NORWALK, Conn. — Republicans have endorsed Don Mastronardi to run for the District 142 State Representative seat.
Mastronardi, a New Canaan resident, will challenge Democratic State Rep. Lucy Dathan, who is seeking a third two-year term. Mastronardi owns the Dry Dock Bar & Grille restaurant on Main Street in Norwalk, Silvermine Tavern and Dry Dock’s Smokin’ Aces at Oak Hills Park. He is also Oak Hills Park General Manager.
“I don’t have a lot of time,” Mastronardi said Tuesday in the Norwalk Inn. “But I was sick and tired of sitting on the sidelines and complaining about what was going on. And I said finally, I’m ready to take stand. … I’m here to help make change in the state and will move us forward and making sure that all of you have a better opportunity. Because the state is crushing us. They’re crushing small businesses like mine.”
Video by Harold F. Cobin at end of story
Mastronardi, who characterized himself “a humbled kid from Cortland, New York, born and raised in a blue-collar town, blue-collar ideals, wanting just to make a difference for people,” faced no opposition to his candidacy.
Mastronardi is also owner of Mastronardi Family Investments, LLC, according to his LinkedIn page. Intelius reports that Mastronardi earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in sports management from Ithaca College in 1998. He has never run for office before.
Mastronardi bought Dry Dock Bar & Grille in late 2015, according to his LinkedIn page. In April 2020, he was charged with violation of a public health emergency order, a misdemeanor, when a patron opened a beer can in the bar. Gov. Ned Lamont had forbidden restaurants and bars from allowing folks to drink inside their establishments.
He was the “first one” to face legal action due to COVID-19 restrictions, he said Tuesday, calling it “a badge of honor.”
One person was sitting in the bar waiting for to-go food and the bartender gave him a can of beer as take out, but the food took a while and the customer opened it, he said. Mayor Harry Rilling sent eight police officers, according to Mastronardi.
“This is the kind of stuff we’re dealing with,” Mastronardi said. They can shut me down or give me a ticket for a nonsense thing, which I’m licensed to sell. But then you can go protest in the streets with thousands of people yelling and screaming in people’s faces … we need to step up and say enough is enough.”
Republicans need to “convince people that we have better ideas, that we stand for what they want, and we have to stand for them,” he said. “… We’re not evil people either, because conservatives or Republicans sometimes get an evil connotation to them. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we don’t do a better job of communicating.”
Everyone knows about inflation and high taxes, he said. “We have to communicate what our idea is to make things better and to get change. We can do this, we have to do it together.”