Share this candidate profile:

Christine Palm

Running for State Representative

62 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: https://www.palmforstaterepresentative.org/home

Age: 62

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Chester

Current Job: Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC Trainer

Previous Job: Policy Analyst, Commission on Women, Children and Seniors

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

Education: B.A. Goddard College, College of the Atlantic

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?
During the 2019 legislative session, I supported making debt-free community college accessible to people in our towns and a law that encourages recent graduates to stay here by providing Connecticut employers who hire grads with a tax credit if they assist in paying down their employee’s student loans. The Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline has also proved to play a pivotal role in making education affordable as well as incentivizing the youngest generation to stick around when they leave school and I will work to protect this funding, which directly benefits our area.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
While the 36th district is largely white, I’m well aware that when our neighbors of color are denied equality, it is to the detriment of our society at large. Equal opportunity to housing, education, jobs and good health is vital to a long, happy life. If we are to end racism, we must attack its roots. For generations Black and brown Americans have been limited in their ability to accrue wealth because of redlining, a government policy that denied loans for housing or business in minority neighborhoods. It’s the continued ripples from policies like these that still affect our towns. I stand behind legislation to increase loans and mortgages for historically disenfranchised communities.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
I am a legislator who represents towns that are predominately white, but who knows the votes I take on statewide issues have profound effects on the quality of life of people of color in our state. A disproportionate amount of essential workers are people of color when looking at the makeup of the workforce. It’s not just enough to hang a heart out your window. We must ensure these workers are compensated for their service to our state through more accessible PPE and tracing as well as a guarantee of hazard and sick pay. Additionally, I voted for the Police Accountability bill which, contrary to the false narratives being circulated, does not punish professional police but instead weeds out the bad actors who treat members of minority communities differently.
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.)
As we face economic uncertainty, Connecticut stands prepared with a Rainy Day Fund at a historic high standing at over $3 billion. Let’s face it, it’s raining. Connecticut continues to remain one of the strongest positioned states to recover from COVID-19, both in terms of the health of our people, as has been proven by our low number of cases, and by our economic preparedness for the years ahead, as has been reported by Moody’s Analytics, which called us 1 of just 7 fiscally safe states back in May. With that said, we can and must do more. I believe our state must look to additional revenue streams such as the legalization and regulation of the sale of cannabis and the implementation of a tax on passive income streams of over a million dollars per year. With a federal government unwilling to assist states with additional aid, at least until a new administration takes over, it is up to us to find additional revenue streams without increasing the burden on working families.
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
During this campaign season, I have attended multiple Chamber of Commerce forums, during which I got to hear the perspectives of local businesses in our region. While observing social distancing and other health and safety guidelines as determined by the state and Centers for Disease Control, our state government needs to be flexible with business during this public health crisis. Take for example Executive Orders of Lamont’s that allowed businesses to cut through red tape and quickly expand outdoor seating options and allowed bars to provide curbside pick up. These are the kinds of smart and forward thinking policies that will help save the mom and pop shops that are the economic center of our towns. We also need to be ever mindful of the needs of our young workforce members. Last year, I created the Young Earners Prosperity Roundtable (YEP) so Millennial and Gen Z entrepreneurs could have direct access to the Capitol. I’d like to see this expanded as part of our overall recovery.
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?
City and town councils in this state have been able to keep going throughout the pandemic using technology for hearings and votes so why can’t we? Voting electronically was a great start this summer and fall, but if re-elected, I will work with legislative leadership to create the electronic infrastructure for allowing us to conduct business next session should the pandemic worsen in the coming weeks and months. Since committee chairs set the rules for how their committees operate, I don’t think we can legislate a change, but I’d like to see our committees shift so that the public is allowed to speak first in public hearings before legislators. Especially if we are to consider returning to in-person session, we must ensure the safety of the members of the public who choose to make their voices heard. In terms of voting rights, this past summer, I worked with the Secretary of the State’s Office to help craft the language allowing residents to vote by mail during the pandemic. This fall’s additional legislation providing relief to town clerks who are inundated with ballots are the kinds of reforms we must continue to look to make to ensure we have well-run elections in these uncertain times. Whether we like it or not, science tells us that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon and it’s our responsibility as lawmakers to ensure the government is transparent to the people it represents.
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?
Health care is a human right. It is that simple. I spent much of my summer helping seemingly financially secure people who lost access to health care when they were let go or furloughed this summer, who didn’t know where to turn. People are waking up to the fact that access to doctors and medicine should not be tied to their employment, which is why I support the creation of a public option in our state. More recently, I supported what has become known as the strongest insulin price cap in the U.S. for diabetes patients in Connecticut. Until this law passed, there were active Facebook groups in our state filled with parents rationing insulin for their children. No one should have to choose between their health and bankruptcy and in the coming session must reign in prescription drug companies who profit off the backs of middle-class families.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
As I said in my previous answer, I proudly support the creation of a public option in our state. All over the world, countries have found a way to decouple healthcare from employment so that people do not lose coverage when they lose their jobs. Healthcare costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States, which is why I support the passage of legislation like the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, a reform enacted by red and blue states alike across this country. If healthcare CEOs continue to put profits before people and Congress continues to refuse to act, Connecticut must be proactive in protecting the wellbeing of its residents. Additionally, I’d like to see Telehealth become permanent after the pandemic is finally over.