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Alex Kasser

Running for State Senator

17 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: nonparticipating


Age: 53

Marital Status:

Current Residence: Greenwich

Current Job: State Senator

Previous Job: community volunteer

Previous Job: corporate attorney; PhD candidate

Education: Phillips Academy, Andover; Wesleyan University, B.A.; University of Chicago, J.D.; Yale University, M.Phil; Yale University, Doctoral Candidate


Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
I do not support legalizing recreational marijuana at this point in time. I've spent my career advocating for public health and children's health, in particular. Science indicates that marijuana use can have deleterious effects on developing brains. There are many other ways we can bring new revenue into the state - and foster innovation, education, job growth and clean energy. I'd prioritize all of those options over the legalization of drugs.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
I'm a fiscal conservative and believe that preventing problems costs less than trying to remediate the crises that develop later. Ensuring that vulnerable populations are cared for is smart economic policy and I would support programs that save taxpayers money in the long run, and also provide essential services to our most needy. Again, this is smart economic and social policy.
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?
I would raise the minimum wage to $15 and support Paid Family Medical Leave. Studies show that with such policies in place, the number of women who live in poverty in our state would be reduced by more than 50%. I believe that anyone who works full-time should earn a living wage so they can be self-reliant and take care of their families' basic needs. I'm also in favor of developing more affordable housing and workforce housing, throughout the state.
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?
Yes I would support efforts to regionalize services by encouraging towns to engage in dialogue with one another and incentivizing them to find efficiencies.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
The State should invest in modernizing our roads and rail system, reducing train time between NY and Stamford to 30 minutes and building a state-of-the-art transportation center in Stamford, which is the business gateway to Connecticut (but is in an embarrassing state of disrepair). By investing in the New Haven to New York rail system and reducing travel time on roads and rails, companies would start to flock to our state. Our failing infrastructure (along with our fiscal crisis) are the top impediments to businesses locating here. We can fix both those problems within 2 years.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
I would support this ban for non-violent convictions.
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?
Yes, I support the installation of "smart" electronic tolls as soon as possible. The opportunity cost of not having tolls is costing the state billions of dollars in lost revenue. I don't think raising the gas tax will have a significant impact, so I prefer to focus on generating revenue from out-of-state drivers as well as the billions in private financing we could capture by securitizing this new income stream.
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?
This is a dangerous trend as it puts consumers at a great disadvantage and may ultimately endanger our water supply. I would support the State Water Plan and work to ensure that the interests of CT residents- for generations to come - are protected.
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?
I would support incentivizing municipalities to allow more affordable housing options by enforcing existing laws for new developments.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
The Education Cost Sharing formula should be applied in a fair and transparent way, without backroom deals or political favor.
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?
The government's response to the opioid crisis has been insufficient and misplaced. Oftentimes, doctors are the "drug dealers." I think prescribing doctors (and their pharmaceutical suppliers) should be liable for prescribing addictive substances when other less dangerous and invasive treatments are available. I also support improving access to services for people who are addicted and want help. And I support medically-assisted treatment options.
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 support the continuation of this program.
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 support Paid Family Medical Leave.