State Representative District 20

Sherry Haller

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Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

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Current Residence: West Hartford

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Kate Farrar

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Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: kateforct.com

Age: 40

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: West Hartford

Current Job:

Previous Job: Executive Director, Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund

Previous Job: Vice President of Campus Leadership Programs, American Association of University Women

Education: BA Political Science, University of Connecticut and MPA Syracuse 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.)
What can be done to improve the business climate in Connecticut while COVID-19 continues to be a risk?
Our economy in CT is dependent on our public health. We need to listen to science as we address the economic needs of businesses, families, and seniors. As we continue to take step-by-step decisions to re-open our state, I will advocate to build a fair economy for our future. With a lack of national COVID-19 strategy, CT needs to maintain support for small businesses to weather lower revenues, protect public services and frontline workers, invest in proven high school-to-career pipeline and retraining programs, and support affordable health care and childcare (both of which make it possible for businesses to be healthy and strong.) Now that more workers and businesses are seeking more physical space and work-from-home opportunities, CT is well-poised to attract new residents and recruit/grow new businesses.
What specific legislation would you support to reduce racism in Connecticut?
To undo systemic racism in our communities, there must be a comprehensive approach to policy making in criminal justice, education, housing, healthcare and our economy. Equity and fairness are my core values and will drive my actions as a State Representative. I support legislation to reform the bail system, ensure public schools receive equitable funding and reduce reliance on property taxes, invest in minority teacher recruitment, reform land use policies, and address healthcare disparities with expanded Medicaid access and investment in community health workers.
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?
Our elections and legislative business must be transparent and open to all citizens of CT During COVID-19, several State Legislature committees demonstrated the ability to host virtual hearings with the public able to testify from home. Starting in January, the legislature should build upon these practices regardless of resuming in-person business. The public hearings and informational forums should have online signup, ASL interpretation, options for participation via teleconference, and more advance notice to the public for participation. For our elections, I will advocate for permanent mail-in voting options and early voting. These steps can expand greater access for all voters to our democratic process.
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?
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?
As State Representative, I will champion expanding healthcare access and ending long-standing health inequities. To lower healthcare costs and expand access, CT can pursue a public option for small businesses and non-profits to opt in to the current state-operated health care plan, curb unfair drug pricing, and expand Medicaid (including to undocumented residents in the state.) It is also essential to protect CT residents -- especially people with pre-existing conditions -- from Republican efforts to roll back protections from denial of coverage and higher premiums. CT can also improve access to care by implementing telehealth as a long-term care option and investing in community health care workers to eliminate healthcare disparities.