State Representative District 142

Fred Wilms

0 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status: participating

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Current Residence: Norwalk

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Lucy Dathan

3 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: www.lucy2020.com

Age: 49

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: New Canaan

Current Job: State Representative

Previous Job: CFO

Previous Job: Finance Manager

Education: BSC - Santa Clara University

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.)
I think the best way to ensure that CT’s economy recovers from this recession is by making sure we control COVID-19. I was extremely concerned about the budget crisis in CT prior to COVID-19. I am relieved we did not touch the rainy day fund and had the ability to utilize it during this crisis. I will also not accept a further rise in taxes on the middle class in CT, who already pay far too much in taxes. I believe in continuing to streamline state services and reduce costs and we can make it easier for local business to work with the state. We can save millions of dollars a year by enacting some of my proposed policies. For example, we currently spend millions of dollars jailing people because they cannot afford bonds, bonds that are often only a couple hundred dollars. My opponent voted against cash bail reform, and evidently believes that the state should be spending millions of dollars to prop up bail bond companies.
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
My priority is our physical and fiscal well-being. We must be guided by public health experts. It is vital we reinvest in Connecticut to encourage businesses to remain in the state and purchase their equipment and materials here. This hinges on our ability to update our transportation system, which is the single most important factor in alleviating poverty and wealth inequality, and also benefits our environment while reducing congestion on our roads. Also, improving job training opportunities by investing in vocational and technical trade schools to prepare workers for the 21st century jobs employers are looking for when they consider where to headquarter their businesses, while guaranteeing community colleges across the state are debt free. Finally, reinstating the Angel Investor Tax Credit to foster new business opportunities. This is the time to be encouraging investment into our biotech sector, as medical technology companies race to invent COVID-19 vaccines. One method of financing a business-friendly environment is to provide sales tax reimbursements for investments up to $500,000.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
To support racial justice, we must ensure legislation is inclusionary and promotes equity. I was proud to work on important legislation to this end over the summer session, and believe that my Vice Chair position on Insurance and Real Estate and my seat on the Appropriations Committee uniquely positions me to address long term healthcare needs, including accessibility, while isolating how to make healthcare affordable. I have codified pre-existing conditions, paid family medical leave, and mental health parity into law; capped the cost of insulin and diabetes supplies; and expanded telehealth. I have been a strong supporter of a Connecticut public option, and I am optimistic that in our 2021 session we will be able to offer a truly affordable insurance option, which has only proven more crucial during the pandemic particularly for the BIPOC community.
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?
When the state first shut down per the recommendation of public health officials, I worked with relevant agencies to secure resources, fix issues with unemployment applications, and help businesses apply for aid. We expanded tele-medicine, brought additional testing sites to our community, opened a C19 recovery center, expanded affordable childcare options for front-line workers and delayed due dates for taxes. I worked directly with the Board of Realtors, the Governor and the DECD to ensure the functioning of real estate transactions. We have an opportunity to build a stronger state while guided by public health experts.
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?
I plan to work towards making tuition at community colleges across the state debt free and enacted free tuition for affordable community colleges so that anyone who wants to attain a college degree does not need to be drowned in debt for years to come. Funding for Higher education helps stabilize tuition and improve the long term viability of our college and University systems. I also have supported trade schools and the innovation pipeline to support the growing advanced manufacturing space. I’ve worked hard to maintain and expand Norwalk’s remarkable programming, like our partnership with IBM through P-Tech. I delivered $189 million for the new Norwalk High School while isolating $10.8 million for Jefferson Elementary School. This ensures the program can remain in Norwalk, so that students have the option to graduate high school with an associates degree.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
Every decision we make has to be informed by public health officials and the science. The science has proven that our BIPOC community and in particular African Americans are in the highest risk category and it is vital we protect them by practicing all public health guidelines. As Vice Chair position on Insurance and Real Estate, and with my seat on the Appropriations Committee, I think I am uniquely positioned to address long term healthcare needs, including accessibility, while isolating how to make healthcare affordable. I have codified pre-existing conditions, paid family medical leave, and mental health parity into law; capped the cost of insulin and diabetes supplies; and expanded telehealth. I have been a strong supporter of a Connecticut public option, and I am optimistic that in our 2021 session we will be able to offer a truly affordable insurance option, which has only proven more crucial during the pandemic particularly for the BIPOC community.
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 pandemic has revealed the glaring inequities that exist across our communities and illustrates the fact we are only as healthy a state and only as prepared for a pandemic as our least insured resident. It is not just morally imperative to protect our most vulnerable, but a fiscally sound decision. Pre-pandemic, before constituents lost jobs,11% of our district was uninsured. Because health insurance is tied to jobs, this number is without a doubt larger seven months later. Ensuring everyone has a basic quality of life from paid family medical leave to a living wage, and codifying affordable healthcare as a right, ensures that every citizen has the opportunity to thrive. Having the opportunity to access preventative care addresses the chronic illnesses that put individuals most at risk for COVID-19 and staves off worse healthcare outcomes, while also preventing more expensive medical emergencies that are a massive burden to families. After all, medical debt is responsible for 2/3rds of bankruptcies in this country. We must also address the environmental racism that puts communities most at risk for diseases like asthma, which increases a person’s risk for COVID-19. Access to affordable, quality care such as a public option with other quality of life measures bolsters our economy with a healthier, happier workforce while helping to alleviate the burden of the ravages of illnesses like the coronavirus.
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?
I have been working to pass a Public Option that sits alongside of your plan. Unlike medicare for all, this optional program leverages the purchasing power of the existing large scale health plans, with insurance coverage paid by the insured -- not by the CT taxpayer. Aside from the immorality of stripping Americans of their healthcare during a pandemic, it is a financially irresponsible move to increase the number of uninsured in our state and this fact directly contradicts the motives of conservative votes reportedly based on cost savings. Less healthy residents lacking regular preventative care is ultimately more expensive for Connecticut’s medical system, which says nothing of the burden of a population too unwell to work. I always trust the evidence, and the evidence only conveys that it is overall more expensive to reduce healthcare access, especially during a pandemic that causes short and long-term disability. We must learn the hard lessons the pandemic has taught us and fight for a public option in Connecticut. It is essential to driving down healthcare costs and it would also add competition and freedom to the healthcare market. A public option would enable thousands of residents to have affordable access to healthcare. As Comptroller Kevin Lembo told us, “If there’s ever been a question about why we need coverage and why we need everyone covered, it would be now.”