State Representative District 136

Jonathan Steinberg

2 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status:


Age: 66

Marital Status: married to Nancy, with three daughters: Rachel, Margot and Charlotte

Current Residence: Westport

Current Job: legislator

Previous Job: SVP Marketing/Communications, Jewish Home Lifecare, NYC

Previous Job: Executive Director, Marketing/Communications, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC

Education: B.A. Yale University, M.B.A. NYU Stern School of Business, CT Teaching Certificate, ARC Program, Dept. of Education

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've supported efforts to source drugs from Canada and elsewhere to seek lower costs as the federal government struggles to do what is necessary. We've capped prices on insulin and there may be a few other instances where we can do some similar for critical, oft-used drugs. We also need to do more to limit the additional cost represented by pharmacy manager middlemen.
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?
The recent arrival of a bear market highlights the vulnerability of those dependent on equities to fund their retirements. Last session, we made initial efforts to limit tax liability for those on fixed incomes. I'm open to exploring additional steps.
How do you plan to address the growing long-term care workforce crisis in the state?
I've been talking about this crisis for over a decade. It starts with adequate compensation for these employees who can make better money flipping burgers than taking care of our most vulnerable. It also involves adequate housing and transportation so that employees have reasonable/affordable commutes to their jobs. Lastly, we need to consider fundamental reform of our long-term care facilities, including a review of the condition of these facilities, many of which were shown to be inadequate during the pandemic's earliest days.
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?
I've long been a proponent of public mass transportation as a public good requiring subsidies. Mass transit has been hurting because of reduced ridership during the pandemic and is struggling to recover. I favor significant investment in mass transit, while recognizing the urgent need to upgrade roads, rails and bridges as well.
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?
1) Reliance on fossil fuels: while we'll likely need fossil fuels in the short-term, we need to enable the transition to renewable energy by promoting these sources, upgrading the electric grid to handle two-way flow, and building more storage to mitigate intermittency. 2) The waste management conundrum: we can't ship it out of state anymore, so we're faced by burning it or burying it -- both bad options! I have been emphasizing separating organics to be sent to aerobic digestors on farms and a broader solution to replace the failed single-stream waste paradigm. We can do a better job of separating out metals, glass and certain plastics which can be recycled.
How can Connecticut's education systems create better outcomes for students in low-income communities?
First, we need to recognize the devastation caused by the pandemic on our children. Many lost a year or more of education -- and socialization. Resources should be devoted to remediating lost opportunities to put students back on track. It's not just a matter of how much we spend per student. Only individualized learning methodologies will allow every child to reach their potential.
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?
There have been a number of good "safe streets" initiatives coming out of the Transportation Committee, on which I've served for twelve years. Traffic calming measures are helpful, but pedestrians and bicyclists also need to be aware of the rules of the road, and remain aware and vigilant for their own protection. Many communities don't have roads wide enough for separate bike lanes and struggle to fund more sidewalks. The state can be helpful in pursuing those ends with additional funding.
How should the state and its school districts deal with COVID-19 going forward?
I anticipate some surge during the winter, but expect most school districts to remain open and focused on in-person learning. Getting everyone vaccinated with the new omicron-focused booster is critical. It make be the best way to avoid any mandates. The Governor has been exemplary in dealing with the pandemic and expect he and his staff will continue to apply sound decision-making going forward.
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?
Housing diversity is something we all should support for the vitality of our communities. Unfortunately, this discussion has devolved into unfair accusations of segregation and racism, which is not helpful. The now antiquated 8-30g statute has had draconian impacts on many suburban communities and should be replaced with a new methodology which sets reasonable goals for each community. Incentives are better than punitive policies, but it starts with each municipality adopting inclusionary zoning plans, now required by state law. I'm hopeful we can develop a better system which will accelerate the growth in affordable units to meet the burgeoning need.
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?
As Chair of the Public Health Committee, this is an issue I've considered for some time. The State needs to be careful about interfering in the healthcare marketplace, but we have an obligation to assure healthcare access, quality and reasonable costs -- all at risk if consolidation goes too far. Small hospitals are often critical resources in the communities they serve, but struggle to perform enough tertiary care to maintain quality standards. In the past, I've focused on dialogue with all the players, but I recognize that voluntary measures many no longer be sufficient. What precisely the State's role ought to be is not yet clear, but will be a subject for debate this session.
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?
CT is burdened with a vestigial regulatory framework which freed utilities from generation responsibilities but inadequately incentivizes smart investments and improved performance, with no relief for ratepayers. We made some headway in revising the incentive/penalty structure during the special legislative session, but the underlying issues remain. Unfortunately, we now face the urgent need for electric grid infrastructure investment so we can compete and enable the grid of the future -- with an emphasis on greater grid resiliency and reliability. These costs will be borne primarily by ratepayers in the near-term, although such investments should mitigate rate increases down the road.
What is your position on whether Connecticut should open its election primaries to unaffiliated voters?
I'm curious about both party-free primaries and ranked-choice voting. Holding primaries in August when no one's around or focused on the election assures that the more extreme candidates from both parties have an advantage. Representative government depends on voter participation and I'm a big supporter of our efforts to update our constitution to facilitate voter access. As a Moderate, I'm eager to explore means to elect consensus candidates not beholden to partisan extremes.

Thomas Lasersohn

0 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status: nonparticipating



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Current Residence: Westport

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