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Saud Anwar

Running for State Senator

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Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website:

Age: 49

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: South Windsor

Current Job: Physician

Previous Job: Physician

Previous Job:

Education: Specialization in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine - Yale University; Specialization in Occupational and Environmental Medicine - Yale University; Master's in Public Health - Yale University; Specialization in Internal Medicine - University of Illinois

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?
Connecticut's education funding system does need review, but any changes should ensure that cities and towns with strong, well-run school systems are not penalized.
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?
We need pension funding reform to decrease the need for a balloon payment in 2020 and stabilize and limit the costs towards paying the pension liabilities. Reform would include reducing the rate of return from 8 to 7 percent; amortizing to a flat rate dollar amount; extending the amortization period. This would stabilize the annual required contributions (ARC) and open up the state budget for other investments.
Does Connecticut have a revenue problem or a spending problem?
I think Connecticut has both. Connecticut's revenue is more volatile than other states because of our geographic proximity to Wall Street. When revenue goes up, spending goes up. When revenue goes down, spending goes down. This makes it difficult not just for the state to do budgeting, but also municipalities, non-profits, and constituents as they're dependent upon the state for funding and programs. I think Comptroller Lembo's Budget Reserve Fund Stabilization proposal that passed in 2015 will help stop this vicious cycle by bolstering our Budget Reserve Fund during the economic boons to help during the economic downturns. That doesn't go into effect until 2019, and I would like to see the state do more to build the Budget Reserve Fund, which will help with future budgeting and well as Connecticut's standing with rating agencies.
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?
I am a strong supporter of paid family leave. Period. Paid Family Leave, done the right way, has been shown to actually help businesses thrive. I look forward to working on this issue when elected.
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?
We need to do a lot to not just make community college affordable, but to make college in general affordable through loan forgiveness programs and creating jobs and economic opportunity that will keep our young people in Connecticut. We need to look at creating affordable housing for our young people, creating quality of life opportunities that make our state a great place to live after graduation, and continue to stay the course in developing more public transportation.
What would you do as a state legislator to address the opioid epidemic in our state?
At least once a month, I see a patient die from opioid abuse, so the crisis we are seeing is very personal for me. This is an epidemic, and it is mostly hitting our young people. We need more education about opioid abuse, wider availability of Narcan to prevent deaths from overdose, and better access to treatment. Healthcare providers also need increased training in pain management. We also need to find ways to block the availability of heroin.
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?
Yes, I support this. Offering access to retirement saving opportunities is important not only for their future stability, but also for Connecticut’s. The more opportunities we give for people to secure their financial future, the more it helps secure the state's financial future by avoiding a drain on state resources.
Who are you supporting for president and why?
Hillary Clinton, because she is the most experienced and prepared candidate for the White House in history.