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Thomas O'Brien

Running for State Representative

2 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: https://www.obrienfornewmilford.com

Age: 59

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: New Milford

Current Job: Carpenter

Previous Job: Editor

Previous Job: Carpenter

Education: BA, History, SUNY Oswego

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/obrienfornewmilford/

Twitter: @obrien4newmilford

Instagram: @obrienfornewmilford

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Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
Yes. The evidence is clear that putting people in jail for using a substance that's much less dangerous than alcohol has cost a fortune and ruined lives. Legalize its use, regulate its composition, tax its sale, and everyone in our state will be better off.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
Connecticut's budget problems are the result of decades of fiscal irresponsibility. Whatever it takes to put our fiscal house in order should first do no harm to our most vulnerable neighbors.
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?
Incentivize employers to match employee contributions and minimize fees imposed by investment firms.
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?
Promote affordable housing, raise the minimum wage, expand access to affordable healthcare, and increase funding for mass transit that enables people to get to jobs without requiring the high cost of owning and maintaining a private automobile.
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 support consolidation of services with the goal of making our state and local governments more effective and more efficient. I will not support funding schemes that adversely impact local governments.
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.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
Increase support for education (especially Vo-Tech), improve multi-modal transportation opportunities that enable workers to get to their jobs, strengthen support for HUSKY/ObamaCare to enable people to start small businesses without worrying about health care.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Yes.
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?
Tolls are another regressive tax that
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?
Water is the new oil. Our water resources must not be privatized.
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?
We need a state-wide Smart Growth plan that supports mixed-use housing in our downtowns, with easy access to multi-modal transportation.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
Start over from scratch! Education Cost Sharing is a fig leaf to cover an unconscionably unequal funding scheme for public education in our state. The quality of a child's education should not depend on their zip code.
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?
After almost 50-years of waging a failed "War on Drugs," the evidence is clear that improving access to treatment programs, and offering alternative painkillers (such as Medical Marijuana), is more likely to be effective than turning troubled individuals into criminals.