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Baird Welch-Collins

Running for State Representative

2 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: bairdfor38.com

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Current Residence: Waterford

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Education: BA Government Connecticut College

Facebook: facebook.com/BairdWC

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Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
I would vote to legalize recreational cannabis. Not only will we be introducing a new source of significant revenue for Connecticut, but we will be ending the expensive, pointless, and discriminatory imprisonment of non-violent cannabis offenders.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
Protecting our vulnerable populations and communities can and should be a means to growing Connecticut's economy from the bottom up. We simultaneously have to increase the efficiency of our local and state governments by prioritizing vital services and cutting unnecessary waste.
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?
I absolutely pledge to protect the Connecticut Retirement Security Program. We have to preserve this program by continuing to prioritize the needs of retired Connecticut residents and making sure the workers who need it most are able to access it.
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?
Having 40% of Connecticut residents living in poverty is nothing short of a crisis. We need to fight for policies that will empower these people to contribute to our state's economy through expanding access to healthcare, affordable housing, and better jobs. Smart policies can help struggling members of our communities become part of the solution to Connecticut's economic stagnation.
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?
I absolutely support regionalizing local services with an eye towards more efficient government. We must simultaneously fight to protect ECS funding to municipalities across Connecticut. We must work from the state level to enable and encourage regionalization of relevant government services. The state must play an active role in facilitating this regionalization to lift the burden on our state's over-reliance on property taxes.
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?
Yes. I absolutely support a family leave law that provides paid leave to employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
Connecticut needs to bring back high-tech manufacturing training programs and technical programs in our high schools and colleges. When we work with business owners to train the workers they need to hire, we are creating jobs right here in Connecticut.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Yes. I support equal opportunity for all of our citizens.
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?
I would support limited electronic tolling if it were combined with a transportation lockbox, a cut in the state's gas tax, and subsidies for Connecticut residents who need to travel through tolls for employment. With 40% of drivers on Connecticut's roads from out of state and Connecticut sitting directly between New York and Boston, electronic tolling could be a means to fund repairs to our outdated transportation systems.
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?
I support policies that will make water a public trust in Connecticut. It is vital for the environmental future of our state that water remain in the control of the public.
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?
Bringing more affordable housing to our communities is vital for the desegregation and economic recovery of Connecticut. I would support legislation on the state level that responsibly eases local zoning regulations on multi-family dwellings and provides incentives for communities to introduce affordable housing options.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
One concern that I have with the new ECS formula is state aid for special education funding. This will continue to lead to issues of failures to meet Connecticut's requirements under IDEA. I am also concerned that Connecticut uses more than ten different funding formulas for students who attend different types of school districts. We need to make sure that we continue to look critically at the ECS formula and prioritize eliminating the inequities that continue to afflict our districts.
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?
There is certainly a role for law enforcement to play in ending the opioid crisis. At this stage in the crisis, however, it is far more effective to improve access to treatment and reduce the overprescription of painkillers. We need to make sure that we are adequately treating addiction the first time and end the revolving-door system that inevitably results from inadequate treatment services.