State Representative District 91

Michael D'Agostino

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Party: Democrat

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Website: www.mikedagostino.com

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Current Residence: Hamden

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Weruche George

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Party: Unaffiliated

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Website: werucheforct.com

Age: 43

Marital Status: Single

Current Residence: Hamden

Current Job: Executive Director- Weruche Inspires, Inc.

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Education: BA- Communications & Studies in the Law- Quinnipiac University, MS Journalism- Quinnipiac University, MA Human Rights Studies- Columbia University in the City of New York

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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.)
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
I believe funding local businesses through more forgivable loans will help improve the business climate and also get our economy back on track, post the Coronavirus Pandemic. The PPP and EIDL disaster financing programs did great with helping business owners navigate the impact of Covid-19, however more help is needed as many, many small businesses are going under. It goes without saying our local economy, one way or another depends on services and revenue from these businesses, therefore more collaborative efforts between Federal and State governments to help businesses will go a long way. In addition, ensuring owners and staff abide by the CDC’s guidance for reopening will allow businesses to operate safely, and overtime hopefully return to near normal. In addition, ensuring owners and staff abide by the CDC’s guidance for reopening will allow businesses to operate safely, and overtime hopefully return to near normal.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
The police accountability bill that was passed a few months ago in CT is a good one that I support. Based on the high rate of killing of people of color by the Police across the country, I’d like to believe that the legislation addresses ways to mitigate the impact of racism and use of excessive force, by establishing consequences for police officers who continue to practice brutality against minorities.
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?
Considering the lack of a vaccine to combat the Coronavirus pandemic just yet, I believe in our current reality, abiding by CDC’s social distancing guidelines will go a long way to preventing the spread of the virus. And this includes ensuring our legislators meet safely when necessary and virtually sometimes until further notice. Regarding the elections, I believe the absentee ballot process being made available to registered voters in the general election is great and should be accessible in a way that allows older, more vulnerable adults with limited mobility cast their votes safely. This means ensuring more areas have access to ballot boxes installed, in a location where voters choose not to cast their ballot via USPS.
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 believe online/remote learning could serve more students and help reduce the cost of college attendance and so this would be a strong consideration that equally helps prevent the spread of the virus and affords students a great education. Of course, schools must guarantee reduced tuition based on this option. Secondly, I also believe that considering the current economic burden the pandemic has imposed on families, tuition forgiveness should be considered for CT students. By collaborating with the Federal government, State governments can work out a plan to offers tuition forgiveness based on a sliding scale in order not to overburden low income families and also allow students the opportunity of an education. Furthermore, more courses that translate to college credits should be offered within the high school curriculum. This will allow students graduate with associate degrees and will cut down overall time spent in college, and save them money.
What is one specific policy you support to help protect African Americans as an at-risk group during the pandemic?
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?
How can Connecticut lower healthcare costs while also improving quality and access to care?