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Theresa Ranciato-Viele

Running for State Representative

10 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating


Age: 57

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: North Haven

Current Job: I am the co-owner of Techmate/Blue Lotus. Techmate works on the identification, negotiation, lease, rental, development, and build out of cell technology tower sites in the Northeast. Blue Lotus is the disaster response/recovery/resiliency arm of Techmate. We provide the tools and training that prepares businesses, their employees and their communities for disaster, and provide professional recovery consulting post-disaster. I also own and run GIRLTOWER, managing site acquisition for the wireless industry.

Previous Job: Coordinator for Connecticut Rises

Previous Job: I am an ongoing FEMA Voluntary Agency liaison.

Education: MSW of Social Work from UCONN and a BA in Social Policy from University of Colorado Boulder

Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
Yes. I would legalize it for the following reasons, for those over 21. -It would make marijuana safer to use. People could purchase it safely without worry of it being laced with fentanyl and other substances and it would lessen black market participation. -It would being revenue to the state and that revenue could be lockboxed, to use for schools as well as opioid addiction treatment. -Finally, it has proven to be beneficial in opioid addiction, assisting people to recover.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
There is no short answer to this question. I recommend an audit on all state departments to understand their spending, including additional positions being created during fiscal year, purchasing and processes and real estate rentals. There will be savings that can be used on existing programs. I also support combining of social programs where applicable.
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?
Again, a difficult question. I support child care for all and the ACA, including Husky. However, I also support adults that receive benefits and are capable of work in some capacity to assist in these types of programs. I support multi-generational housing programs where seniors have younger families nearby to help with home projects and other projects while seniors can assist with light child care.
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 totally support regionalization efforts - emergency service communications and educational administrative services are two places to start.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
Look at energy costs in Connecticut and find ways to reduce or mitigate, particularly with manufacturing. Look at growth industries - warehousing and industrial food production are 2 areas, as well as bio-medical. And state government has to FIX infrastructure in order to attract workers and companies - no one wants to sit on a highway for an hour and a half to get to a job. Finally, look at working with large corporations, such as Amazon, and asking what their needs are. Tailor our education resources to respond so the workforce is here in our state.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Yes - it is not beneficial to the individual, to their family or to the community at large to ask about criminal convictions on job applications. However, I would allow it to be asked if the application is made for a job that involves child care because if there is a sex conviction, it should be made clear.
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 support tolls and I agree there could be cuts in the state gas taxes. However, I would not instiitue the cut in gas tax until the tolls have been in place for a year for assessment purposes.
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 do not approve of the quasi-public water agencies in Connecticut. They have the ability to extort astronomical prices for construction of water lines. They should not be allowed to sell the public interests. I would take the ability to sell away form these agencies.
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?
Allow municipalities a choice in multifamily and other options. Developers use the affordable housing legislation to place multifamily, overpriced condos in the middle of neighborhoods, then take it to court when commissions object and the State approves so developers can then sell 90% of the condos for over 300k while selling the rest as "affordable" 180k range in our town. Instead, I recommend allowing any municipality and commission who requests it, a moratorium for a year on affordable and supplying them with information and experts on transit oriented development, multi-generational development and how to implement density and other tools. Knowledge would allow for more tools in the toolbox and greater understanding on how to best supply affordable housing, which as a member of my Planning and Zoning Commission, I have supported.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
The disparities in distribution of state funds due to the ECS formula are very real and the children of our state need legislators who will step back and look at a number of different ways to increase equity. The formula was created with good intentions, but with demographic shifts, we need to continuously reevaluate the way in which we are distributing funds. I recommend a review with the option to make adjustments every 2 years.
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?
Drug dealers should always be stopped. However, more resources should be directed to improving access to addiction. There have been steps to reduce overprescription. And legal marijuana revenue could be used to improve access to treatment for addiction.
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 would continue the The Connecticut Retirement Security Program. I also support using tax information to consolidate retirement accounts, so people can understand what they have at filing time. Finally, combining social security and 401k statements will allow people to estimate social security benefits and the annuitized value of retirement savings balances on statements provided to their customers. Seeing this in writing can give future retirees a more complete picture of their retirement outlook and help them make important choices about saving and spending. These are also recommendations by AARP.
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 absolutely support PFMLA - the bill that was not approved in 2018. I will fight for PFMLA that is fully funded by employees. This is a policy that has bi-partisan support on a nationwide level, attracts workers of all ages and is both morally and financially the right thing for our state.