AREAWIDE— Democrats Tuesday renominated State Representative Phil Miller of Essex for a second term in the 36th House District. The 15 delegates from the district towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam, along with other supporters, jammed the small Whistlestop restaurant on Route 154 in Deep River for the nominating session.
As the group enjoyed apple pie provided by the restaurant for the occasion, Miller said the Whistlestop is the kind of “homemade and homegrown business” he hopes to support as a legislator. Miller was nominated by Deputy Secretary of the State James Spallone, who held the 36th House seat from 2000 until he resigned in January 2011 to assume the state job. Spallone said Miller “hit the ground running and he’s just beginning.”
Miller, the former director of the Bushy Hill Nature Center in the Ivoryton section of Essex, served as first selectman of Essex from 2003 to 2011. Miller won the House seat in a February 2011 special election, defeating Republican Janet Peckinpaugh, the former television news anchorwoman, by about 220 votes.
Miller praised the administration of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, noting the current state budget has nearly eliminated a $3.5 billion deficit while preserving state aid to cities and towns. “I think we are really poised for sustained recovery and growth,” he said.
Republicans have nominated former Essex Selectman Vince Pacileo to challenge Miller’s bid for a second and full term. Pacileo served as the minority selectman on the Essex Board of Selectmen while Miller held the top job.
Miller acknowledged he “has an opponent who I know very well,” adding “I think it’s going to be a very clear choice for the voters in our district,” in the Nov. 6 election.