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Kevin Lembo

Running for State Comptroller

19 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating


Age: 55

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Guilford

Current Job: State Comptroller

Previous Job: State Healthcare Advocate

Previous Job: AIDS activist

Education: Master of Public Administration degree from California State University

Eversource and some out-of-state entities appear to be attempting to buy control of Connecticut's water resources, and some of our quasi-public water agencies have signed away large amounts of water to commercial interests with little regard to future water shortages. What can you do to ensure that Connecticut residents maintain control of public water supplies in perpetuity?
The residents of Connecticut should maintain complete control of their water supply. I believe water is a public trust and that legislation is needed to cement that fact in state law.
Much of Connecticut is economically and racially segregated because many towns lack affordable housing and local zoning regulations prohibit multi-family dwellings. How would you propose incentivizing municipalities to start allowing multi-family units and other affordable housing options?
State government should incentivize smart affordable housing projects by rewarding municipalities who adopt smart zoning rules with enhanced municipal aid for corresponding economic development projects.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
The state should laser-focus on the most in-need schools and work with cities and towns to turn them around as fast as possible. The recent changes to the ECS formula are a step in the right direction but more resources need to be directed to priority school districts to ensure Connecticut students aren’t being left behind due to factors outside of their control.
Should the government's response to the opioid crisis be to focus on law enforcement to stop drug dealers, or improving access to treatment for addiction and reducing the overprescription of painkillers?
Law enforcement should be given the tools they need to take harmful drugs, including opioids, off the streets. We also must give them the support needed to handle the growing population of addicted residents and increase the availability of counseling, medically assisted treatment and rehabilitation services.
In 2016 the Connecticut Retirement Security Program was created. It will give over 600,000 residents in our state 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, how will you continue the implementation of this important program?
As one of the authors of the Connecticut Retirement Security program, I am extraordinarily proud that our state is extending opportunities to private sector workers to save their own money and retire with dignity. The program must be self-sustaining and with no reliance on taxpayer resources. As a board member, I continue to work tirelessly to ensure the program launches effectively, in a transparent manner, and will adequately serve every Connecticut worker who needs it.
The 459,000 family caregivers in Connecticut provide an estimated 427 million hours of care each year. Nationwide, nearly seven in ten caregivers report making work accommodations because of caregiving, including arriving late/leaving early, cutting back their hours, changing jobs, or stopping work entirely. Would you support a family leave law that provides paid leave to employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes?
I have been a vocal supporter of instituting a Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Connecticut. Workers shouldn’t fear for their job when they fall ill or have to care for a loved one. I will continue to work to establish a program that gives workers the support they need without placing undo burdens on employers.
Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
As state comptroller, I do not have a vote on legislative matters. However, I would be willing to support the legalization of recreational marijuana if the revenue generated was guaranteed to fund addiction recovery services and public education. Connecticut has consistently broken its promises to residents by raiding funds meant to curtail smoking, and failing to provide enough treatment to those suffering from addiction. Any legalization measures should be met with commitments to not misuse the resulting revenue.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
Helping our most vulnerable neighbors is a shared value of our state and must be maintained even in challenging financial times. I have championed efforts to build Connecticut’s reserve accounts during strong economic periods precisely so those services can be protected during downturns when they are most needed. The state budget should be targeting middle class growth by investing in key industries, job training, education and infrastructure. Government must be run efficiently and every dollar of state spending should be scrutinized to ensure it is being used for its best purpose.
A recent report found 40 percent of Connecticut residents can't afford basic needs such as housing, food, health care, or child care. What would you do to improve their situation?
The tax code needs to be rewritten from a blank page to ensure our budgetary intentions are keeping pace with the modern economy. Too much of Connecticut’s tax burden is placed on working families as tax credits, exemptions and loopholes go unchallenged for decades. I support a top-to-bottom review to bring relief to those who need it most and guarantee the wealthiest among us are truly paying their fair share.
Will you support top-down efforts to regionalize local services with an eye toward more efficiency and reducing the state's obligations regarding ECS and/or other funding for towns? How would you go about it?
State government should be financially incentivizing regionalization and remove any unnecessary regulations or mandates that are impeding that process. I support empowering the regional Councils of Government to explore more equitable and sustainable revenue collections and reducing the reliance on local property taxes, which are notoriously regressive and punitive to working families.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
State government should stop picking winners and losers and invest directly in the people of Connecticut. Our emphasis should be on education and job training that will grow the middle class and lower unemployment. We should invest in infrastructure projects like high-speed broadband and renewable energy that will help bring about the next generation of our state’s economy.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Allowing those who have served their time to apply for jobs without bias is both morally right and economically smart. I support ban the box efforts.
Based on estimates that out-of-state drivers would contribute 30-40% of overall revenue if highway tolls are implemented in Connecticut, would you support tolls with or without offsetting cuts in the state's gas taxes?
Connecticut’s transportation funding needs to be more equitable and ask more of the out-of-state drivers and trucks that utilize our state roads. Any new revenue options should result in a decrease of the gasoline tax, which is antiquated and undependable. We should also explore the legality of a state tax credit for Connecticut residents that minimizes the impact.