Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
Yes. Due to disparate racial impacts that the war on drugs has effected, the mental and moral cost to our society, and the need to treat addiction as a mental health issue - it well past time to legalize cannabis.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
By acknowledging that in one of the wealthiest states in the wealthiest country, if we can't ask our most privileged to help raise the base for everyone - then we are going to continue to reap the effects of disinvestment.
A recent report found 40 percent of Connecticut residents can't afford basic needs such as housing, food, health care, or child care. What would you do to improve their situation?
The solution shouldn't be more welfare programs - we should continue to improve on the process with which we provide programs like SNAP and section 8 housing vouchers. Increasing the minimum wage, enacting paid family and medical leave, and providing businesses incentives to grow - while increasing taxes on our ultra wealthy to incentivize capital owners to pay their employees more.
Will you support top-down efforts to regionalize local services with an eye toward more efficiency and reducing the state's obligations regarding ECS and/or other funding for towns? How would you go about it?
Yes. There would need to be more state support in the form of additional support for education - this can only happen when we ask our wealthy to pay more to protect our system of democracy. The top tax rate for the wealthiest in our state rests at 6.99% when nearby states of NY and NJ have top tax rates of closer to 9%.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
The best way we can attract businesses to our state is not by lowering all taxes - it is by investing in the quality of life. If we had universal broadband and a stronger middle class, new businesses would be busting down our walls to move here.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Yes, although there have been reports of deleterious effects from this.
Based on estimates that out-of-state drivers would contribute 30-40% of overall revenue if highway tolls are implemented in Connecticut, would you support tolls with or without offsetting cuts in the state's gas taxes?
I absolutely support tolls, given that our special transportation fund is set to be out of money in 5 years. We could offset by reducing the gas tax - but that's sort of a moot point, since the whole reason we need tolls in the first place is that we have such diminished revenues from the gas tax.
Eversource and some out-of-state entities appear to be attempting to buy control of Connecticut's water resources, and some of our quasi-public water agencies have signed away large amounts of water to commercial interests with little regard to future water shortages. What can you do to ensure that Connecticut residents maintain control of public water supplies in perpetuity?
We need to ensure that water is protected as a public good.
Much of Connecticut is economically and racially segregated because many towns lack affordable housing and local zoning regulations prohibit multi-family dwellings. How would you propose incentivizing municipalities to start allowing multi-family units and other affordable housing options?
The rollback of 8-30g protections was a big mistake. Towns may hate mandates, but every town has a responsibility to the citizens of CT to provide affordable housing regardless of age, sex, gender, or creed. If towns do not provide a requisite level of affordable housing, it seems reasonable to withhold funding from the state - and additionally, for those towns that do provide housing, we could have a progressive program that provides more support the more affordable housing that is available.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
A statewide property tax that would toward offsetting municipal education costs would help even out the over reliance on the property tax.
Should the government's response to the opioid crisis be to focus on law enforcement to stop drug dealers, or improving access to treatment for addiction and reducing the overprescription of painkillers?
We need to improve access to healthcare, and stop treating addiction like its a crime.
In 2016 the Connecticut Retirement Security Program was created. It will give over 600,000 residents in our state a way to save for retirement at work. Knowing that employees are 15 times more likely to save merely by having access to payroll deduction, how will you continue the implementation of this important program?
Unsure, but I do love this program.
The 459,000 family caregivers in Connecticut provide an estimated 427 million hours of care each year. Nationwide, nearly seven in ten caregivers report making work accommodations because of caregiving, including arriving late/leaving early, cutting back their hours, changing jobs, or stopping work entirely. Would you support a family leave law that provides paid leave to employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes?
Do you believe public schools in Connecticut require an essential makeover, as outlined by Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher's decision in September? What, in your opinion, is the number-one issue regarding public education in the state?
Yes. We need to better fund our schools and divert more resources to our cities.
Will you oppose legislation that will require utility customers to subsidize the profitability of merchant generators, such as the Millstone nuclear power plant, unless those merchant generators demonstrate the need to their customers and the state with financial reports that show their actual loss in profits?
How would you reduce the state employee pension liabilities and debt service, which together comprise 25% of the state's annual budget?
By creating news avenues for revenue generation. Reducing liabilities would mean backing out on promises. The better solution would be to hunker down, bring back tolls, tax and regulate weed, stop subsidizing big box stores for underpaying their employees, and raising the top marginal tax rate. We can't do much, ethically, about pension liabilities - but we can do something about debt service, and that is start paying down what we owe as soon as possible.
Does Connecticut have a revenue problem or a spending problem?
Both. Except our spending problem is based off of bad decision in prior years that we are stuck with, and pretending that we can get out of this problem without bringing more revenue in is being purposefully blind to the problem.
Would you support laws that provide for family leave or other workplace flexibility for employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes? What proposals would you champion to help family caregivers who are balancing a career and family obligations or health emergencies?
Yes. I will be championing paid family and medical leave as well as better sick leave laws.
Community College students recently won a reprieve but are facing the possibility of a significant tuition hike. What are you planning to do to ensure that community college remains an affordable option for families?
Unsure - it is, however, important that there is a path for students to follow through higher education even if they don't come from money.
What would you do as a state legislator to address the opioid epidemic in our state?
We need to treat drug abuse as a disease, not a crime - and we need to pour money into education and rehabilitation facilities.
Today, over 600,000 residents in our state don’t have a way to save for retirement at work. Knowing that employees are 15 times more likely to save merely by having access to payroll deduction, will you commit to supporting the newly passed Connecticut Retirement Security Act that will provide these workers with access to private payroll deduction IRA accounts?
Who are you supporting for president and why?
Hillary Clinton. She has a vision for the country and is able to speak above a 5th grade reading level.
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