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Carla Volpe

Running for State Representative

2 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: carlaforct.com

Age: 39

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Trumbull

Current Job: Art Teacher, Derby High School

Previous Job:

Previous Job:

Education: B.S. Studio Art (Western Connecticut State Univ.), M.S. Elementary Education (Univ of Bridgeport)

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What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
There are no short-term “magic wand” solutions to the crippling problems currently faced by Connecticut and the nation’s economy. At the moment, we hardly know the extent and the permanence of the long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on those economies. But they will be severe and, in some cases, devastatingly permanent. What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut going forward? I believe that will start when all of us truly accept the realities of this pandemic and wholeheartedly embrace the idea that we must aggressively reinvent ourselves to be active participants in whatever economic future awaits us. Whatever that future is, I believe that it will bear little resemblance to the pre-COVID-19 economy. I believe it is time for everyone in the state to remember and recommit to our reputation as clever “Connecticut Yankees.” Our economic future depends on us all being more clever, more adaptable, more creative, more accepting, and more inventive as we move forward. Encouraging people to adopt this radical change in mindset is, in my opinion, the most important thing our state government can be doing at the moment.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
Suddenly – finally! – we are taking a hard look at the harsh realities of racism which can be seen so clearly in the segregated swaths of our coastline communities (Greenwich – STAMFORD – Darien – NORWALK – Westport – Fairfield – BRIDGEPORT… etc.). I will most certainly support legislation that demands greater police responsibility. Along with this, I support whatever creative and equitable solutions may be offered to address the very real inequalities in education, housing and employment opportunities currently faced by Connecticut’s minorities.
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?
The most important immediate issue is to approve No-Excuse Absentee Balloting during this current COVID-19 crisis, but this freedom should also be available as option for all voters in all elections and primaries going forward. we must always ensure that sufficient resources are provided so that convenient, fast and efficient voting is available to all citizens at all locations. Beyond that, I would support enlarging and streamlining the electoral process with automatic voter registration, same-day registration, and in-person early voting. Depending on the severity of COVID-19 into the near future, the legislature may also need to investigate operating committees and public hearings remotely. The legislative process cannot shut down again like it did this past Spring. There are too many important items that the people of this state need the legislature to work on.
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?
Once again, this is a huge issue – the outlines of which are just now beginning to emerge. In the past twenty years, the cost of higher education has skyrocketed, leaving many students burdened with an astronomical amount of debt. It is a problem that has gotten completely away from us and, until recently, no one seems to have been paying any serious attention to it. Debt reduction or forgiveness for student loans must be put on the table and it must be done in a substantive – rather than a “this will make us all feel good, but not really help these people” – way. In our currently shrinking and radically shifting job market, we cannot expect recent graduates to pay these bills. But, in addition to issues of existing debt, the cost of education must be forced down. Who can afford a quarter of a million dollars to spend four years in college? The price of an American education has become truly absurd. And, beyond the question of a college education, job training for the new economy that will emerge from this COVID-19 crisis – training for real jobs with the potential for real, ongoing career opportunities – must be created and made available to all who need it and at a price-point that will not blithely eliminate the neediest.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
I would love to learn about that “one specific policy” which would even begin to adequately “protect” our most “at-risk” citizens. There is no “magic bullet.” The American health care system is significantly compromised and nowhere more so than in our poorer cities and neighborhoods. Some of this can be addressed locally and on a state level, but I believe the problem is much more national than local or regional and, as such, demands a vigorous and effective solution from Washington. There are systemic issues that affect the African-American community each day at the local, state, and national levels. In this case, however, there must be some type of leadership from the federal government, although unfortunately that seems to not exist. Being an educator, my expertise in effective local and state solutions to our grievous health care problems is limited, but I will support any and all reasonable legislation that improves medical treatment options to our neediest citizens.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
I find this question somewhat offensive. It is premised on the belief that “Best for Less” is somehow possible in the real world. It isn’t. We can talk about lowering health care costs and what can be practically done to accomplish that end. This most certainly needs to happen, because the cost of American health care compared to other places in the world offering similar services is scandalous. But the complications caused by hospital and medical practices consolidation along with the huge burden of insurance costs in our litigious society are not readily amenable to simple solutions. Regarding my understanding of how to go about best “improving quality and access” please see my answer to the question directly above.
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 President of the United States disbanded the Global Health Security and Biodefense Unit of the National Security Council that was supposed to be in charge of pandemics affecting our country. This was an unfortunate misstep based on where we find ourselves today. I would support the creation of a small team in the Department of Public Health to be hire to focus specifically on pandemics or certain outbreaks that occur in Connecticut. We must fund the Department of Public Health with the appropriate funds to do research and educate the public on health-related issues including chronic illnesses. Education, knowing what to look for, and proper hygiene can be some of the best preventative measures when it comes to avoiding diseases. When diseases and sickness do come to Connecticut residents, we must rely on science and trust the doctors and medical experts on how to handle such diseases. We cannot succumb to the “fake news” or those who try to claim that pandemics are hoaxes when they clearly are not.
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.)
Once again, this question begs for simple solutions. There were no simple solutions before the COVID-19 crisis and – with our radically changed economic landscape – there are no simple solutions now. All of the old arguments, all of those previously failed solutions are now, quite frankly, obsolete. Everything has changed and our problems are worsened five-fold. While cuts may seem like the “easiest” way to address the problem, I do not believe this is a time for less governmental help. It is time for more. Should we be looking at all our state programs for waste and ways to eliminate those expenses (a question you didn’t ask)? Yes. Do I have a laundry list pinpointing areas with the most waste? No. But, will I support any non-partisan, judicious effort to eliminate inefficient programs and people? Most certainly, yes. Will we need to find creative ways to increase state revenues? Certainly. Today, do I have a specific proposal for how to best accomplish that goal? No. Am I confident that creative minds, knowledgeable in all the complexities of state finance and taxes, will be able to find reasonable solutions for these problems. Yes? Will I support those reasonable solutions? Yes. More than that, I cannot say at the moment.