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Don Mastronardi

Running for State Representative

1 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status:


Age: 46

Marital Status: married

Current Residence: New Canaan

Current Job: Business Owner Dry Dock Bar & Grille Companies

Previous Job: Senior Financial Analyst

Previous Job:

Education: BS Accounting Ithaca College

Do you think the state's two major electric utilities (Eversource and United Illuminating) are sufficiently regulated? If not, what measures would you take to ensure that consumers are protected to the greatest extent possible against prolonged loss of services and unfair rate increases?
The state of CT has the second highest energy costs in the entire country. There are numerous factors that are contributing to these costs. First I would eliminate all government fees and taxes in our energy bills. 20% of your energy bills goes towards subsidizing low income households, "green energy" subsidies and other government spending initiatives. These programs should be stand alone so the taxpayer can see how much money our government spends on them. Your energy bill should be the cost of the energy itself, not all these other charges the government mandates. Our citizens are paying enough, they need relief.
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
I am an advocate of having additional parties in our politics. The 2 party system hasn't served our citizens well and too often the extremes in both parties win out at the detriment of our citizens. I wouldn't have an issue with unaffiliated voters being able to vote in primaries, because at the end of the day, we want our citizens engaged in the political process.
How should the state and its school districts deal with COVID-19 going forward?
For one, no more remote learning and masks on our kids. Covid 19 will be here forever, just like the flu, and all the studies and statistics have shown that remote learning and masking our children had profound and lasting negative effects on their learning and social well being. We have to put covid behind us and learn from the mistakes and damage we caused on our children's learning and development.
What action(s) will you take to reduce out-of-pocket drug costs and reduce the impact of the cost of prescription drugs on taxpayers and insurance premiums?
Insurance premiums and drug prices continue rise year after year, even after Obamacare promised to do the opposite. The best actions we can take to lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs is to have more competition in our markets, lessen regulations to allow insurance companies to compete across state lines and do a better job of regulating and eliminating fraud. Obamacare did an awful job in reducing healthcare costs and actually increased premiums and deductibles on all working families and individuals. It forced insurance companies and individuals to have additional care that they didn't need or want which resulted in higher out of pocket expenses. We need to allow individuals and insurance companies to cater policies to individuals and families that fit their needs, not the needs of the government. We need hold service providers accountable for price gouging and have more transparency on the costs of services being provided.
In these inflationary times, what will you do to help ensure that Connecticut’s middle-income retirees on fixed incomes are able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets?
Eliminate all taxes on retirement income, period. Our government does an awful job of incentivizing savings. Individuals should be incentivized to put money away for retirement, not punished. I would make all retirement income tax exempt from taxation. People are taxed enough in this state and the government is always looking for more and more. Our citizens work almost 5 months of the year for the State and Federal government and that isn't right or fair. In addition, families and individuals buying a home should be able to use retirement money tax free to do so. We need to incentivize wealth creation and owning your own home is one of the best ways to build generational wealth. Generational wealth shouldn't be punished either, parents should be able to pass on their wealth to their families without the government getting a cut. The government works for the people, not the other way around.
How do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
Gas prices are higher than ever, which is difficult for older adults on fixed incomes. Yet, alternatives to cars in Connecticut are limited. What will you do to help older adults access other forms of transportation?
We have numerous ride sharing companies in the State of CT. We should look to partner with non profits and private industry to create an elderly ride sharing program. The program would be paid by private business and non profits, not the taxpayer. This would avoid the government creating yet another program we can't afford but incentivize the market to provide a much needed service. I would allow businesses that are part of the program to write off 100 percent of their contribution on their taxes.
What are the two most urgent problems facing Connecticut within the context of climate change and the environment, and what will you propose to solve them?
I don't think the State of CT should be involved in promoting policies in the name of "climate change," because this is an issue for the Federal Government to address and handle. I have watched politicians in the state use climate change to implement more and more fees and taxes that do nothing to address the issue they claim to be fighting. These taxes and fees go into the general fund and get spent on other projects or giveaways to State unions. Our citizens are taxed enough. It is an absolute fraud to pretend that electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines are sufficient to meet the growing energy needs of our state and country. Everyone wants clean air and water but we need an all the above energy policy that doesn't punish one sector in favor of others. When the government picks winners and losers it is the taxpayer who ends up paying the price.
How can Connecticut's education systems create better outcomes for students in low-income communities?
More school choice, charter schools have shown over and over again to create better academic outcomes, especially in our low income communities. Instead of building a 250 million dollar high school use that money to attract and incentivize more teachers, and in school resources, dealing one on one with our children on a daily basis. School administrators making 300 and 400,000 a year should be held more accountable for the outcomes of the schools they oversee. An administrator shouldn't be making 4-5 times that of a teacher, especially when academic standards are subpar. We have a teacher shortage and we need to attract people back into the profession and let them teach our children the fundamentals needed to compete in the global economy. The LEFT needs to stop pushing CRT and DEI in our schools, kids don't need to be taught they are victims or oppressors, they need to be taught how to think, not what to think.
Pedestrian deaths spiked a few years ago and remain high, and it's fairly clear that driver behavior, such as distracted driving, is only getting worse despite significant efforts by law enforcement to stop it. How can Connecticut's streets be made safe for pedestrians and bicyclists?
What should be done on the state level to further address Connecticut's lack of affordable housing? Do you support, for example, mandating or incentivizing towns and cities to alter their zoning codes to be friendlier to affordable housing?
Get rid of 8-30 G. Towns and cities should be free to make their own choices on how they want to address housing. Individual towns and cities can set up their own standards and bench marks as it relates to affordable housing. The top down, one size fits all Hartford approach is something I will always fight against. You make housing more affordable by allowing people to keep more of their hard earned money. Lower their taxes and cost of living so they can afford housing. Building more and more "affordable housing," only puts additional strains on our stressed towns and cities infrastructures. Local control of zoning and permitting will always be more efficient when done at the local level vs. mandates from the state.
What can be done to prevent excessive consolidation of the healthcare industry and the loss of services – or, in some cases, the loss of small hospitals themselves – in the state's rural areas?