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 would extend the cap on insulin prices to other common drugs. I support single payer health insurance or allowing anyone to subscribe to the state's health insurance system.
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 supported the $600 million tax cuts that carefully targeted working families and seniors. Additional cuts, using surplus money, should be in order, so long as they are similarly targeted.
How do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
Available jobs are more numerous than job seekers. Most of the jobs require advanced knowledge as well as talent. We should invest in our education system to ensure it is meeting the needs of potential employees regardless of age.
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 call it greed-flation. Big oil was hurt by the pandemic, and realizes its days are numbered, so they're unnaturally raising prices. I supported free busses; let's continue it. Let's accelerate improvements to trains. There is a challenge regarding electric vehicles, not the least of which are charging stations and high purchase costs. There is also the challenge of upgrading our electric system, too. I'm looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues on this issue.
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?
We must continue to reduce greenhouse emissions, both in what the state buys and consumes, and incentives for the private sector. We've made a good start, but need to work out more options to fossil fuels including solar, wind, and fuel cell technologies.
Years ago I successfully introduced legislation to begin dealing with indoor air quality in schools. That needs to be revisited, including funding.
How can Connecticut's education systems create better outcomes for students in low-income communities?
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?
How should the state and its school districts deal with COVID-19 going forward?
Trust the science. Follow recommendations of medical professionals, the Department of Public Health, and the CDC.
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 prefer carrots over sticks and would gladly support incentives. But racism is the core obstacle to the lack of affordable housing, and sadly I don't have a solution for that.
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?
Perhaps we need the equivalent of anti-trust laws for health care. I hate the very idea of turning health care into a commodity, and so do my constituents (one of which called a local hospital a 'meat factory' after some unhappy experiences). Health care needs to be about healing, not money.
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?
PURA works hard to mitigate rates, and keep them fair. But like everything else, costs for maintenance of the wires (remember, these two companies are not generators anymore) are increasing. I'm supporting more wind. solar, and fuel cell generation to, I hope, bring down prices.
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
The primary system is broken, taken over by extremists in the two major parties. I'd like to enact ranked choice voting in which all viable candidates are listed, and all voters participate.
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?
Protect and maintain it. One of the best things we've done to help aspiring middle class working families.
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 co-sponsored the bill in the past, and intend to continue my effort to make the family value of caring a reality.
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?
It's 50% here in Danbury. When the federal government gives away tax revenue to big corporations, who use the money to buy back their own stock instead of raising wages or hiring more workers, well, it's wrong. The answer is investing in career (not merely jobs) opportunities.
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?
The biggest waste of taxpayer dollars in Connecticut is the duplication of services in 169 municipalities. The greatest savings will come from consolidation and reform along regional lines. Time for those municipalities to step up and join in mutual regionalization.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
Invest in transportation, invest in other infrastructure, invest in career (not merely job) training, and invest in cities.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
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?
No. I've opposed tolls, There is a question on the ballot about the 'lockbox' that is, in effect, a referendum on tolls. Still we need to have a serious discussion about revenue for transportation improvements.
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?
Perpetuity is too a long time. For my lifetime, we must prohibit such practices statutorily.
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?
Strengthen, not weaken, the affordable housing statutes. Provide incentives, including tax breaks, to promote builders to invest in affordable housing. Ban municipal moratoria on construction of affordable housing.Reform the property tax system. Repeal the conveyance tax on homes.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
I voted against budgets that took money way from Danbury to give it to Greenwich, Darian and New Canaan. What an absurdity. I would work with my colleagues to fix it.
Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
Yes. It has become clear that marijuana prohibition, like that of the 20th century for alcoholic beverages. doesn't work. Indeed, it created a similar reaction that strengthened organized crime. Time too legalize, regulate, and tax as we do the other so-called sin taxes.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
The state, as the nation, is on the wrong track. The history of the 20th century was about raising workers into the middle class. The history of the 21st century is attacking workers and pushing them down and out of the middle class. Let's revisit some of the policies of the 20th century and adopt them to our current situation.
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?
Let's help those who are addicted, not punish them. Punishment must be provided for those who exploit the addicted, such as dealers and providers.
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