GROTON — Republican Robert Boris, a technology entrepreneur, has announced his run for state representative of the 41st District, a seat held since 2017 by Democrat Joe de la Cruz who is stepping down.
Boris, 51, is the president of Command Technology Inc., a software company specializing in the defense, aerospace, power and marine industries. He is a member of the Groton Economic Development Commission and involved in the area’s three chambers of commerce.
“I think it’s really critical for anybody representing this district to kind of understand the companies, the small businesses that are creating the jobs here and what their environment is like —the regulatory environment and what challenges they are faced with, and all the issues — environmental issues, tax issues, attracting talent to the area,” he said.
Boris will face Democratic candidate Aundré Bumgardner of Groton, who earlier won the 41st seat as a Republican, but was defeated in his re-election bid by de la Cruz in 2016.
Boris said one of the tenets of his campaign is diversity of thought, and emphasized that he’s able to work with people from all political parties.
“I think it’s important that we have a diversity of opinion and with diverse perspectives and so I don’t necessarily see things along party lines,” he said. “I have a hard time with politics getting super partisan, especially at the state and local level — I think we all want Connecticut to thrive.”
He said he has wide experience building teams and helping people with diverse ideas work together.
“I actually see diversity of opinion and background as a major asset. I’ve always seen that in my professional life in business. It’s helped us in product development whenever we worked on software for different industries,” he said. “That’s my skill set — getting people to work together.”
Boris said honest governance, the second tenet of his campaign, included making government transparent and accountable to constituents, voters and taxpayers.
He said the government should be honest about where taxes and fees are diverted. For example, he said, there are costs for registering a car that include fees for clean air and greenhouse reduction — except that the funds are diverted into the general fund and not used as they were designated.
“And that’s what’s happened with lottery money, which was supposed to offset local property taxes — doesn’t happen,” he said. “So there’s a lot of game-playing with language in terms of how we represent things [in government].”
Boris, who is a graduate of the London School of Economics, said he supports “eco-friendly economics,” as part of his third tenet: growth and stewardship.
“A clean energy production supply chain is not only possible… it’s imperative. If legislators were to focus on economic metrics such as the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)—rather than pandering, politically motivated bylines on climate conditions—we could simultaneously curate both resource diversity and environmentally conscious, high-paying jobs,” he said in a release.
If elected, he said he will broaden access to the district’s workforce training for maritime and aerospace design-build professionals, which “will be a primary driver of lucrative, long-term careers for the 21st century and beyond.”
He said Groton — and any coastal community — needs to be very aware of the challenges of climate change and rising sea levels.
“We need to address those issues and we need to do it in a way that helps create jobs and sustainability in terms of the livability of our area, whether it’s creating eco-friendly jobs, or clean air production,” he said.
He said the district needs to have a solid tax base to support the services needed for the community, which includes development aligned with the character of the district.
“It’s easy to say no to all development, but you can’t have a sustainable community like that, so that’s where stewardship comes in. You need to vet the opportunities that come this way, attract companies that create quality jobs, high paying jobs, that people can raise a family here, and you need to protect the environment in the process.”
Asked how he describes his place in the Republican party, Boris responded:
“I’m not a Trump Republican, or whatever that means,” he said. “I would just like to say in this election, I’m hoping that we can move past cynical political games, where hyper-partisan political operatives find the most extreme or unpopular position of some members of the Republican Party and claim it’s my position by association.”
Boris, who has two daughters ages 15 and 16, has lived in Groton since he was 11. He said that running for office is a natural extension of his longtime involvement in the community.
“This is synergistic with what I’m already doing in the community. I also have the time in my career now. I’ve accumulated a lot of life experience along with my education that I think is valuable and can be valuable to problem-solving in the community,” he said.
The state announced new congressional district boundaries in February that removed parts of New London and added portions of Stonington.