Business proponent seeks to run for state House seat

With a professional background in economic development, Keith Rodgerson of Wilton is exploring a run for the state representative’s seat in the 143rd District, as the Democratic candidate. That seat is currently held by Republican Gail Lavielle of Wilton.

Mr. Rodgerson introduced himself at the Democratic Town Committee’s spring breakfast on Saturday, April 26. He heads a small nonprofit economic development corporation here that provides technical assistance to municipalities dealing with district planning, vacancies, brownfields, merchant association organization, and urban design.

“We help pockets of businesses pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,” he said in a phone interview on Monday.

Part of his work, he said on Saturday, is “working with small manufacturers to increase exports and limit imports into Connecticut.”

Throughout his career, he said, he has seen “big box [store] prices become more aggressive and Black Fridays become more aggressive as small towns try to get their centers back on track.”

Targeting Tea Party politics, he said that “there is a price to be paid for partisanship.”

Citing Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage in Connecticut, he pointed out that 99.7% of businesses here pay more than the proposed minimum wage.

“It’s the humanistic way to do things,” he said. Businesses, he added, know that “we want people to sell us a chain saw who know how a chain saw works.

“Where are our legislators coming from? Who are they speaking for? We need to have a voice in Hartford. We need to bring money back to Wilton,” he said.

“We can’t have that if we go as harsh ideologues and fight for what we think we need but never bring anything back.”

Mr. Rodgerson, who has lived in the Georgetown area with his family for about a year, previously lived in Bridgeport and served two terms on the Bridgeport City Council beginning in 2003. He has been spending the last few weeks traveling across the 143rd District, which encompasses parts of Wilton, Norwalk and Westport. The Democratic convention is May 20, at which time delegates from the three towns will nominate a candidate.

Mr. Rodgerson said he welcomes hearing from people on the issues. He can be reached at