State Representative District 36

Christine Palm

77 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: http:///

Age: 66

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Chester

Current Job: Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC Trainer

Previous Job: Policy Analyst, Commission on Women, Children and Seniors

Previous Job: Communications Director, Permanent Commission on the Status of Women

Education: B.A. Goddard College, College of the Atlantic

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?
I’d start by overhauling the Teachers Retirement Board, which railroaded many retired teachers into a United Health medication plan they did not want. I believe this agency should operate under the purview of the State Comptroller, who has bargaining power. I support our AG’s efforts to hold Big Pharma accountable for their egregious greed. I support working with healthcare providers on more palliative, preventative and alternative pain management, which is often more cost-effective.
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?
We need to overhaul our regressive tax policy. I am in favor of raising the top marginal tax rate on passive income streams over $500,000 so that the Uber-wealthy start paying a rate that is commensurate with what poor and working families pay. I voted to eliminate taxes on such retirement income sources as social security, annuities and pensions for middle-income retirees. We also have begun phasing out taxes on 401k retirement income, and we need to find similar cost savings.
How do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
The state should invest in small "cluster" housing where older folks help take care of one another. Long-term care plans cannot keep raising premiums.
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 to help older adults access other forms of transportation?
People need to understand that OPEC controls gas prices, not states or the Feds. In any case, the answer is more public transportation. I also support bringing back tolls, which could help pay for this. In my district, the 9-Town Transit does a great job helping elders get around, and they need to be expanded.
What are the two most urgent problems facing Connecticut within the context of climate change and the environment, and what will you propose to solve them?
I was very proud that my signature bill — requiring the teaching of climate change in all public schools — was enacted this year. In addition, our solid waste management crisis must be addressed, we need to make electric vehicles more affordable, more public transit and light rail, and we need to make sure that the DEEP permitting process does not continue to burden underserved communities.
How can Connecticut's education systems create better outcomes for students in low-income communities?
I support more regionalization. A county-based system makes more sense that 169 Balkanized towns. “Back office” expense, like supplied, maintenance, etc., should be combined, while retaining the feel of each school through its teachers.
Pedestrian deaths spiked a few years ago and remain high, and it's fairly clear that driver behavior, such as distracted driving, is only getting worse despite significant efforts by law enforcement to stop it. How can Connecticut's streets be made safe for pedestrians and bicyclists?
Infrastructure repair must make a priority of pedestrian and bike routes. I support the recommendations of the Center for Latino Progress, to name one group. While I would be in favor of raising penalties for distracted driving, walking, etc., without enforcement it’s a shallow gesture.
How should the state and its school districts deal with COVID-19 going forward?
Teachers must be paid what they’re worth and I’d love to see us eventually make them eligible for Social Security. Our school buildings need HVAC emergency overhaul. And we need to make better use of our state’s gorgeous outdoor spaces. Remote learning may be here to stay -- at least in part -- and if so one teacher cannot possibly bear the load. Fastback certification for paraprofessionals who want to become fully accredited teachers and let them help with hybrid teaching. And we need to force masking in everyone who can wear one should the infection rate spike again.
What should be done on the state level to further address Connecticut's lack of affordable housing? Do you support, for example, mandating or incentivizing towns and cities to alter their zoning codes to be friendlier to affordable housing?
It starts with educating town officials that affordable housing is GOOD for their towns. Too many see it as a threat to “town character” which is a dog-whistle for keeping small towns white.
What can be done to prevent excessive consolidation of the healthcare industry and the loss of services – or, in some cases, the loss of small hospitals themselves – in the state's rural areas?
This is part of the much broader question of the abject failure of our healthcare system in general. The privatization of hospitals -- especially those owned by the Catholic Church industry -- cannot serve the public's interest. Maternity wards are a prime example.
Do you think the state's two major electric utilities (Eversource and United Illuminating) are sufficiently regulated? If not, what measures would you take to ensure that consumers are protected to the greatest extent possible against prolonged loss of services and unfair rate increases?
Not even close to being well enough regulated. As a company that holds the public safety in its hands, excessive executive compensation is sinful. Cap it. And make the company pay for hardening the grid, and allow the homeowner with alternate energy sources like solar panels have the option of donating that energy to someone else, rather than allowing the company to re-sell it.
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
I would love to see us break the logjam of the two-party system. Unaffiliated voters have no skin in the game unless they find a way to form a new party and run a candidate. Ranked Choice voting would probably help solve this "winner-take-all" system and the U's might get behind that.

Christopher Turkington

0 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status: participating



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Current Residence: Higganum

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