Domestic violence comes to the forefront of the 29th senate district race

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In this Oct. 18, 2018 photo, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, right, campaigns at a senior center in West Hartford, Conn., with the Democratic ticket for governor, Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, left rear, and his running mate Susan Bysiewicz, center. Murphy is playing an out-sized role in Connecticut’s elections this year, transferring $320,000 to the state Democratic party, helping with volunteer training, campaigning with candidates and helping to recruit a congressional candidate. (AP Photo/Susan Haigh)

Interestingly enough, the gubernatorial race is not the only one students should be thinking about come election day next week. Students will also decide on who they want representing them in the state House (54th district) and Senate (29th district). Well, actually just the Senate, because Gregg Haddad is running unopposed in the House race. On the other hand, Mae Flexer (D) is in a close contest with David Coderre (R) in the 29th District.

The race has gotten especially contentious in recent days, as news regarding Coderre’s four arrests for domestic violence dominated local headlines. These arrests especially stand out due to Flexer’s status as a domestic violence prevention advocate. Flexer spearheaded efforts to enact statewide affirmative consent laws on college campuses. She’s also the first state Democrat to call on Elizabeth Esty, a member of her own party, to resign after it was discovered Esty kept her chief-of-staff on payroll for three months after learning of accusations of harassment and physical violence against him.

For Coderre’s part, three of the arrests were erased after he attended a court-mandated family violence program and the fourth (trespassing at the home of his ex-wife) was dismissed in court. At the same time, the Hartford Courant reported his ex-wife swore in an affidavit there was physical, mental and emotional abuse over a three to four-week period. Coderre has denied these allegations. Regardless, everything taken together paints a troubling picture.

Even without the arrests, it was already doubtful whether Coderre would be an equally strong advocate against domestic violence as Flexer. Not only does Flexer have a particularly strong record, but domestic violence prevention often conflicts with Republican stances on certain issues. For instance, they generally oppose gun control measures, including those aimed at perpetrators of domestic violence or those under restraining orders. Furthermore, many Republicans have been and are still resistant to the notion of affirmative consent being codified into law.

There are, of course, other considerations to be made when determining which candidate to vote for this coming Tuesday. Economic policies, stances on the opioid crisis, and many other positions will need to be weighed. UConn students need to recognize the importance of electing a candidate who will stand up for us and our principles. Flexer has proven herself, not only on domestic violence but in standing up for funding for the university. Coderre does not have a comparable record, or existing relationship with the students of UConn. If we want the best candidate to represent the students of UConn, the facts point to Flexer being the best option.


Jacob Kowalski is opinion editor for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at jacob.kowalski@uconn.edu.

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