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Susan Eastwood

Running for State Representative

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Party: Democrat, Working Families Party

CEP Status: participating


Age: 62

Marital Status: married

Current Residence: Ashford

Current Job: Director of Communications, Coalition for a Safe and Healthy CT

Previous Job: Coordinator, Family Violence Victim Advocate Program, CCADV

Previous Job: Victim Advocate, Hartford Interval House

Education: MA, U Kentucky; BA, U Wyoming

Do you believe public schools in Connecticut require an essential makeover, as outlined by Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher's decision in September? What, in your opinion, is the number-one issue regarding public education in the state?
I believe that funding is the number one problem facing our public education system. The state has never fully-funded it’s promised commitment to our schools and they should also step up to help towns more with special education costs. This will help our students and also our towns which are having to raise property taxes to rates unbearable for many residents and driving seniors out of our state.
Will you oppose legislation that will require utility customers to subsidize the profitability of merchant generators, such as the Millstone nuclear power plant, unless those merchant generators demonstrate the need to their customers and the state with financial reports that show their actual loss in profits?
How would you reduce the state employee pension liabilities and debt service, which together comprise 25% of the state's annual budget?
Comptroller Lembo has a plan to reform the pension-funding formula that will make payments more stable over time, pay off the state’s unfunded liability, and continue to cover all members. This is the type of solution I could support.
Does Connecticut have a revenue problem or a spending problem?
Both. Connecticut’s revenue is highly volatile because 40% of the income tax revenue comes from capitol gains and self- employment taxes, which fluctuate with the stock market. We need to smooth out this volatility by looking at revenue over a period of time rather than year by year and planning spending based on average revenues and not on the high or low marks. Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s proposal to address this passed (PA 15-244) and we need to implement it along with responsible spending that does not cut needed jobs and services.
Would you support laws that provide for family leave or other workplace flexibility for employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes? What proposals would you champion to help family caregivers who are balancing a career and family obligations or health emergencies?
Yes, as a member of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, I have been actively supporting passage of Paid Family Medical Leave, and will continue to work to pass this legislation to lead the way nationally on this important issue.
Community College students recently won a reprieve but are facing the possibility of a significant tuition hike. What are you planning to do to ensure that community college remains an affordable option for families?
I will continue to support our excellent community colleges and state universities and will work to increase funding for programs that prepare our young people for good careers in Connecticut. I will also work to find ways to reduce student debt.
What would you do as a state legislator to address the opioid epidemic in our state?
I would support increased funding for public education on the issue, for treatment programs and more available beds at treatment facilities, and for emergency overdose medication and training for emergency personnel.
Today, over 600,000 residents in our state don’t have a way to save for retirement at work. Knowing that employees are 15 times more likely to save merely by having access to payroll deduction, will you commit to supporting the newly passed Connecticut Retirement Security Act that will provide these workers with access to private payroll deduction IRA accounts?
Yes, I would support this option to help people save for retirement. I would also support ways to help seniors in retirement, such as eliminating State income taxes on their social security income.
Who are you supporting for president and why?
I am supporting Hillary Clinton because she is the most qualified candidate and has the steady temperament needed to be our Commander-in-Chief.