the government has not mirrored this austerity. “The governor just spent $700,000 on the New Haven tennis tournament while three schools are going bankrupt in Winsted,” he noted. “So many people are hurting. I know [the campaign] will be hard, but it is time for my generation to step up. I want to be that leader, I want to motivate my generation.”

“This part of the state is home to so many great people, and it has so much potential,” said Mr. Ohler, “but with a looming billion-dollar state budget deficit, we’re really at a tipping point. We can’t afford more taxes, more fees—and more empty promises. Now, more than ever, residents and business owners need strong leadership. I want to provide it.”

The sprawling 64th District encompasses Sharon, Cornwall, Canaan, North Canaan, Norfolk, Kent and part of Torrington and Goshen.

Republican Mark Lauretano of Salisbury, a former state trooper, has also announced his candidacy for the 64th District.

Learn more about Brian Ohler at www.brianohler2014.com.
CANAAN—Concerns about lingering problems in Connecticut’s economy and a deep-seated desire to serve his state and community has prompted Republican Brian Ohler to announce his candidacy for the 64th District of the state’s House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by long-term incumbent Democrat Roberta Willis of Salisbury.

Military Service

The decorated Army veteran and local business owner made his announcement last week.

Mr. Ohler separated from the military last June after 12 years in the National Guard with two tours in Iraq and a third in Afghanistan. He was also deployed domestically in 2005 to help people in Louisiana manage the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“I joined the National Guard because I wanted to serve my country but still be able to stay involved at the local level,” he said. “But given the injuries I received [he was awarded four Purple Heart medals and three Army commendation medals], I couldn’t go forward with my military career. Since my discharge, I have been contemplating running in some capacity, thinking about how I can affect the most change and I decided this would be the way.”

Civic-Minded Family

Mr. Ohler noted that his grandfather, Henry Pozzetta, was a longtime public servant and first selectman of Canaan for many years. His grandmother, Jeanne, was also politically active in the town.

“I guess it’s in my blood, but this is my first attempt at elective office. But I feel I have a good foundation in this district as far as name recognition goes,” he said.

He adds that he is also motivated to serve as a way to pay back those who stood by him and his family during his years in the Guard. “This whole area has been behind me for 12 years and I can never repay that debt,” he said.

Not that he isn’t trying. He served as a volunteer firefighter here for more than a decade and also works as an emergency medical technician. He operates Patriot’s Safety Group, LLC, a security consulting firm that has worked with the seven schools in Region 1 to modernize their security procedures in the aftermath of Sandy Hook.

“Since January 2013 I’ve been involved with all seven schools,” he said, “working with their committees and administrations to go over policies and procedures, modernizing their plans where needed. Some of our schools were lacking in preparedness. We’ve made their response plans more seamless. Everyone—the schools, the police, the first responders—are now on board with one plan.”

Politically, he describes himself as “conservative but not as far right as some,” saying he does not believe the divisiveness in Hartford and at the national level is the way to move forward. “I’m fiscally and economically conservative but socially moderate,” he explained.

His campaign currently focuses on the need to stimulate business growth in a state that is consistently ranked among the least friendly to business owners. “Small businesses are the backbone of this state, and over the last few years we’ve seen a disproportionate amount of state aid go toward big companies to simply move them from one Connecticut community to another or to just stay inside our state’s borders,” Mr. Ohler said. “During the same period, the legislature considered and passed proposals that small and mid-sized business owners said will block growth.

“Right now, Governor Malloy has his ‘First Five’ program, which is meant to encourage large corporations to provide 200 to 300 new jobs,” he continued. “But once the tax incentives are gone, those businesses will feel the stress of the state’s business environment and there will be layoffs in the future. The 64th District has few large corporations that we need to keep here, but small businesses are the bread and butter of the region. A lot of my friends have lawn care businesses, tree care businesses, are local mechanics with maybe five to 10 employees—they are the very people we need to create jobs and help turn around our economy.”

He said that since the height of the recession, the majority of the American people have made the individual sacrifices needed to get by but that the government has not mirrored this austerity. “The governor just spent $700,000 on the New Haven tennis tournament while three schools are going bankrupt in Winsted,” he noted. “So many people are hurting. I know [the campaign] will be hard, but it is time for my generation to step up. I want to be that leader, I want to motivate my generation.”

“This part of the state is home to so many great people, and it has so much potential,” said Mr. Ohler, “but with a looming billion-dollar state budget deficit, we’re really at a tipping point. We can’t afford more taxes, more fees—and more empty promises. Now, more than ever, residents and business owners need strong leadership. I want to provide it.”

The sprawling 64th District encompasses Sharon, Cornwall, Canaan, North Canaan, Norfolk, Kent and part of Torrington and Goshen.

Republican Mark Lauretano of Salisbury, a former state trooper, has also announced his candidacy for the 64th District.

Learn more about Brian Ohler at www.brianohler2014.com.

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