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Hilary Ram

Running for State Representative

6 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: electhilaryram.com

Age: 50

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: New Milford

Current Job: Substitute Teacher

Previous Job: Manager, Nanz Hardware

Previous Job: Account Manager, Nanz Hardware

Education: Milton Academy, B.A. Political Science, St.Lawrence University

What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
The first thing is stop the bleeding. I support immediately passing the HEROES act by the U.S. Senate so that people continue to get unemployment money which is keeping our economy afloat. Connecticut businesses have wide ranging challenges and need to be addressed appropriately and with urgency. Some small businesses would benefit from PPE to keep customers safe and returning, while others need relief with rent or mortgage costs as business cannot yet reopen. Most would benefit from a continuation of the Payroll Protection Program. People can be encouraged to shop locally and support local business as COVID restrictions allow in their area.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
I watched the livestream of the special session in the General Assembly like it was the greatest baseball game ever played, right down to the last inning. From the tie vote on the amendment regarding immunity to the final outcome of the voting tally passing the Police Accountability bill, it was one of our most important moments as a state in terms of who we are and how we will move forward after the horrific murder of George Floyd. I was encouraged by the legislation that passed on police accountability that we may make significant strides in reducing racism in Connecticut. Going forward we should continue to listen to communities of color and take bold action as legislators to end existing systemic racism. I will immediately focus on issues relating to COVID because studies show Blacks in our state are 2 and ½ times more likely to die from COVID-19. Declaring racism as a public health crisis would be a good start. But access to testing and treatment must be immediately addressed. Then I would focus on systemic racism in housing and education. Connecticut is on of the most segregated states in the nation. I support zoning reforms that organizations such as Desegregate CT have proposed. In education, much needs to be done to deliver equity in our schools; curriculum that teaches anti-racism, greater diversity in teachers and education policy makers, and affordability.
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?
I support and encourage voting by mail. I applaud our Secretary of State for getting ballot boxes into each town to deliver ballots and not overburden the USPS. There is no question that when the numbers of infection grow, our legislator should be allowed to cast their vote remotely. We must all wear masks and social distance until this pandemic is fully under control, everywhere across the country.
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?
Never has it been more clear that access to fast, reliable internet is a critical tool for families in our community. COVID-19 has made our technological infrastructure an essential part of educating our children, and of keeping our economy running while residents work from home. We cannot fall behind our neighbors in ensuring that all of our households have access to this technology, and as your state representative I’ll work to implement a statewide plan for wireless internet access. When our children graduate I want to make sure they have every opportunity in life. Whatever path is right for them, I want them to be empowered to choose it. So many reliable, good paying jobs today are available in the trades, IT, nursing, and more and we need to make sure that our young people have access to that job training. That is why I support debt-free community college.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
Expanding Medicaid. Declare racism a public health crisis with the goal of focusing more attention and resources toward communities of color and the inequities that existed before COVID-19 but are playing out with deadly consequences now.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
Larger health systems charge higher prices as they become commercially focused which hurts overall healthcare. I believe that primary care is the building block to a better healthcare system. So making larger systems be more accountable would help regulate how money is allocated. I see access to care as an essential component to better care and telehealth, when used in the right situations, proved to be an important new option that could also save costs for the patient and practice.
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?
COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the inequities that exist in our healthcare system. We must make affordable quality healthcare available to every family. Being woefully short on medical supplies was a wake up call and we must bring the manufacturing of some medical equipment and supplies back to the United States. I would fight for a pandemic preparedness task force both on a federal and a state level.
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 am in favor of tolls on the interstate highways as a great alternative to raising taxes. We should eliminate the cap on estate/gift tax. I am in favor of creating tax credits for the middle class; child tax credit, increased earned income tax credit. I would like to explore the revenue that would be created by increasing taxes on the top 1% of income distribution.