State Representative District 143

Gail Lavielle

0 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status: participating



Marital Status:

Current Residence: Wilton

Current Job:

Previous Job:

Previous Job:


Stephanie Thomas

1 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating


Age: 53

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Norwalk

Current Job: Small business owner - fundraising consultant for nonprofits and Connecticut state representative, 143rd District (Norwalk, Wilton, Westport)

Previous Job: President, Susan Ulin Associates

Previous Job: Grant writer for nonprofits

Education: BA from NYU; MS in Nonprofit Management from New School University


Under the purview of your office, what action(s) will you take to reduce out-of-pocket drug costs and reduce the impact of the cost of prescription drugs on taxpayers and insurance premiums?
In these inflationary times, what will you do to help ensure that Connecticut’s middle-income retirees on fixed incomes are able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets?
Under the purview of your office, how do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
Gas prices are higher than ever, which is difficult for older adults on fixed incomes. Yet, alternatives to cars in Connecticut are limited. What will you do, within the purview of your office, to help older adults access other forms of transportation?
What are the most important issues facing Connecticut that your office can address directly, and which of those is your number one priority?
Those who are working to undermine faith in our elections are one of the most important issues facing Connecticut and the country. The Secretary of the State is uniquely positioned to restore faith and fight against misinformation. As Secretary, I will work closely with organizations such as Homeland Security and the National Association of Secretaries of State to ensure that Connecticut is up to date with regard to cybersecurity best practices; ensure that all poll workers, from checkers to registrars, have the training and support they need; will invest resources into civic education and engagement for young people and adults; and will position the website as the place to go for facts to fight misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation.
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
Although I am aware of the concerns regarding “spoiler” voters, I have spoken with voters who decline to declare a party for many reasons such as fear of reprisal in the workplace, to keep the peace at home, or simply because they don’t like to be pigeonholed and will always vote for a candidate, not a party. With unaffiliated voters outnumbering either major party, I believe it is time to have this conversation if the unaffiliated voter is interested.
Tens of thousands of voters used absentee ballots in the recent primary and many voters say they strongly prefer this convenience. In an effort to increase voter participation, do you support continuing the use of any or all of the following: no-excuse absentee ballots, early voting, and/or making Election Day a holiday?
I support all of the above and as Vice Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, was pleased to co-sponsor and play a role in moving these initiatives through the chamber. With the early voting amendment on the ballot this November and no-excuse absentee voting expected to appear on the 2024 ballot, an Election Day holiday would be less of a priority to ensure ballot convenience.
What other steps can be taken to increase voter participation?
As Secretary of the State, I plan to set a culture from the top down to foster a greater understanding of how to engage with the government. Although our civic responsibility is often explained as casting a ballot on Election Day, democracy only works when we are engaged the other 364 days of the year. By building a culture of civic understanding, I hope to increase voter participation. I also will work to hasten the timeline for the adoption of automatic voter registration which was passed in the legislature in 2021.
Is the state's current method of reporting election results on the Secretary of the State's website adequate to the task in today's technological environment? If not, what would you propose?
When people visit the Secretary of the State website, they expect the information to be timely and accurate. This cannot always be achieved quickly on election night for various reasons such as a faulty machine or a close race necessitating a hand count. I believe that the Election Center portal with its prominently displayed header of “unofficial results” is suitable for posting an immediate tally to keep up with what residents can find on television or in a campaign office, with the understanding that official results will come later.
What can your office do to encourage more people to become entrepreneurs, and is that preferable to the ongoing shortage of workers in many industries?
As a small business owner myself, I believe it is important to build a skilled workforce AND encourage entrepreneurship. As Secretary, I will work to ensure business owners have the tools and resources to thrive. There are many grants, programs, and training that are made available, but it can be difficult to find and access the information. I will also convene industry-related meetings to help build connections for the betterment of all.