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Justin Anderson

Running for State Senator

22 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status: nonparticipating


Age: 49

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: East Haddam

Current Job: Retired (Resigned from federal job, as Intelligence Officer to run for Congress)

Previous Job: Senior Intelligence Officer, Connecticut Army National Guard (Over 30 years of military service)

Previous Job: Correctional Officer (Retired. Over 20 years in a maximum security facility)

Education: Bachelor, Liberal Arts (3.5 years at University on New Haven, Criminal Justice)

Despite statements to the contrary by various individuals, PPE has remained in short supply throughout the country. If elected, how will you ensure that every state and US territory is provided with enough medical supplies and capacity to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the next one(s)?
It is important to understand, that as a responsible administration, if you deplete national stocks of prepositioned supplies, you must not only replenish it, but ensure stocks are rotated and within expiration standards. Neither one of these occurred after the H1N1 pandemic. There are five regions in Connecticut for Emergency Response. I was one of five military personnel (working with Region 1) as the Liaison Officer between local administrators, municipalities and the military. President Trump began re-stockpiling strategic stores, along with securing commercial stocks. Connecticut requested these supplies. The Connecticut military set up a warehouse in New Britain. The Air-guard transported the supplies to Point of Distribution (POD) centers and I was one of five military personnel ensuring municipal requests were filled and pushed out to the first responders: police, fire and medical responders. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical for first responders and hospitals. Connecticut had multiple avenues to push PPE and other assets. The Soldiers were placed on Active Duty by the federal government to assist the states. We were ahead of the emergency response game, and I was proud to be supporting Region 1 in these times of crises. There are only two states in the entire Nation listed as having “contained” the Covid-19 virus. Vermont and Connecticut. Federal assistance made our operation possible. You cannot give credit to our state government without crediting the federal response.
The coronavirus has placed a tremendous strain on the healthcare system, and the rise in unemployment has resulted in many people losing their health insurance, amplifying disparities in access to health care. If elected, what would you do to help the healthcare system and all the people who need it? Would you expand coverage with a public option or a Medicare For All concept, something else, or nothing?
Better health care is something we should always strive for. It is also easy to pretend ACA had merit, although many fixes were made to allow it to survive. We need to remember the original impact of ACA. Those with good plans often lost them. Those on employer plans often lost their doctor or were moved to an unaffordable plan with either higher deductibles, or lower coverage. Due to ACA my own son lost employment hours to ensure the employer would not be responsible for insurance. Then, when my son simply could not afford insurance at all, he was force to pay a substantial annual penalty, for not having medical insurance. The truth is, the articles written about the ACA, referred to it as being in a “death spiral”. It was. After many attempted fixes in the Obama administration, the current administration had a choice of making additional fixes, or allowing it to crash and burn, which would have hurt millions. The current administration made the needed fixes and removed the penalty, for those who could not afford any insurance. We are now faced with allowing a single payer system to become the new standard, at which time, over 150 million hard working Americans, with insurance, will lose those plans and we will all be placed in the same system governed by the government. This is not acceptable. Not for any one of those Union workers, or those who can afford premium plans, or those who have exceptional employers. I will support a plan that is more inclusive for all, regardless of whether ACA is made better, or simply replaced. The concerns must be placed on lowering the cost of medication, protecting pre-existing conditions and making sure we provide for our retired community first. Government has not proven it can run anything with fiscal responsibility, from the Postal Service to Social Security. People should not work their entire lives and lose everything, they worked so hard for, just to stay healthy in their later years. Even the Veteran Hospitals now offer the choice to go to a private doctor, if the VA cannot provide adequate care in a reasonable time. This is the opposite of moving to a single payer system. This also begs the question; in a single payer system, are veterans forced into that, or do they continue through the VA systems already in place? A single payer system will destroy the best medical treatment available in the world. We need to move forward, but with caution.
Do you agree or disagree with President Trump's recent decisions to label certain American cities as "anarchist," and to send federal agents – uninvited by local authorities – into cities such as Portland, Oregon? In your opinion, is this a legitimate use of federal force and rhetoric, or is this an overreach?
Federal Agents are not being deployed to these cities to address “Anarchists”. The President has rightfully decided that he will do so, only when requested by the state. That is the standard, that is what is happening. There was some confusion with agents going to protect federal property. It should be clear that federal agents have responsibility and a duty to protect federal property. There was an article in The Atlantic, “Obama on Baltimore: Violent Rioters ‘Need to be Treated as Criminal’. (April 28th, 2015). Obama sent 100 federal agents to Baltimore prior to the court decision to address a possible riot. This should make it clear that when requested, it is legitimate. Currently federal agents have responded when invited or for protection of federal property. They have not stepped in to replace local law enforcement against the will of local politicians.
The pandemic has led to massive changes in our workforce, with many jobs disappearing entirely, at least for now. If elected, how do you envision reshaping the workforce to create new opportunities for those whose jobs have evaporated – for example, in restaurants and bars and throughout the service sector?
We need to allow a safe opening of our economy with proper incentives to conduct business in a safe manner. That statement means something different for each individual business. The restaurant and bar industries are very susceptible to reduced capabilities. These businesses rely on filling to a certain capacity in order to make a profit. A great tool would be a 0% loan which allows for increased space or facility augmentations. Screens, outdoor additions and better cleaning protocols will all help. In Connecticut we need to ensure the best possible opportunity for vocational skills which will ensure a skilled labor force for our military contracts. There are good paying jobs in sheet metal, electronics, and various other skill sets, which are needed to support our military contract industry, such as Electric Boat. I would fully work to expand those types for pipelines of skilled labor.
COVID-19 and the resulting recession have increased the number of people who qualify for Medicaid just when state revenues are dropping. Will you support more relief for state Medicaid programs to continue coverage levels and ensure access to providers?
I fully support additional funding for state Medicaid programs. As stated before, a healthcare program must be considered that allows guaranteed healthcare for those who have spent a lifetime paying taxes and supporting the American economy. Additionally, Husky and various other programs are needed to support those under bad economic conditions, to ensure the children are taken care of and do not succumb to treatable conditions which are far more costly, if not addressed.
The coronavirus is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, bringing with it, massive ongoing disruption to all of our systems, from food supply to employment to health care to education and more. From a broad perspective, how do you holistically envision addressing this crisis in the long-term?
Historically, severe pandemics, plagues and similar concerns are self-correcting. There is an enormous team of scientists that are driving the decision making. It is dishonest to believe the president himself is making the CDC force policy on America. If anything, it is the other way around and the science is based on new conditions and a new threat, which is not fully understood. Therefore, as we learn more, science can have changing protocols. This is normal with every new medical threat. The idea that there is a perfect unchanging science on the current “new” pandemic is simply not true. We will keep learning and keep perfecting the information that allow us to live life as safely as possible. Science and history have shown that viruses mutate to survive. Killing the host is counter-productive, therefore it is reasonable that the COVID-19 may become far less deadly and far easier to spread. Ultimately, that is the equivalent of the flu, which kills about 60,000 per year, on average. Vehicle incidents kill about 3,500 per day, yet no one has lowered the speed limit to 30 miles per hour, with a governor on the throttle. At some point we trade safety for freedom. That can be an arbitrary trade off, which allows for the politicization of these types of events. Medical threats are real, but we need to deal with the medical threat and not the repercussions of partisan political ideology.
Many Americans are now calling racism a public health crisis in our country, with policy implications and disparities across multiple sectors like law enforcement, residential zoning, healthcare access, employment, and educational equity, among others. What measures must Congress take to address racism and its impact over many generations in America?
Racism is real and when you travel to other countries, you see not only how real it is, but how well we are doing in America comparatively. One of the major contributors to this divide is the current media. Identity politics has been normalized, and although it brings light to real concerns, it makes things worse. We can often agree when we see racist policies or concerns that must be addressed, but the idea that calling everyone who politically disagrees with you a racist, will never bring Americans closer together. The people I have known for the last 30 years are still the same people. I do not socialize with racists people. I do not really know any. People like that have never been in my circles. That said, no one I know has recently and suddenly become racist. I have been in the military for over thirty years. When you are in a combat unit, every life depends on teamwork. Race or color is never a thought. The same thing can be said as a corrections officer. I spent over 20 years in a maximum-security prison. We were, and are, all brothers and sisters. No color, race or sex matters. It is family. They always have been. They always will be. So where has the hate come from? The answer is the media. I do not imply racism does not exist or is not a concern. Certainly, it does exist, and we need to address it, but we need to bring people together to overcome it. We need to treat each other as equals and work together for positive solutions. Anyone who thinks that calling everyone else a racist based along party ideology, is never going to solve the problem. The goal should be to solve the problem. If we conduct ourselves in a manner that creates anger or division, then we are not really trying to solve a very real social issue.
What measures do you support to help protect voting rights this year and for the years ahead, within the context of the pandemic and post-pandemic voting?
The right to vote should never be hampered. Connecticut does not require a picture identification to vote, so one must wonder how the “right” to vote is in question. Partisan redistricting does not hinder a person’s right to vote, but it can change delegate results at the national level. One might state that dark money changes a person’s right to vote, it does not. However, it can allow a Hollywood personality to finance an election here in Connecticut. Sending out ballots to every person in the state does not stop a person’s right to vote, but it does raise concerns of whether every person’s vote is properly counted. Votes are lost, tossed and filled out incorrectly, which does hamper a person’s vote, and the ensuing election results. Some states have sent out the actual ballots to every single individual, whether they are requested, or not. Connecticut, at least, has had the sense to require a ‘request’ for ballot. Mass dissemination of ballots is a recipe for widespread unsavory activity. If ballots are fraudulently submitted, sent in late, or incorrectly filled out, that strips Americans of the idea of a fair and honest election. How we protect truly our right to vote, is by ensuring our votes are not tainted with dishonest results. Every vote must count, and every vote must legitimate.
Do you agree or disagree with President Trump’s directive for all schools to return to a full schedule this school year? What parameters and/or process do you endorse in making decisions involving the operation of public schools in the age of COVID-19?
The President certainly, can have an opinion on whether students should return to school. It is an opinion. To state it is a directive, you would need to have a Presidential Executive Order directing schools to return to a full schedule. School schedules are determined at the state and local level. I support each school district making those determinations based on each area specific COVID-19 threat concerns, and the latest scientific information.
The world is facing an impending climate emergency. With the US spending more than the next 10 countries combined on our military budget, do you think that it is important that we transition some of those resources to combat and build resiliency ahead of a predicted global climate catastrophe? How can Connecticut’s existing engineering, manufacturing, and technical project management expertise be transitioned to address that next emergency before it is too late?
The question here assumes we know America can have an impact on world climate change. We cannot even get India and China to make any meaningful commitments towards climate change policy. America has done better, than most of the world, in terms of lowering the carbon footprint and ensuring cleaner air and water. The Obama administration invested $500 million on Solyndra, for solar power. Solyndra went bankrupt. I am not against subsidies for alternative energy projects, but fossil fuel is a proven commodity. When a specific energy source has become a proven alternative to fossil fuel, then we can lean in that direction. As technology improves, it would make sense that alternative energies will become more viable and we can phase out the need for fossil fuels. Many do not know that fossil fuels are required to create other renewable energy sources. As a Soldier, that has served in a combat theater multiple times, I understand the need to keep our troops out of harm’s way, when possible. The best way to ensure peace is through a strong military force, which stands as a deterrent to global threats. Supporting this expenditure not only makes America safer, it protects the Connecticut economy. Manufacturing, commercial and small business has been pushed out of our state and the government contracts we obtain help ensure a tax base to support the state’s economy and state budget. These important economic contracts are supported by Electric Boat, Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney, among others.