HARTFORD, CT — While most of the candidates eyeing a run for governor in 2018 are only exploring the idea, Glastonbury resident Betheona ‘Bethy’ Guiles-Smith said she’s all in.
The state employee who works in the Office of the State Building Inspector said she filed her paperwork last week and intends to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
Guiles-Smith, 51, said she’s focused on helping the middle class and small businesses, who often go ignored by state policymakers.
She said middle class residents who fall on hard times shouldn’t have to worry about filing for bankruptcy and should be able to access help. She said it’s not fair that low-income residents who receive benefits from the federal government such as Section 8 housing vouchers get a hand up and the middle class that contributed tax dollars to fund the program get nothing.
Guiles-Smith, who said she will start fundraising in earnest after a meeting with the State Elections Enforcement Commission to go over the basics, doesn’t believe working full-time for the state and running a gubernatorial campaign will be a problem. She said she’s juggled a number of responsibilities in the past such as working full-time and earning a master’s in social work from the University of Connecticut.
As long as she’s not campaigning on state time, then it shouldn’t be a problem, she said.
She said she would devote nights and weekends to the endeavor. She said she also has a bank of about 67 vacation and sick days she’s never used because she’s a self-described “workaholic.”
Guiles-Smith is a member of the Glastonbury Democratic Town Committee, but has never held elected office. She said she worked hard to get Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy re-elected.
She said she’s anxious to engage voters on the issues.
She joins an increasingly crowded field of candidates.
Those who have filed paperwork to explore a run for the Democratic nomination include state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, former Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei.
Jacey Wyatt of Branford like Guiles-Smith has filed a gubernatorial candidate committee.
Under an exploratory committee candidates can raise $375 per donor, but it doesn’t count toward the $250,000 necessary to trigger the grant, which is $1.4 million for a primary and $6.5 million for a general election. The same donor can contribute $100 to a candidate committee if the exploratory committee transitions to a candidate committee.
If the exploratory committee wishes to count the contribution as a qualifying contribution, it must refund the portion of the contribution in excess of $100 before the exploratory committee dissolves, according to guidance from the SEEC.