Middletown Republicans Choose Candidate to Run For Williams Seat, Democrats to Begin Selection Process

Deborah Kleckowski speaks to the RTC on Tuesday about why she would make a good candidate for State Representative. Charles Wiltsie, the other nominee, sits to her left (CT Examiner)


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MIDDLETOWN – Members of the Republican Town Committee voted Tuesday to back former councilwoman Deborah Kleckowski to run as Representative for the 100th State House District. 

The seat was previously filled by State Rep. Quentin Williams, D-Middletown, who died earlier this month after his vehicle was struck by a driver going the wrong way on Route 9.  

The two candidates nominated at the meeting Tuesday were Kleckowski, a former councilwoman and current chair of the South District Fire Commission, and Charles Wiltsie, a current member of the Board of Education. 

“I think she’s the perfect candidate for [State Representative]. I think she has the experience and the know how,” said councilwoman Linda Salafia, who nominated Kleckowski. 

Kleckowski served on the common council for 10 years, from 2009-2019, before becoming the Fire Commission Chair. She was also a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission in Middletown. She said at the meeting that she felt her 15 years of experience and her knowledge of Middletown made her a strong candidate, and that she felt it was important to have more Republican representation at the state level.

“We need to have our voice heard. We are not in Hartford because of all the noise on the Democrat side,” said Kleckowksi. 

Kleckowski said that she wanted to see changes at the state level made to the Minimum Budget Requirement — a law requiring school districts to keep their budgets at least equal to the budget from the prior year — and to the Police Accountability Law passed in 2020. 

“Officers are leaving in droves, and a secondary problem to that is we don’t have enough dispatchers, and we need to address those issues,” said Kleckowski. 

Kleckowski said she wanted to bring back more money to the district, and said she wanted to look at the state’s rainy day fund and consider whether it was possible to bring more money back to the district. She also said she was opposed to the mileage tax on trucks.  

“That tax is being put onto you — for example, oil, food,” said Kleckowski. 

Wiltsie, for his part, said he was “anxious to serve” and said he would bring the energy of a young person into his campaign. He referred to his politics as “somewhat socially liberal and fiscally extremely conservative.”

“I believe in very small government. I believe the city of Middletown should get as much back from the state as possible, without too many strings attached,” he said. 

The Town Committee ultimately voted to support Kleckowski in a 17-7 vote. 

Mike Fallon, chair of the Middletown Democratic Town Committee, told CT Examiner in an email that the Middletown Democrats were forming a nominating committee this week “to interview candidates who best uphold the values of the Democratic Party and late Representative Williams.” 

The special election is scheduled for February 28.

Emilia Otte

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.