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Jim Himes

Running for U.S. House

50 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 54

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Cos Cob

Current Job: United States House of Representatives

Previous Job: The Enterprise Community Partners

Previous Job: Goldman Sachs

Education: Harvard University and Oxford University

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?
Affordable access to higher education has been a problem for students and families for a generation. That problem has worsened with COVID making many jobs challenging or impossible. Fortunately, the CARES Act suspended the need for students to make payments on federal student loans. But we must do much more by making grants a larger part of financial aid packages and pressuring institutions of higher education to keep their costs manageable. Our forced experience with distance learning should also help us develop more innovative and cost-effective models of higher education.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
I support reforms that bring real change to end the systemic discrimination that exists in our Housing, health care and criminal justice systems, among others. Co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Requires federal officers to wear body cameras Holds police accountable for reckless misconduct In order to help families who are specifically harmed, we want to limit qualified immunity. Permits collection of data on police misconduct and racial profiling Creates a private right of action for racial profiling incidents. Covid has also shown us the results of desperately unequal access to health care and wellness. In the coming years, we must address both access issues and affordability.
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
In March, as COVID devastated our communities, I co-sponsored and voted for the CARES Act, a wide-ranging economic rescue package that provided rapid and meaningful relief for individuals and businesses through a series of programs, including the CARES Act Recovery Assistance. Thousands of local businesses received forgivable loans. Most people received $1200 direct support checks to allow them to continue to participate in the economy. The Community Investment Corporation received a $3,465,000 CARES Act grant from the Economic Development Administration, which will utilize a variety of loan options to meet the needs of businesses affected by COVID-19, especially underserved markets. The CARES Act Recovery Assistance will lend to borrowers in Fairfield, New Haven, Litchfield, and Hartford counties. Providing small businesses with much-needed capital during COVID-19 is crucial to keeping our economy afloat. The small businesses throughout the seventeen towns in our district are essential centers of life and employment. Supporting them, and the families and communities they serve is a top priority.
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?
During COVID-19, my staff and I have worked on behalf of countless numbers of challenged constituents. We’ve helped process thousands of unemployment claims and helped hundreds of people obtain their stimulus checks. We’re still working on casework around the district. In the House, we have conducted Committee Hearings virtually and have continued to vote on important legislation throughout the pandemic. We will continue to do so. In March of 2020, I voted for and then the President signed into law the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, and Economic Security ACT. Connecticut's share of the CARES Act is estimated to be $1.382 billion. CARES ACT funding that supported our Secretary of State and local elections through election grants totaled $10 million. Grants were also received to help to protect Connecticut's election cybersecurity infrastructure from foreign interference by helping towns to strengthen their local election infrastructure. Towns were offered $200,000 in 50/50 matching grants to replace outdated equipment, $350,000 in Cybersecurity Risk Assessments by the Connecticut National Guard and the Secure Polls Grant of $220,000 conditioned on completing cybersecurity training and risk assessments by the Connecticut National Guard.The most recent aid for the general election included: Absentee Ballot Support Grant to Give Town Clerks the Resources Necessary - $1.4 million Safe Polls Grant to Ensure Safe Polling Places - $865,500 Election Day Registration Access Grant to Help Registrars Handle Increased Election Day Registration Volume - $50,000
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
I strongly supported the public option for Medicare in 2009 and I still do. Americans should be able to choose to buy into Medicare. 8 million workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored insurance as of June 2020 because of the pandemic-induced recession. The employers of these workers covered 6.9 million of their dependents, for a total of 14.6 million affected individuals. When someone loses their job, we need to make sure that employers cover the subsidies for a while during the job search (COBRA), helping keep coverage during unemployment. The ACA allows people to sign up through the exchanges when they lose their job, but it can be tough to find a good plan. We should make the process of buying insurance through the marketplace easier.
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.)
As a member of Congress, I have no say in the budget of the State of Connecticut. On the federal level, I am opposed to the Trump tax cuts passed by Republicans in 2017. 83% percent of the “cuts” benefit went to the top 1%. That 83% received an average cut of $20,660. The top 0.1 percent, the richest of the rich earning $5.1 million or more a year, got over $150,000 back on average. The corporate tax rate decreased from 35% to 21%. Both of these drastic cuts have ballooned our deficit in an irresponsible way. I support increasing the corporate tax rate to 28% and a fair tax system where the wealthiest are paying their fair share.
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?
We should expand healthcare access by offering everyone access to Medicare if they choose it. This will cover the majority of our population and help the most vulnerable. I will continue to protect and defend the Affordable Health Care Act and coverage for pre-existing conditions, including chronic illnesses.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
The Affordable Health Care Act is not perfect, but I will continue to defend it from constant attacks. We must ensure coverage for preexisting conditions stays intact. I support changing and updating the ACA instead of repealing it. Some changes we could make to the ACA include: Creating a public option Expanding tax credits so more moderate-and middle-income families and senior citizens can afford to purchase coverage through the exchanges Expanding cost-sharing reduction, which helps cap out of pocket costs Improving the navigator program so people can get more help choosing the right health plan for their family Making a deliberate and concerted effort to reduce enormously expensive but preventable chronic diseases.