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Beth Bye

Running for State Senator

3 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website:

Age: 56

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: West Hartford

Current Job: State Senator

Previous Job: State representative

Previous Job: Early childhood program administrator

Education: MA

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Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
Yes. With limits. I have been opposed in the past. But now believe it is time for a regulated industry vs. the illegal one in place now.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
Our budget will tell us our priorities. I believe government has basic responsibilities that include caring for people who cannot care for themselves for a multiple of reasons. This is expensive. It’s also why the state budget is very different than household budgets or town budgets. I think we need to look at the tax credit system that gives away hundreds of millions of dollars each budget, in addition to looking at cuts. This has been a missed opportunity for savings.
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?
It is moving way too slow, I believe on purpose. This option will be even more critical as pension benefits are reduced.
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?
I believe we have taken many steps to make affordable housing more available. This is one answer. I also believe we need to get the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Additionally, health care costs are bankrupting some residents and impoverishing others. We need an affordable public option for health care.
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. Somehow we have to look at how we send funds to the towns to find ways to insist on more cooperation. Property taxes at the most regressive and most prominent for many in CT.
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?
I have supported Paid Family Leave legislation for the last 4 years and submitted for the funding to pay for a study of it. We have to do this for the health of our families and the economic viability of our families.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
We need to find industries that have growth potential like bioscience, IT and manufacturing. Then we need to find connections among CT companies to fuel their growth. We can also work on speeding the regulations processes.
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Yes.
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?
Yes.
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 must gain control over one of our most precious resources. We need legislation that addresses this.
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?
I believe we need to find ways to insist on 10% affordable housing in each town and city. We have made strides. But we can do better.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
We must revamp the formula in a way that is fair, based on the needs of students being served in communities. Many communities get more than 100% of the funding the formula requires. This has to stop and we need to direct resources from these savings to communities with higher needs.
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?
All.