State Representative District 107

Stephen Harding

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Party: Republican

CEP Status: participating

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Current Residence: Brookfield

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Daniel Pearson

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Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: www.pearsonforct.com

Age: 26

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Current Residence: Brookfield

Current Job: Norwalk Grassroots Tennis & Education

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Education: MPA from American University and BA in Political Science from the University of Central Florida

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Would you vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
Yes, I would vote for a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana because we would prevent many people from entering our criminal justice system by decriminalizing marijuana which will not only better their lives, but also save the state money each year. Also, we would add a significant revenue source for our state.
How should the state balance the needs of vulnerable populations with the reality of another large budget deficit?
By making smart investments in our future, we will help alleviate the burden on our budget deficit while improving the lives of our most vulnerable populations. Investments in job training programs and trade schools, education, affordable housing, healthcare, infrastructure, and the environment are key to a more prosperous future for all. Also, we need to partner with non-profits that are already working with vulnerable populations and producing the desired outcomes.
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?
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?
It is not enough that we have low unemployment if those working cannot afford to survive. We must demand that workers are paid a fair wage and increase the minimum wage. We must lower the costs of healthcare and higher education and invest in job training programs, trade schools, affordable housing, environment, infrastructure, and education. These investments will better the lives of all Connecticut residents and improve our economic situation.
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?
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?
Yes, I would support a family leave law that provides paid leave to employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes. It is important that we as a society take care of our vulnerable populations: disabled, elderly, children, impoverished, etc.
Where and how should state government focus its efforts in order to grow jobs?
Would you support legislation to "ban the box," prohibiting employers from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Yes, I support the "ban the box" initiative that prohibits employers from asking about criminal convictions on job applications. By not asking about criminal convictions, those seeking employment have a better chance of being selected for an interview where they have a better opportunity to market their skills and gain employment. Employers can still obtain background checks after the interview, but at least the person seeking employment is given an opportunity to share their background in person to give them the best opportunity to gain employment.
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?
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?
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?
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
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?
Addiction to prescription drugs is a public health crisis and needs to be addressed in that way. Adding more police officers and increasing prison sentences will not stop this opioid crisis. We need to improve treatment for addiction and invest more in mental health services. We also need to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in marketing these drugs to our communities without fully identifying their addictive qualities and side effects.