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Justin Potter launches campaign for state Senate seat


KENT–As a small business owner, father and president of Kent Affordable Housing, Justin Potter of Kent, 44, is already a busy man. Now, he is seeking yet another role: representing the 30th District in the Connecticut State Senate. 

Justin Potter, president of Kent Affordable Housing, has announced his candidacy for the 30th State Senatorial District seat. Contributed

A native of the area, he understands the pressures on young adults who want to stay in the region. “I grew up on a dairy farm in Washington, I’m raising my family here, I serve my community here, and I’m running for State Senate to help create a more affordable and sustainable future,” he said.

Housing is a key issue for Potter. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University in 2002 with a degree in economics, he worked in New York for several years as a legal assistant for the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham, and Taft. He then started his own online business, Nettleton Hollow, named after a road in his natal town.

“I started my business in Brooklyn, but my dream was to come back to this area,” he said. “I did a fair amount of research and realized that the only way to do that was to live with my parents.”

In 2012, he married Claire Love of Roxbury, who had been his date for his Junior Prom at Shepaug High School. They have since become parents to 8-year-old Madeleine and 6-year-old Orlando. The family purchased a home in Kent in 2017 and moved here full-time in 2020.

“Kent Affordable Housing is an issue I care about deeply,” he said. “It has affected me personally and has a great impact on the community. Young adults who grew up here and love this area should be able to afford places of their own. Working-class families should be able to buy homes in which to raise their children and seniors should be able to downsize into more affordable and manageable places in the communities where they’ve spent their lives.” 

Focusing on housing first, Potter believes, will help address slow business growth, shrinking school enrollments, pressure to cut health care services in rural areas, and the dwindling number of volunteers available to serve their communities, especially on local fire and ambulance squads.

Potter himself fulfills this last prophesy through his roles as head of KAH, as a volunteer at the Kent Food Bank and as a Zoning Board of Appeals alternate. He is also on the boards of the Adirondack Council, and the Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, which conducts ecological research in a remote preserve in the heart of Adirondack Park.

Potter says he is both a “Practical Democrat,” focused on taking balanced approaches and working in a non-partisan way to find solutions to society’s many pressing problems, and a “True Blue Democrat” when it comes to issues such as reproductive rights, gun safety and strengthening the social safety net.

Potter is challenging first-term Republican State Sen. Stephen Harding, who was recently named State Senate Minority Leader. Harding was elected to his first term representing the 30th District in the State Senate in 2022 after four terms as representative for the 107th House District. Harding kicked off his campaign Feb. 1 and reportedly will qualify for a Citizen Election program grant within weeks.

“A Democrat hasn’t won this seat since 1978,” Potter said, predicting he will be even busier between now and November. To qualify for the Citizen Election grant, his campaign needs at least 300 in-district donations of between $5 and $320, and he must raise a minimum of $17,300.

Senate District 30 covers much of northwest Connecticut, and includes part or all of Bethlehem, Brookfield, Cornwall, Falls Village, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Fairfield, New Milford, Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Sherman, Torrington, Warren, Washington and Winchester.

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Kathryn Boughton
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