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Christopher Bowen

Running for State Representative

8 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 40

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Seymour

Current Job: Cellular Engineer

Previous Job: Technical Support

Previous Job: United States Navy

Education: O'Brien Tech '99, Porter & Chester '05

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?
There is no reason why we can't use the tools that we have available to us to full extent. No reason we can't have remote voting - I submit my income taxes online - or remote learning or a combination of the two. It is 2020, and the only thing holding us back on this front is fear, uncertainty and doubt. As a Representative, I will work to update or eliminate laws that were seemingly written with a quill pen.
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?
A major difference between our state education and higher education is that the latter is still largely optional. One thing I would pursue is increased support for vocational education, which has been put to the wayside for years as we've all chased higher degrees, giving us plenty of well-educated baristas. Secondly, I would look to trim state sports that either aren't profitable or not competitive (example: D1 football at UCONN). I would support programs that allow for no-interest loans to be taken out for vocational training with easy payment schemes to allow people to invest in themselves.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
The fact that blacks are getting COVID-19 is both a criminal injustice and a structural issue, as the financial issues that were discussed in a prior question have conspired to put additional hoops in the way of their prosperity for decades upon decades. I don't have one specific plan because that's equivalent to trying to seal a severed artery with a Flinstones vitamin. We must remove the barriers that hundreds of years of white supremacist thinking have imposed, and that starts with economic mobility.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
In a perfect world, I would open up competition for health care services across state lines, allowing services to be bought on a true open market. However, we do not live in a perfect world, we live in one where the best answer at this point is very likely a Medicare for All standard. Even in a classically liberal society, health care is seen as a right.
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?
Connecticut already leads the nation in its response to COVID-19. I am not a health expert, and would seek the advice of experts in these fields.
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.)
We have a rainy day fund for a reason, and that fund has grown - $2.8bn - since COVID19 became reality. Without dipping into that, we would have to look at making cuts to collegiate athletics, increasing income taxes on higher earners - I won't resort to regressive taxes - and possible job losses. It should never get to that point.
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
Connecticut is uniquely able to weather this storm. One thing we can do is increase our spending on infrastructure to put people to work on construction. We also need better internet infrastructure, and opening up competition in the free market to build their own internet backbones will increase jobs in that sector. Finally, we should be supplementing the incomes of those in the service and retail industries, who have seen cuts to hours, wages and gratuities. One step I would entertain would be a merging of the minimum wage for tipped workers into the regular one.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
Racism has been baked into the crust of our small towns for decades, if not centuries. The first thing I would do to eradicate this would be to reduce the ability for local zoning boards to restrict housing, which would open up development and increase the supply of housing. Since these restrictions date back to the era of "white flight" - when schools integrated and whites fled the cities for the suburbs - it would allow black families to move into areas that used to be out of their price range, a problem we're still paying for decades later. Furthermore, I would reduce or end many regressive taxes that hit poor families the hardest, with the sales tax being one example.