The University of Connecticut’s undergraduate trustee is under consideration for the Republican nomination in a special election for the state’s 68th District, which includes Watertown and part of Woodbury.
Watertown’s Republican-American recently featured Adam Kuegler, the undergraduate representative on UConn’s Board of Trustees, in an article as one of several candidates hoping to fill a recently vacated state representative position.
Kuegler said he’s received text messages, emails and phone calls of support.
“I am so honored by the people that have reached out, in my town and UConn,” Kuegler said. “Even just to have my parents say they trust me to be their voice in Hartford would have been awesome, but the outpouring of support that people have given has been so humbling and honoring.”
As trustee, Kuegler said he has prioritized increasing outreach to students and access to mental health services. He created a trustee advisory group to regularly discuss the board’s work with students, and he frequently visits the regional campuses.
“I ran on this platform of breaking boundaries and building bridges,” Kuegler said. “I wanted people not to feel so distant from what was going on at the board level.”
Before serving as trustee, Kuegler was Undergraduate Student Government vice president and served on USG’s external affairs committee. He hopes to pursue a career as an education lawyer; if he wins the state representative seat he plans to attend the UConn School of Law’s part-time program, where he has already been accepted.
In 2016, as a part of USG, Kuegler said he worked with legislators and administrators to pass legislation allowing UConn to hire nurses specially trained to work with victims of sexual assault.
“I’ve been on the governing board for one of the state’s largest agencies: the University of Connecticut,” Kuegler said. “I have experience at the capitol building advocating for things successfully… I think my experience at UConn shows that I can advocate for things successfully at the state level.”
Kuegler said this experience will help him advocate for his district in Hartford. Watertown faces a $3 million dollar reduction in annual state aid under Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget, the Connecticut Mirror reported. Kuegler said this would make it difficult for the town to educate its students and maintain its current property tax rates.
Kuegler would be vying for the seat that State Rep. Eric Berthel recently resigned, after he won a closely contested special election for Connecticut’s State Senate District 32 on March 3. Berthel was filling a seat left open by State Sen. Rob Kane, who is now applying to be Republican state auditor.
Kuegler will be returning to his hometown for a Watertown Republican Committee meeting Tuesday night to discuss the upcoming election. At a later date that has to yet to be specified, nine committee delegates from Watertown and one delegate from Woodbury will cast their vote for a nominee.
“Obviously I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could do the job as well as anyone else, but I have tremendous respect for those other people that are running in the race,” Kuegler said. “I think they’re good people. I think the delegates have a tough decision to make, and I respect that process.”
Christopher McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.