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Jillian Gilchrest

Running for State Representative

9 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating


Age: 40

Marital Status:

Current Residence: West Hartford

Current Job: State Representative, Adjunct Faculty

Previous Job: Director of Health Professional Outreach, CCADV

Previous Job: Senior Policy Director, Permanent Commission on the Status of Women

Education: MSW, University of Connecticut

What action(s) will you take to reduce out-of-pocket drug costs and reduce the impact of the cost of prescription drugs on taxpayers and insurance premiums?
I will work with my colleagues on legislation to cap drug costs, like we did with insulin, and address outrageous insurance practices, like we did with co-pay accumulators.
In these inflationary times, what will you do to help ensure that Connecticut’s middle-income retirees on fixed incomes are able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets?
I will work with my colleagues to enact policies to provide Connecticuts middle-income retirees with additional relief. I'm proud of the work we did this past session to eliminate pension and annuity taxes for retirees making less than $75K/year and to increase to the state income tax credit for property owners.
How do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
I think the state needs to invest more in our long-term care system, both in terms of workforce and infrastructure.
Gas prices are higher than ever, which is difficult for older adults on fixed incomes. Yet, alternatives to cars in Connecticut are limited. What will you do to help older adults access other forms of transportation?
I will continue working with my colleagues to invest in alternative modes of transportation.
What are the two most urgent problems facing Connecticut within the context of climate change and the environment, and what will you propose to solve them?
(1) Reduce Waste and Incineration- Our state is faced with waste management issues. I am interested in seeing how we can incentivize towns to implement composting and pay as you throw programs. I also think we should hold producers of packaging more accountable through an Extended Producer Responsibility law. (2) Further reduce PFAS.
How can Connecticut's education systems create better outcomes for students in low-income communities?
Connecticut should invest more in our public education system, in particular teacher pay and support staff & services.
Pedestrian deaths spiked a few years ago and remain high, and it's fairly clear that driver behavior, such as distracted driving, is only getting worse despite significant efforts by law enforcement to stop it. How can Connecticut's streets be made safe for pedestrians and bicyclists?
We might want to consider a public awareness campaign and think broadly about the various partners and communities we engage in speaking out about the importance of pedestrian & bicycle safety and distracted driving.
How should the state and its school districts deal with COVID-19 going forward?
As we have seen with COVID-19, things can change based on a variant so I think the state and school districts should remain alert. I think that people should continue to be offered accessible ways to obtain the COVID vaccine and boosters and that masks should be readily available.
What should be done on the state level to further address Connecticut's lack of affordable housing? Do you support, for example, mandating or incentivizing towns and cities to alter their zoning codes to be friendlier to affordable housing?
I do support mandating and/or incentivizing towns and cities to alter their zoning codes to be friendlier to affordable housing.
What can be done to prevent excessive consolidation of the healthcare industry and the loss of services – or, in some cases, the loss of small hospitals themselves – in the state's rural areas?
I am working with some of my colleagues to address this problematic issue, in particular as it relates to women's reproductive healthcare. We are looking at licensing of hospitals and the CON process, among others, as possible solutions.
Do you think the state's two major electric utilities (Eversource and United Illuminating) are sufficiently regulated? If not, what measures would you take to ensure that consumers are protected to the greatest extent possible against prolonged loss of services and unfair rate increases?
The legislature has enacted some policies to address these issues but should continue to improve upon that legislation. I think that we needs to remain vigilant, meeting with and questioning the state's two electric utilities, to ensure that there are not prolonged loss of services and unfair rate increases.
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
The majority of voters in Connecticut are unaffiliated. I think Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters to increase voter participation.
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
As COVID-19 continues to be a risk, I need to work with our federal delegation to push for more support for businesses of all sizes. I'd also like to see a fix to the issue of those who are self-employed, many running small businesses, being denied unemployment because they taught a class or worked a second job. Additionally, I think Connecticut is well positioned to attract new residents, based on our handling of COVID-19 and our many wonderful state assets. Finally, I think we need to be responsive to the needs and concerns of our businesses and work with them to enact policies that both keep the public safe and allow the business to continue it's work.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
I would like to see us enact meaningful housing, education, and health reforms to reduce racism.
With so much uncertainty ahead about COVID-19, how would you ensure that the people's business – both at the legislature and in all of our elections – will be conducted effectively, and with full participation, in the safest possible manner for the foreseeable future?
I will be pushing on my leadership in the House to change the rules to make voting online and by phone possible. I would like to see all Committee meetings & public hearings available via zoom (or another online platform) to ensure public participation. These types of reforms will help even after COVID-19 to make the General Assembly more accessible. I would also like to these meetings available via CT-N with closed captioning.
With higher education facing major changes because of the pandemic, what steps will you take to make sure that Connecticut’s residents have access to college and/or other job training that won’t leave them tens of thousands of dollars in debt?
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
I support expanding Telehealth and postpartum care through medicaid to 1 year.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
What should Connecticut do to re-tool our public health for COVID-19 and the possibility of future pandemics, while also addressing other chronic illnesses that put people at risk every day?
I think that Connecticut should invest in equitable access to technology and high speed internet. As a result of COVID-19, we have seen the positives and the negatives of going to online platforms. When it comes to Telehealth, many people who faced barrier such as transportation or childcare have been able to access their healthcare appointments in greater number than pre-COVID. This is a lesson that should inform how Connecticut re-tools our public health systems going forward. On the other hand, distance learning has not benefited all students, in particular those with limited resources, those with special needs, and those where English is a second language. We already knew that Connecticut had severe inequities. We need to prioritize these groups in any work we do to re-tool our public health moving forward. Finally, I think that we must lift up the workers who have taken care of individuals most at risk of getting COVID-19, and ensure that these workers receive a living wage, health benefits, and paid time off to care for themselves and their loved ones.
Connecticut’s revenues will sharply decline as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and, unlike Congress, Connecticut has a balanced budget requirement. What changes would you make to balance the budget? (If you want cuts, be specific what will be cut. If you want to raise taxes, be specific about which taxes.)