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?
I want to lower taxes on our working families and our retirees - by investing in our communities we can make sure those who are most in need are able to keep more of their hard-earned money. I will defend our state's exemption of Social Security from income taxes, and I will work to raise the state's limits on exemptions for seniors' property taxes, so communities like Manchester and Glastonbury can continue providing relief to our retirees.
How do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
We need to improve pay, benefits, and working conditions for our long-term care workforce to entice new talent into the field and to retain the amazing people working with us.
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?
Expanding funding for programs like LOCHSTP that help our older adults on fixed incomes is critical, and I am supportive of all efforts to create programs that help older adults access other forms of transportation. I also support increasing service routes for CTtransit local buses and CTfastrak, to help make a car-free lifestyle more attainable for those who choose it.
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?
The two most urgent problems facing Connecticut are making sure all of our agencies are following the guidelines set by the Climate Action Timeline for Connecticut and our lack of infrastructure to enact these changes. I will make sure we are following through on our commitments to addressing climate change, including building new infrastructure, net-zero construction for public buildings, more electric vehicle charging stations across the state, and direct-to-consumer sales for EVs.
How can Connecticut's education systems create better outcomes for students in low-income communities?
By making sure the ECS formula, which is the system that allocates funding for school districts, is using the most up-to-date information, we can make sure we are creating the best possible outcomes for students in low-income communities by fully and properly funding their school systems.
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?
Enforcement of the laws we have on the books is clearly needed, but we also need to examine traffic mitigation options. I look forward to working with those experts to address the crisis of bad driver behavior.
How should the state and its school districts deal with COVID-19 going forward?
The state and school districts should work with the CDC in monitoring COVID, as they have done throughout the pandemic. While I'm thrilled with the progress we have made with our low infection rates and I do not want to see any more loss of education, we must make sure our students are safe. I was proud to help my community by distributing PPE and organizing vaccination clinics at our local community center, but we need to do more as a state to ensure that everyone is protected from COVID.
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?
I believe public-private partnerships are key in further addressing Connecticut's lack of affordable housing. I support our state's recent reforms to allow accessory dwelling units, and will defend those critical reforms as a senator.
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?
The pandemic showed us all how critical our healthcare system is, and that we all rely on it functioning well. We cannot allow loss of services or even entire hospitals to happen, especially in rural areas where even the closest alternative care may be too far. We should incentivize our students going into the medical field to remain in Connecticut, and work to attract practitioners from all over to our state. While I am wary of excessive consolidation, I am very enthusiastic about the Yale New Haven Hospital purchase of Manchester Memorial and ECHN.
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?
I want to defend the statewide cap on insulin spending passed by democrats recently. Additionally, passing a Medicare for all system will reduce the cost of out of pocket drug costs and reduce the impact of the cost of prescription drugs on taxpayers and insurance premiums - I'm committed to working to pass a statewide system that works with our neighboring states of New York and Massachusetts to provide every one of our residents coverage.
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?
Especially after the failures we saw during Tropical Storm Isaias, I believe both Eversource and United Illuminating need additional regulations. While the increased efforts at oversight and local control like we have seen with the settlement between Eversource and the state of Connecticut are promising, I think further steps are needed to protect consumers.
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
I support keeping the election primaries closed to unaffiliated voters. Members of the parties should be the only ones voting for and nominating their respective candidates, and unaffiliated voters will have the opportunity to support the candidate of their choosing in general elections.
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