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Ferguson Takes Over Where LaRocque Left Off

Republican Legislative Council member George Ferguson will challenge Rep. Chris Lyddy (D-106, Newtown) for his seat in the House of Representatives

Legislative Council member George Ferguson will challenge Rep. Chris Lyddy (D-106th District, Newtown) for his General Assembly seat in November.

Ferguson, 56, a Taunton Hill Road resident received the nomination during a Republican Town Committee meeting Thursday night at the Senior Center.

"Everybody came out of there with their head held up high for George," RTC chairman Dennis Bloom said.

Ferguson takes over the campaign trail from .

LaRocque, who could not be reached for comment, is under investigation by the state Elections Enforcement Commission after officials said his campaign submitted at least 18 straw donations as part of his application for public financing. LaRocque also resigned from his elected post on the town council.

Ferguson, who said he will remain on the council while campaigning, said council chairman Jeff Capeci called Thursday morning to ask whether Ferguson would consider running in place of LaRocque.

"I was flattered that I was being asked to pick up the mantle," Ferguson said, adding that he then called prominent local Republicans, such as Bloom, First Selectman Pat Llodra and Board of Finance Chairman John Kortze.

"I didn't ask for their support, I asked for their advice," Ferguson said. "It's important especially in times of turbulence that you have a unified message, a unified group."

He said he asked his colleagues whether they believed the party was ready to come together as a group, and their answer convinced him to throw his name into the race by 4 p.m. Thursday.

Ferguson, who said he is a moderate Republican – a fiscal conservative who is "relatively progressive" on social issues – is married with three children. His oldest daughter recently graduated cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor's degree in psychology and his youngest is a senior at Newtown High School.

Ferguson owns a consulting firm that specializes in organizational development,  helping nonprofits with strategic planning, fundraising and other matters. He also is former soccer coach and former member of the Inland Wetlands Agency and later the Conservation Commission.

Ferguson, who said he possesses a masters in business administration in finance, said his campaign will focus on fiscal responsibility.

"We are in fiscally big trouble in this state," he said. "We need to get our fiscal house in order in Hartford…That really is the bottom line. It doesn't really get more complicated."

Bloom described Ferguson as "very likable" and knowledgeable.

"He's been very good on the council," Bloom said of Ferguson. "He's the type that likes to work with people."

Selectman Will Rodgers, who also was nominated during the RTC meeting but who subsequently declined, said in a statement faxed to members of the local media that the campaign would be "an uphill battle for any Republican candidate to succeed against the Democratic incumbent." Rodgers unsuccessfully ran against Lyddy two years ago.

"First, many locally might unfairly tar the entire Republican party over these recent developments," he said in his statement. "Second, even if that were not the case, logistically it would be tough to ramp up a campaign at this late in the season, even for me, probably the one best equipped to do it by virtue of having run last time."

Rodgers said he supported Ferguson's candidacy. Ferguson said he is confident of his chances.

"I wouldn't do this if I didn't think I could win," he said.

Lyddy could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Karen C. Pierce September 03, 2010 at 10:50 AM
My only concern is the number of new members being assigned to the LC at a time when Charter Revision, FFH, finding a balance between needs and economic instability, and other critical topics are on the LC table.
Jeff Capeci September 04, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Karen, I share your enthusiasm of George's electability and look forward to his resignation from the council only upon his successful election to higher office this November. Members of the Legislative Council take their responsibility seriously when openings occur. You have to admit when we replaced John Aurelia, in choosing Bob Merola who has attended many LC, BoS and BoE meetings as a private citizen, we chose someone very much ready to lead the day he was appointed. While it is always best to have elected officials representing their constituents in government, George’s success will result in the third resignation from the council in about five months. As you have indicated, this council will have to make some important decisions in the coming year. I am confident that we will appoint replacements for any departing members who share the values of those whom they succeed while being very capable of making the difficult choices that will continue to make it nicer in Newtown.
Karen C. Pierce September 04, 2010 at 01:16 AM
Please do not interpret my statement as enthusiasm for electability but a concern that there has been turn over on the LC. We are in a postion where 2 out of 12 members (16%) of the LC are no longer elected representatives but appointed by the party. Out of curiosity, how many people expressed interest in filling the slot for the state race who were not active members of the LC? (Do not need names, just curious about number.)

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