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Lucy Dathan

Running for State Representative

9 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating


Age: 51

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: New Canaan

Current Job: State Representative

Previous Job: CFO

Previous Job: Finance Manager

Education: BSC - Santa Clara University


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 believe in affordable, accessible healthcare to meet all residents’ needs and out of pocket drug costs have become astronomical over the last several years and is at the forefront of people's minds. There is a lot of focus on this at the federal level with the Inflation Reduction Act, but there are potential measures that we can also do in the state. We should incentivize heath care providers to leverage the state's buying power for high use prescription drugs. In 2019, the General Assembly sponsored a bill that capped the cost of Diabetic supplies including insulin and we can follow this similar approach to other high used life-saving medications, like blood pressure or cholesterol medications. As a member of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, we continue to evaluate policies like these but are also trying to address the root causes of increased health care.
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?
How do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
This is a critical issue in many of our non-profit safety net providers as they are competing with the big box retailers to attract a workforce in a growing field. Within Appropriations, we have been working at funding these non profits to assist in the shorter term need. Even more importantly, we need to ensure that this becomes a focus of the Workforce Development Council so that we can develop a career progression path for this workforce that enables workers to see that this is not just a "dead end" job to care for people but a step to a longer-term career with advancement opportunities that will also provide advancing pay, training opportunities, mentorship and career mobility.
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?
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?
Two environmental issues that I am most energized (pun intended) about are clean air/renewable energy and waste management. I have been a supporter of clean energy projects, like our 2019 legislation about wind farms but I believe we can also expand this, to provide additional incentives to encourage transition to solar, like better Net Metering laws. Net metering will help consumers be able to have flexibility to use their generated energy when it needed and not necessarily when it is generated. This will also lessen our reliance on dirty fossil fuels. We also must develop new waste management systems in light of the MIRA plant’s closure, and evaluate investments that address compostable waste, especially food, as this is a significant portion that heads to the incinerator. We are responsible to our community and our planet’s future to prioritize conservation and clean energy.
How can Connecticut's education systems create better outcomes for students in low-income communities?
I believe that there are improvements that need to be made at every developmental stage, from early, quality day care programs to workforce development programs in high schools. We need additional focus on reading programs for elementary schools students and consider expanding the work of the Center for Literacy Research and implementing the successful programs in communities that suffer from lower literacy rates. We can improve job training opportunities by investing in vocational and technical trade schools to prepare workers for the 21st century jobs employers are looking for when they consider where to headquarter their businesses, while guaranteeing community colleges across the state are debt free for students who are looking to expand their education beyond high school.
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?
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?
Affordable housing has drawn a lot of attention over recent years at the state level and nationally, as housing costs have risen. Connecticut lacks an estimated 87K units of both affordable and low income housing. 8-30g has not been as successful at developing enough affordable housing as many hoped, but necessary amendments to the law were enacted to help towns meet the 10% target. The most important is 8-30j, which requires towns to approve affordable housing plans every 5 years. This is important as a road map to the 10% target. I support the 8-2 statute, the zoning enabling act, giving the necessary local control to towns’ P&Z commissions for development. I believe we can find a solution to make 8-30g more effective in developing affordable housing, while still giving local control to the towns. Businesses locating to an area must ensure their workforce can find affordable housing in order to attract the best talent.
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?
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?
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
I would support open primaries to unaffiliated voters, who could chose which party's primary to participate in each cycle. Even more important, we need to address the lack of opportunity to participate in the voting process, as a whole. Currently, Connecticut is one of only four states (with Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire) that do not offer pre-Election Day in-person voting options for all voters. As a member of the General Assembly in 2019 and in 2021, I voted in favor both times to allow for early voting. I believe we need to ensure that Connecticut’s citizens have more than one day between 6AM - 8PM to cast their ballot. Not only will this measure make voting more accessible to every eligible voter, it will also decrease election day lines, ensure accuracy, and increase security for prompt election day results. I was disheartened to see that some Republican members of the General Assembly did not vote in favor of this initiative, in effect suppressing many voices who do not have flexibility with their daily schedule. We have an opportunity in November to approve the referendum question to allow early voting based on the support of the passed legislation in the General Assembly in 2019 and 2021.
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
My priority is our physical and fiscal well-being. We must be guided by public health experts. It is vital we reinvest in Connecticut to encourage businesses to remain in the state and purchase their equipment and materials here. This hinges on our ability to update our transportation system, which is the single most important factor in alleviating poverty and wealth inequality, and also benefits our environment while reducing congestion on our roads. Also, improving job training opportunities by investing in vocational and technical trade schools to prepare workers for the 21st century jobs employers are looking for when they consider where to headquarter their businesses, while guaranteeing community colleges across the state are debt free. Finally, reinstating the Angel Investor Tax Credit to foster new business opportunities. This is the time to be encouraging investment into our biotech sector, as medical technology companies race to invent COVID-19 vaccines. One method of financing a business-friendly environment is to provide sales tax reimbursements for investments up to $500,000.
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?
When the state first shut down per the recommendation of public health officials, I worked with relevant agencies to secure resources, fix issues with unemployment applications, and help businesses apply for aid. We expanded tele-medicine, brought additional testing sites to our community, opened a C19 recovery center, expanded affordable childcare options for front-line workers and delayed due dates for taxes. I worked directly with the Board of Realtors, the Governor and the DECD to ensure the functioning of real estate transactions. We have an opportunity to build a stronger state while guided by public health experts.
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?
I plan to work towards making tuition at community colleges across the state debt free and enacted free tuition for affordable community colleges so that anyone who wants to attain a college degree does not need to be drowned in debt for years to come. Funding for Higher education helps stabilize tuition and improve the long term viability of our college and University systems. I also have supported trade schools and the innovation pipeline to support the growing advanced manufacturing space. I’ve worked hard to maintain and expand Norwalk’s remarkable programming, like our partnership with IBM through P-Tech. I delivered $189 million for the new Norwalk High School while isolating $10.8 million for Jefferson Elementary School. This ensures the program can remain in Norwalk, so that students have the option to graduate high school with an associates degree.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
To support racial justice, we must ensure legislation is inclusionary and promotes equity. I was proud to work on important legislation to this end over the summer session, and believe that my Vice Chair position on Insurance and Real Estate and my seat on the Appropriations Committee uniquely positions me to address long term healthcare needs, including accessibility, while isolating how to make healthcare affordable. I have codified pre-existing conditions, paid family medical leave, and mental health parity into law; capped the cost of insulin and diabetes supplies; and expanded telehealth. I have been a strong supporter of a Connecticut public option, and I am optimistic that in our 2021 session we will be able to offer a truly affordable insurance option, which has only proven more crucial during the pandemic particularly for the BIPOC community.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
Every decision we make has to be informed by public health officials and the science. The science has proven that our BIPOC community and in particular African Americans are in the highest risk category and it is vital we protect them by practicing all public health guidelines. As Vice Chair position on Insurance and Real Estate, and with my seat on the Appropriations Committee, I think I am uniquely positioned to address long term healthcare needs, including accessibility, while isolating how to make healthcare affordable. I have codified pre-existing conditions, paid family medical leave, and mental health parity into law; capped the cost of insulin and diabetes supplies; and expanded telehealth. I have been a strong supporter of a Connecticut public option, and I am optimistic that in our 2021 session we will be able to offer a truly affordable insurance option, which has only proven more crucial during the pandemic particularly for the BIPOC community.
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.)
I think the best way to ensure that CT’s economy recovers from this recession is by making sure we control COVID-19. I was extremely concerned about the budget crisis in CT prior to COVID-19. I am relieved we did not touch the rainy day fund and had the ability to utilize it during this crisis. I will also not accept a further rise in taxes on the middle class in CT, who already pay far too much in taxes. I believe in continuing to streamline state services and reduce costs and we can make it easier for local business to work with the state. We can save millions of dollars a year by enacting some of my proposed policies. For example, we currently spend millions of dollars jailing people because they cannot afford bonds, bonds that are often only a couple hundred dollars. My opponent voted against cash bail reform, and evidently believes that the state should be spending millions of dollars to prop up bail bond companies.
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?
The pandemic has revealed the glaring inequities that exist across our communities and illustrates the fact we are only as healthy a state and only as prepared for a pandemic as our least insured resident. It is not just morally imperative to protect our most vulnerable, but a fiscally sound decision. Pre-pandemic, before constituents lost jobs,11% of our district was uninsured. Because health insurance is tied to jobs, this number is without a doubt larger seven months later. Ensuring everyone has a basic quality of life from paid family medical leave to a living wage, and codifying affordable healthcare as a right, ensures that every citizen has the opportunity to thrive. Having the opportunity to access preventative care addresses the chronic illnesses that put individuals most at risk for COVID-19 and staves off worse healthcare outcomes, while also preventing more expensive medical emergencies that are a massive burden to families. After all, medical debt is responsible for 2/3rds of bankruptcies in this country. We must also address the environmental racism that puts communities most at risk for diseases like asthma, which increases a person’s risk for COVID-19. Access to affordable, quality care such as a public option with other quality of life measures bolsters our economy with a healthier, happier workforce while helping to alleviate the burden of the ravages of illnesses like the coronavirus.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
I have been working to pass a Public Option that sits alongside of your plan. Unlike medicare for all, this optional program leverages the purchasing power of the existing large scale health plans, with insurance coverage paid by the insured -- not by the CT taxpayer. Aside from the immorality of stripping Americans of their healthcare during a pandemic, it is a financially irresponsible move to increase the number of uninsured in our state and this fact directly contradicts the motives of conservative votes reportedly based on cost savings. Less healthy residents lacking regular preventative care is ultimately more expensive for Connecticut’s medical system, which says nothing of the burden of a population too unwell to work. I always trust the evidence, and the evidence only conveys that it is overall more expensive to reduce healthcare access, especially during a pandemic that causes short and long-term disability. We must learn the hard lessons the pandemic has taught us and fight for a public option in Connecticut. It is essential to driving down healthcare costs and it would also add competition and freedom to the healthcare market. A public option would enable thousands of residents to have affordable access to healthcare. As Comptroller Kevin Lembo told us, “If there’s ever been a question about why we need coverage and why we need everyone covered, it would be now.”