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Meet Craig

In 1983, I graduated from Sheehan High School, and thereafter briefly attended Southern Connecticut State University.  In 1985, I left college to pursue a career in retail management working for Caldor, and then Bradlees.  In 1994, prompted by a lack of employment potential from having not obtained a college degree, I returned to school, enrolling at (then) Quinnipiac College.

By that time, my wife Rhonda and I were first time home buyers, living in Brentwood Condominiums in Wallingford. Because we had a mortgage to pay, I worked full-time while attending school, and Rhonda, who was already working full-time, picked up a second job, working nights at Filenes.  Times were tough, but so were we.

In 1996, I left Bradlees to work as an overnight crew manager for BJ's Wholesale Club and, for about a year thereafter, commuted from Wallingford to Fairfield each night to manage the crew while maintaining undergrad classes during the day. In 1998, I graduated, cum laude, from Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing, and due to my grades, was offered a partial scholarship to attend Quinnipiac’s law school - which I humbly accepted.

During law school, I continued to work full-time, then as a Temporary Assistant Clerk at the New Britain Superior Court and, in 2001, I graduated from law school, passing the bar exam on my first attempt.  In July of 2002, I started practicing law with my father Norman, at Fishbein Law Firm, LLC, in Wallingford, where I continue to this day.  My practice is primarily devoted to civil rights, domestic violence, family law, and general civil litigation. 

When Rhonda and I first married, she was a Republican, and I was … well … a Democrat. An active one at that. I confess that I was a staff member for Toby Moffett’s campaign for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination in 1986, and that I voted for Bill Clinton… TWICE.

By 2003 though, I had learned that the major party most closely aligning with my ideals was the Republican Party, and I changed my affiliation.  In 2007, being of an inquisitive nature, I sought out the Wallingford Republican Town Committee and began to attend its meetings.  I was not a member, but an interested resident, finding it necessary to “get involved.”

In 2009, I decided to run for a seat on the Wallingford Town Council.  In seeking the Republican nomination and local support, I told everyone that, if elected, I would focus my attention on the fundamental principles of smaller government, lower taxes, and less interference in the day-to-day affairs of our law-abiding citizens.  That I would do my homework, ask questions, speak my mind, and make decisions - guided by the above principles.  That I would not filter my decisions by party as, in my opinion, good governance knows no party affiliation. Ultimately, that first campaign, and the ones that have followed, have been successful.

I have been a member of the Wallingford Town Council since January of 2010.  During my five terms on the Town Council, I have taken my duties very seriously, reviewing everything that has been forwarded to me and conducting endless hours of research on my own - in an attempt to reach the best decisions for the benefit of Wallingford.  During meetings I ask questions (some say TOO MANY questions) furthering my attempts to reach a sound decision.  As such, there is hardly a decision that I have made in the Town Council Chambers that, looking back, I would have handled differently.

In my tenure on the Town Council, I have never voted for a tax increase. I believe that government should (whenever practical) operate like a business.  Therefore, I am a strong proponent of enterprise funding for the operations of government, employing user fees to reduce arbitrary taxes, with the funds realized being used to sustain, as well as to improve the service - absent government subsidies.

In 2016, I acted when the opportunity arose to run for State Representative for the 90th Assembly District. The district had been very admirably represented for many years by Mary G. Fritz, who had announced her retirement in the spring of 2016. Truly one of the highlights of my 2016 was going to Mary’s retirement party on June 10 where I was blessed to receive her wise advice for me, as well as to see and hear the accolades of family, friends and colleagues that were showered down upon her. Sadly, Mary passed away a mere month later on July 9, 2016.

Mary’s passing while in office called for a special election and on Election Day 2016, voters were asked to vote for me twice: one in the special election to fill the remaining term and once in the regular election for the term that was to begin the following January. The result of that election was very favorable. Almost 60% of the voters chose me for both the special, as well as the regular election, and I was originally sworn into office on November 18, 2016.

On January 4, 2017, I was sworn into office for my first regular term as a State Representative, and assigned to the Commerce Committee, the Public Safety & Security Committee, and the Energy & Technology Committee.

On January 9, 2019, I was sworn into office for my second term, and assigned to the Judiciary Committee, the Labor & Public Employees Committee, and the Public Safety & Security Committee.

On January 7, 2021, I was sworn into office for my third term, and blessed to be named the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, and also assigned to the Government Accountability and Elections Committee, as well as the Environment Committee.  In March of 2021, Minority Leader Candelora added me to the membership of the Public Safety & Security Committee, making me one of the few members of the House with four committee assignments.

As a State Legislator, I have attempted to bring the same fundamental philosophy that I use locally, to the state. I try to be quite diligent about reading and reviewing whatever bills are before me.  There have been quite a few occasions where I have had to (unfortunately) point out problems with proposed statutory language just on the verge of its passage. I have opposed tax increases, as well as fee increases. I have attempted to limit state spending to actual state issues so as to alleviate the burden on our residents who sent millions of tax dollars to Hartford in the hopes that some of it may trickle back down to their municipality.

Prior to my being an elected official, I was a member of the Wallingford Rotary Club since 2005 and, for the 2009-10 term, was its President. While I had been involved in many, many service projects through the Rotary Club, I am most proud of a project that I started early in my Rotary tenure, which is its annual Dictionary and Thesaurus Project (wherein each year every third grader in Wallingford is given a free dictionary, and every fifth grader a free thesaurus) because literacy is extremely important to me.

I am a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox and New York Rangers.  Most people will tell you that I bleed "Ranger Blue" and they would be right. For hobbies, I enjoy working out, hiking, running, fishing (salt and fresh), shotgun shooting sports (trap, skeet, sporting clays), and obstacle races. Rhonda and I have been married for 28 years. 

I believe that it is not the government’s responsibility to give us handouts or to tell us what to do.  It is also not the government's place to regulate, nor to tax us to death.  Taxes are to be collected for essential government services and it is high time that government be able to parse out between "wants" and "needs" if our economic system is ever to survive. 

As a Town Councilor, and as a State Representative, I have continued to seek smaller government, lower taxes, and less interference in the day-to-day affairs of our law-abiding citizens. I will continue to do so if the voters of Wallingford permit me the opportunity to continue to serve them here. I enjoy, and am very proud to be an elected official. I hope that you, and the other voters of Wallingford will see fit to allow me to remain as a member of their Town Council, and therefore I respectfully ask for your support on Election Day, November 2, 2021.


Paid for and approved by Craig Fishbein
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