With Connecticut’s primary election fast approaching on August 9, Republicans Aileen Abrams and Joe Hoxha are vying to become the state’s next representative from the 78th House District.
Long occupied by Whit Betts, who chose not to seek re-election, the 78th House District seat includes Plymouth and parts of Bristol.
Hoxha received the endorsement of Republicans in Bristol and Plymouth in late May. The two wrestled at Plymouth Town Hall in early March over a variety of issues including housing, police accountability, mental health and more.
“I believe it’s important to be a proactive member of the legislature and not just a reactive member voting yes or no along party lines,” Abrams previously told reporters. “I intend to propose meaningful legislation to benefit the whole community, not the privileged few. I will defend the inherent rights of all of our Connecticut taxpayers. We must not allow the current rulers to take over the people’s state.
Born in Hartford to Peruvian and Puerto Rican parents, Abrams’ family moved to Newington in search of what the candidate called better educational opportunities. Becoming a nursing assistant, she eventually took on various sales roles in her mid-twenties before partnering to open a merchant cash advance office. As she worked with small businesses throughout the state, she would eventually include contract work in her wheelhouse and spend time as a small business banker. Currently, Abrams is director of market research at the legal recruitment firm Mark Bruce International in Manhattan. She is also an alternate member of the Bristol Zoning Commission.
“Plymouth and Bristol have always been and always will be close to my heart. We must now unite as a party and look to November where we must ensure that we usher in a new generation of leaders to save our great state because this may be the last chance we have to do so,” Hoxha said previously.
Hoxha graduated from the University of Connecticut with two degrees in sociology and political science. Traveling across the states of Connecticut, Texas, New Hampshire, Missouri and Virginia, he worked on several Republican campaigns. Working in the financial industry, he also served on the Republican State Central Committee. Hoxha’s family moved to the United States from Albania when he was three and settled in Bristol. A graduate of Bristol Central High School, Hoxha said he lived in the West End and played football and wrestled in school. He was interested in United States history and politics from an early age and spent many hours reading presidential biographies.
Hoxha said he wants to return power to parents over their child’s education, hold the state government accountable, end the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, and see infrastructure and stronger educational support in smaller towns. The candidate also said he wanted to combat the high cost of living and crime in the state.
Abrams has expressed a desire to give families back the right to make decisions for their children, provide stronger support for law enforcement, and change laws that she says hurt landlords and landlords. She also said she felt it was important to support community hospitals to help area residents and avoid monopolizing health organizations.