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Rick Lopes

Running for State Senator

3 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 49

Marital Status: married

Current Residence: New Britain

Current Job: property manager

Previous Job: social worker

Previous Job: legislative aide

Education: MSW

What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
The state and federal government need to step in to help businesses most hurt by the pandemic. Some parts of the economy were not hurt and some were devastated by the pandemic. Aid needs to be directed to those most affected.
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?
We are already seeing an increase in infection as we head into colder months. An emphasis needs to be made to step up mask use and social distancing so that we do not have another large spike in infections. We must hold the infection rate down until a vaccine is available.
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?
Distance learning will become more commonplace. Higher education will have to evolve a model that either relies on distance learning or school in a bubble until the pandemic recedes.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
The police accountability was a good first step. People of color must be able to trust government and law enforcement. There must also be an emphasis on education. People in general need to be taught what institutional racism is and how it hurts the entire country.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
There needs to be direct outreach into communities of color for healthcare and testing. Infections and mortality are statistically higher in those communities for a group of reasons. Targeted outreach has seemed to work in other states to balance the disproportionate numbers of cases.
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.)
The state will need federal stimulus to quickly balance our budget and assist people and businesses affected the most by the pandemic. Besides federal help, the surplus will be used and taxes on the states highest earners, who were not devastated by the pandemic economy, could be additional help.
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?
The state definitely needs to look to improve nursing home safety and staffing. The horrible failure in these facilities caused a lot of deaths and will again unless they are improved.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
A universal policy where all people have some access to healthcare, especially preventive healthcare will eventually lower costs by reducing the situations where people only seek medical care when they are extremely sick and access healthcare through the emergency room instead of regular visits with providers to spot problems earlier when they are easier and less expensive to treat.