Inside Local Politics: An Interview With Incumbent Republican Brian Ohler, State Rep Candidate

What inspired you to run? What accomplishments are you most proud of from your time serving as a representative? Why do you believe you should be reelected?

“Throughout my life, I have always been directly involved or associated with different civic organizations. I like to think that I have always been driven by public service and my unwavering commitment to serve my neighbors. My family has called the Northwest Corner home for five generations. My first foray into public service came early on in my life. At just 16 years-old, I joined my local volunteer fire department.  Soon after that I became an EMT, and ultimately I joined the US Army, where I served for 12 years as a Military Policeman and an Infantryman, including [during] three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I returned back home to Canaan, CT, in 2013, I realized that Connecticut was struggling both financially and socially. My fellow Millennials were fleeing the state by the busload, many doing so immediately following their high school graduation[s]. Connecticut’s future was unclear, and it was being jeopardized more and more as each new tax was passed. It’s easy to place blame and point fingers, but I wanted to find solutions. I am an eternal optimist, and I wasn’t about to wave the white flag.

 I was appointed to the North Canaan Board of Finance in 2015. It was clear, after spending some time negotiating a local budget, that our problems weren’t originating from within our small towns; rather, they began at the state level. I successfully ran for State Representative in 2016. My first term has been a whirlwind experience, and I am just so grateful for all of the support thus far. I am most proud of the bipartisan relationships that I have been able to create and foster over two years. For the first time in over 50 years, the legislature was able to create and pass a truly bipartisan budget. I championed a number of reforms, such as laws pertaining to dual arrest/dominant aggressors [and] codifying health protections for women and children here in Connecticut should the President ever repeal the Affordable Care Act. I’ve been able to protect and preserve hundreds of acres of pristine and bucolic open spaces, and we passed groundbreaking legislation that now offers mental health and education benefits to veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, and MST. In the two-year budget that was passed, we were able to achieve some strong structural safeguards such as bonding, spending, and volatility caps.”