Attorney General District

William Tong

15 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: www.williamtong.com

Age: 45

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Stamford

Current Job: Lawyer and State Representative

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Education: Brown University B.A., University of Chicago J.D.

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Twitter: @williamtongct

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If elected, what are your top priorities in terms of what you will try to accomplish in your first term as Attorney General?
My first job is to protect Connecticut families. We are under tremendous pressure, and we’re all getting squeezed by big companies and powerful forces that make it very difficult to raise a family, run a business, and retire comfortably here. Donald Trump makes it so much worse by attacking women, immigrants, and even Connecticut taxpayers. I will be the firewall that protects and defends all of us and our way of life. I will immediately strengthen and assign additional resources to consumer protection. We will focus on protecting consumers from excessive health care and prescription drug costs, abusive and predatory lending practices, and telephone and internet scams. I will expand our state’s focus on consumer protection lawsuits on a larger scale, from the generic drug price fixing suit to the opioid investigation, the net neutrality suit, and investigations and suits related to major data and privacy breaches. All of this is to create a fairer, more just economy for Connecticut families I also will work with the legislature to create a Civil Rights Division in the Attorney General’s office to fight for Connecticut residents when their constitutional rights and fundamental liberties are threatened.
The state has recently engaged with some other Attorneys General in litigation against the federal government. Are there any legal battles underway that you plan to drop? Is there any new litigation you are considering based on federal mandates?
I will not hesitate for a second to stand up to the President of the United States and the federal government when Connecticut families and residents are threatened. Like AG George Jepsen, I will file suit and join other Attorneys General across the country in cases such as the lawsuit against the discriminatory Trump tax law that attacks Connecticut families with one of the largest tax increases in state history by eliminating $10.3 billion in deductions for state and local taxes; the lawsuit against the EPA for failing to enforce emissions standards in other states that blow air pollution “downwind” into Connecticut; and the case against 18 Republican Attorneys General who are trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in Texas federal court. I will continue the approximately 40 actions AG George Jepsen has initiated against Donald Trump and the federal government. I would also join the Attorney General of Rhode Island to sue the large fossil fuel companies in a Tobacco-like suit seeking damages for the catastrophic effects of climate change in light of hard evidence that Big Oil knew about climate change and rising sea levels and willfully concealed this information and took action to protect their business interests over the protecting the public. Additionally, as family separations continue, I will monitor whether the state has standing to either initiate or join actions to stop this immoral practice.
Thousands of homeowners in the north-central region of Connecticut are facing the loss of their homes to the crumbling foundation phenomenon. Do you have any new ideas on how to hold parties responsible for this or to ensure that an equitable share of the costs of replacing foundations is covered by insurers?
The Attorney General must take the lead in investigating the crumbling foundations crisis, the failure of insurance companies to provide coverage, and implementing a long-term plan to help homeowners protect what is likely their most significant financial asset, their home. This requires specific action on multiple fronts -- through legal action, state and federal legislative action, and state and federal executive branch action -- and not broad generalities and statements of concern. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee this session, I introduced SB 518, which sought additional assistance for families who own these homes. As Attorney General, I will: (1) Immediately call on the new Commissioner of the Department of Insurance to initiate an investigation into the failure of insurance companies to provide coverage, and based on their findings, commence an action for damages under the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA). (2) Review the findings of the investigation based on the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) done in conjunction with the Department of Consumer Protection to ensure that any relief available under CUTPA has been obtained for homeowners. (3) Propose legislation to strengthen existing state laws and legislative responses to the crisis, including increasing insurance policy surcharges and dedicating additional state bonding to fund the “captive insurance” mechanism to fund remediation. (4) Continue to work with the federal delegation to push FEMA to provide emergency funding for remediation and, understanding that FEMA’s ability to provide assistance is limited, work to find new partners within the federal government, including HUD and the Army Corps of Engineers. (5) Re-open negotiation efforts initially led by AG Jepsen with insurance companies. (6) Work with the newly formed captive insurance company to bring in public (state bonding) and private funding and make this program a success for helping homeowners get full replacements of their foundations.
Eversource has been the focus of a lot of consumer outrage following storm events and other outages. What can be done to hold this utility more accountable for its performance?
The Attorney General is the first line of defense of ratepayers, not just with respect to utility rates but also utility responses to outages from storms and other emergencies. In 2012, I co-sponsored Public Act 12-148 which now provides the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) with the power to establish minimum standards for performance, including utility response to storms and outages; conduct regular reviews and investigations of such performance and responses; and to assess penalties, if warranted, for failures to provide adequate performance and response. This law grew out of the recommendations of the Two Storm Panel. (I also previously authored and co-sponsored legislation to protect consumers from unfair gasoline prices and abusive and deceptive practices in the electricity market, including deceptive teaser rates and promotions.) Eversource recently secured a rate increase of more than 3.8% in the first year, which is substantially lower than the 9.8% average increase initially requested by Eversource. In light of these increases, ratepayers and consumers have every right to demand increased performance and accountability. As Attorney General, I will increase resources dedicated to Assistant Attorneys General who represent ratepayers before PURA and vigorously investigate and contest proposed increases in utility rates (i.e., rate cases) to ensure that ratepayers are protected and treated fairly. I will also push the Governor to reconvene the Two Storm Panel to conduct a thorough review of the state’s laws and actions since their 2012 report, and ask the panel to make recommendations to improve or update the state’s laws in the next legislative session.
Eversource and some out-of-state entities appear to be attempting to buy control of Connecticut's water resources, and some of our quasi-public water agencies have signed away large amounts of water to commercial interests with little regard to future water shortages. What can you do to ensure that Connecticut residents maintain control of public water supplies in perpetuity?
The state must implement the State Water Plan, which was enacted by the Governor’s executive order in June 2018, and provides that the state’s water resources are a public trust as set forth in Connecticut General Statutes 22a-15. The state’s water resources are under considerable strain and attack, including, but not limited to, drought-like conditions and extremely low reservoirs in Fairfield County in recent years; privatization and sale of public water resources; and newly proposed mining in public watersheds. As Attorney General, I will fight to preserve our water resources at PURA and, when necessary, in state and federal court. The Trump Administration is trying to repeal the Clean Water Rule, a regulation that is a function of the Clean Water Act, which protects our watershed and access to clean water. I will take every action necessary to protect water as a public trust and our access to clean water for generations to come.
If elected AG, are there any new strategies you will pursue in the fight against opioids?
We cannot overcome the opioid crisis through broad generalities and statements of concern. The state must attack this problem head-on through a multi-pronged state and federal strategy. This includes, but is not limited to: (1) Expand the opioid investigation. Attorney General Jepsen has led the nation in investigating the opioid crisis, with a focus on drug distributors. I would expand the investigation to ensure that we include the entire addiction industry, from the big pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmacy chains, individual prescribers, and treatment centers. We must understand the full scope and chain of financial relationships and incentives to ensure that people and companies are not wrongfully making money by fueling people’s addiction. (2) Expand the state’s ground-breaking and nation-leading generic drug price fixing lawsuit. By engaging in price fixing, the generic drug manufacturers drive the price of drugs up beyond that which people should be able to afford. The high cost of prescription drugs then compromises treatment and deters patients from getting the help they need. Patients may avoid treatment, use opioids as a substitute for effective treatment, or abuse opioids to self-medicate. Attorney General Jepsen leads 47 other states in suing the generic drug manufacturers for price fixing and I will continue to pursue this litigation aggressively. (3) State legislative action to combat access to opioids and the addiction crisis. As a state legislator, I helped to pass legislation to increase penalties for dealing fentanyl; limit opioid prescriptions to seven (7) days; increase the availability of Narcan; and expand access to Medication Assisted Treatment (e.g. Suboxone) under health insurance policies and state programs. (4) Promote alternatives to opioids. The state’s medical marijuana program, widely respected as the best, safest and most well-regulated medical marijuana program in the nation, provides an effective alternative to highly addictive opioids. As Attorney General, I will work closely with the legislature and the Department of Consumer Protection to ensure that we have a highly effective medical marijuana program to help patients in need. (5) Work with the new administration and legislature to cut through statutory red-tape to allow executive agencies and law enforcement to more effectively share data on prescribing and over-dosing. Too many of our agencies silo information due to statutory restrictions, but with thoughtful legal advice from the Attorney General’s Office, statutes can be re-written to maximize the flow of information. This will enhance our ability to understand the scope of the problem, make data driven policy-decisions and ultimately save lives.

Peter Goselin

4 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Green Party

CEP Status:

Website: https://www.goselin4ag.org

Age: 58

Marital Status: married

Current Residence: West Hartford

Current Job: Labor & Employment Attorney

Previous Job:

Previous Job:

Education: B.A., Charter Oak College; Juris Doctor with Honors, UConn School of Law

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If elected, what are your top priorities in terms of what you will try to accomplish in your first term as Attorney General?
My top priority as Attorney General is to shine a light on the problem of racial profiling and police misconduct by local police departments. Just as the federal government did with East Haven several years ago, I would use the power of the AG's office to investigate and bring civil actions against police officers and police departments that participate in a culture of disregard for the civil rights of people of color. Whether it's the determination that a person is "suspicious" because of their race, a traffic stop for a minor violation due to the person's apparent ethnicity, the use of excessive force or mis-use of weapons, conducting high speed chases through residential communities, or a culture of tolerating or fostering racial and ethnic slurs, the state has to hold these officers and local departments accountable for their disregard of the rights of the Connecticut residents that they are sworn to protect and serve.
The state has recently engaged with some other Attorneys General in litigation against the federal government. Are there any legal battles underway that you plan to drop? Is there any new litigation you are considering based on federal mandates?
As Attorney General I would initiate legal action against the federal government to require it to withdraw ICE (Immigration Control and Enforcement) agents from Connecticut's courthouses. Attorneys and advocates have repeatedly complained of Immigration agents patrolling the halls of our courthouses seeking "low hanging fruit" in the form of residents who are present either seeking redress or because they are compelled by Connecticut law. The presence of ICE agents is an interference with the right of Connecticut residents to access our courts, in violation of the Connecticut Constitution.
Thousands of homeowners in the north-central region of Connecticut are facing the loss of their homes to the crumbling foundation phenomenon. Do you have any new ideas on how to hold parties responsible for this or to ensure that an equitable share of the costs of replacing foundations is covered by insurers?
The Connecticut AG's office should initiate its own civil claims against insurance companies for the uncompensated damage being done to Connecticut communities, consider whether there are instances of insurance companies misrepresenting the scope of coverage or otherwise misleading consumers, and establish a fund from the proceeds of any such civil litigation to compensate homeowners most affected by the problem, with a focus on lower-income and fixed-income homeowners.
Eversource has been the focus of a lot of consumer outrage following storm events and other outages. What can be done to hold this utility more accountable for its performance?
The Attorney General's office should assist utility customers in the state to obtain information and present claims against Eversource for any damage, tangible or intangible, caused by power outages, whenever it can be shown that Eversource has failed to adequately maintain its electrical lines.
Eversource and some out-of-state entities appear to be attempting to buy control of Connecticut's water resources, and some of our quasi-public water agencies have signed away large amounts of water to commercial interests with little regard to future water shortages. What can you do to ensure that Connecticut residents maintain control of public water supplies in perpetuity?
Connecticut's water supplies are a resource belonging to the people of the state as a whole; the Attorney General should seek to void any agreements for large scale transfer of water rights to private corporations by municipalities or quasi-public agencies, or to exercise eminent domain to take possession and control of such water resources.
If elected AG, are there any new strategies you will pursue in the fight against opioids?
As AG I will support the legalization of marijuana, the establishment of safe injection zones, and the treatment of drug addiction as a public health matter rather than a criminal matter. The war on drugs is nothing but a war on poor people; therefore I would urge Connecticut to adopt legislation that decriminalizes possession of most controlled drugs in quantities intended for personal use and commutes the sentences of individuals serving time for non-trafficking drug-related offenses.

Susan W. Hatfield

9 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status: participating

Website: https://hatfield2018.com/

Age: 46

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Pomfret

Current Job: State Prosecutor, Connecticut Department of Justice

Previous Job: Registered Nurse, Yale-New Haven Hospital

Previous Job: Attorney, Hawkins, Delafield and Wood, New York City

Education: J.D., Stetson University College of Law; Master of Laws in Taxation, Georgetown University Law Center; B.S. in Nursing, American International College

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If elected, what are your top priorities in terms of what you will try to accomplish in your first term as Attorney General?
My three top priorities: 1) Model Integrity, Fairness & Inspire Respect for the Law -- Our courts, the judicial process, and law enforcement officials are vital. They need a strong advocate. I will be inclusive and respectful of the many talented attorneys and professionals who work to enforce Connecticut’s laws and protect our rights every day. My team will engender confidence with state lawmakers, the media, and public. And I will engage our citizens so they better understand and appreciate Connecticut’s laws and legal institutions. 2) Support Economic Competitiveness -- I will promote a level-playing field for business through the fair and consistent enforcement of laws and regulations. I will establish an Office of Business Ombudsman to work with companies and avoid needless confrontation. I will end frivolous, “photo-op” lawsuits that chill job creation, cost needless tax dollars, and result in long-term economic harm. 3) Save Tax Dollars -- My team will be vigilant in the review of state contracts and bonding requests to root out waste and identify ways to achieve short- and long-term cost savings to the benefit of our overburdened state taxpayers.
The state has recently engaged with some other Attorneys General in litigation against the federal government. Are there any legal battles underway that you plan to drop? Is there any new litigation you are considering based on federal mandates?
I will not prejudge the veracity of current lawsuits, or consider new ones, until I have had completed a review of those currently filed, and have had the opportunity to carefully weigh costs vs. projected benefits. I will not engage in lawsuits and sacrifice state resources to command headlines. I have no interest in trying to score political points against the federal government or any other government entity. Rather, I will consider Connecticut’s involvement with any legal action based upon the rule of law, particularly when it involves defense of the rights spelled out in our U.S. and Connecticut Constitutions. I also believe proactive, clear communications and cooperation can bring about more positive results than a predilection to sue.
Thousands of homeowners in the north-central region of Connecticut are facing the loss of their homes to the crumbling foundation phenomenon. Do you have any new ideas on how to hold parties responsible for this or to ensure that an equitable share of the costs of replacing foundations is covered by insurers?
Through no fault of their own, homeowners in northeast Connecticut are at risk of losing the value of what for many is their greatest financial asset -- their home. Compounding the problem, municipalities are facing serious erosion of their taxable property, and area’s real estate market is suffering the consequences. This situation is more than an isolated or regional problem. It requires legislative action and participation by the federal government, banks and the insurance industry. I will work closely with all these groups to find a solution. I will also seek an investigation as to why the state did not protect homeowners with crumbling foundations when the issue was first discovered and reported in 2001. The legislature’s only response was to take action to protect insurance companies. We should know why government officials did not investigate the issue, despite warning signs, suggesting only that there was insufficient information to pursue legal action under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. How is it that Richard Blumenthal, who would sue over virtually anything, chose not to intervene here, other than to request that the state Department of Consumer Protection investigate the issue? Those involved with the state insurance department should also be investigated to find out how much they knew about the problem before allowing statutory language to be changed in homeowners’ policies to exclude foundation coverage. And we should also be testing for the presence of pyrrhotite – the offending, natural mineral – as it may be present in bridges across the state. This past spring I joined U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, in asking the Malloy administration to restore $750,000 in state funds intended to assist Connecticut homeowners with crumbling house foundations. The money was instead swept into the state’s General Fund. The funds were meant to pay for testing under the Community Development Block Grant program -- essential to evaluate the scope of the crumbling house foundation problem. Diverting these state funds has slowed progress toward a comprehensive solution. The quicker we can assess the scope of the problem and identify potential remedies, the faster we can formulate a fair and equitable solution. Finding a way to mitigate the personal cost to homeowners and the impact on real estate in the region will take years to properly evaluate. This initial testing is a critical step.
Eversource has been the focus of a lot of consumer outrage following storm events and other outages. What can be done to hold this utility more accountable for its performance?
Whenever warranted, I will actively intervene in rate cases as attorney general to protect the interests of Connecticut consumers in all utility proceedings. I will also advocate reforms that can improve service delivery as well as contain rates, which unfortunately are the highest in the continental U.S. Relative to storm-related and other outages, no utility can guarantee the continuous flow of electric power, nor is such a guarantee required by law. Public utilities are liable for losses only if guilty of “gross negligence.” That’s because there are many causes of outages outside a utility’s control. Heavy ice or snow can cause wires to collapse. High winds uproot trees and cause branches to fall and short-circuit transmission and distribution systems. Electric transformers or high-voltage switchgear at times fail due to age or are damaged by animals. Motorists hit utility poles with cars and trucks. Yet, despite natural and unnatural causes, power flows to the average Connecticut consumer almost all the time. We’ve come to expect a continuous flow of electricity, and indeed, according to data, electricity is available to the average Connecticut customer 99.93% of the time. Smart consumers – business and residential – take actions to protect sensitive equipment by using surge protection to safeguard computers, expensive TVs and other such equipment, and uninterruptible power supply solutions to stop disruption of critical industrial and commercial processes. Connecticut’s sky-high utility rates are another matter. Consumers are right to be upset about this state’s electric rates. Customers in Connecticut pay on average about 17.3 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, almost seven cents higher than the national average of 10.4 cents. That means a Connecticut resident using an average amount of power pays $51 dollars more each month than the national average – that’s $600 a year! Our businesses also face punishing costs versus other, competing locations. These rates hurt the state’s economic competitiveness, hinder business expansion, and exacerbate housing costs. Some reasons for higher rates are understandable. Connecticut and other New England states are at the “end of the energy pipeline” – we import much of our energy. We have no oil, natural gas or coal reserves nearby on which to draw. Nuclear power – first generated in the United States by the now-defunct Connecticut Yankee power plant in Haddam -- contributes less power to the state today than it has since its earliest days. Not long ago, nuclear plants, natural gas and oil-fired electric generating stations each supplied about one-third each of the state’s power needs. Today, just over 20% of Connecticut’s electricity is generated by nuclear power, while most is generated by burning natural gas. Only a negligible amount is supplied by solar and wind sources, despite heavy state subsidies and a utility requirement to buy excess solar power at a premium (an those extra costs are passed on to all consumers). Natural gas has the virtue of burning clean, so it helps alleviate concerns about greenhouse gas emissions. But it can be an expensive fuel, and the state’s growing dependence on this one source makes Connecticut especially vulnerable to inevitable spot market price spikes. What’s worse, the state’s nearly 20-year experiment with partial “deregulation” of electric power generation is an abysmal failure. Since the state effort to deregulate energy suppliers took effect in 2000, electric rates have risen here from 9.96 cents to 17.24 cents in 2016, according to an investigation by The Associated Press. In fact, nationwide, AP found that “deregulated” states pay 30 percent more for electric power than “regulated” states. Strict environmental regulations, transmission congestion, and other public costs – which include high state taxes and conservation subsidies -- have conspired to increase and maintain our high electric rates. Connecticut also has the most lenient “no shut-off” period – from Nov. 1 to May 1 – for electric customers in the country. Every ratepayer who does not pay their bill on time (or at all) makes electric power more costly for everyone else. Clearly, there are compelling needs for comprehensive reforms to bring more transparency to our utility bills, sanity to our rate-making processes, and stability to Connecticut’s spiraling energy costs. As attorney general, I will be at the forefront of these efforts.
Eversource and some out-of-state entities appear to be attempting to buy control of Connecticut's water resources, and some of our quasi-public water agencies have signed away large amounts of water to commercial interests with little regard to future water shortages. What can you do to ensure that Connecticut residents maintain control of public water supplies in perpetuity?
Water, like electric power, is an essential part of our lives. That’s why public water supplies are tightly regulated to ensure healthful quality and adequate supply. It is less important that water supplies be publicly owned than properly regulated; in fact, it is smart to engage the private sector in the management of public water supplies so long as they are good stewards. As noted in the executive summary of Connecticut’s new State Water Plan, adopted in July 2018: “Connecticut has long enjoyed plentiful water resources to meet its needs for drinking water, industry, environmental health, agriculture, energy, and recreation.” Unlike some other parts of the country, Connecticut residents are fortunate to have ready access to water and rarely need to deal with even short-lived droughts. The report further suggests application of a “Triple Bottom Line” to ensure a balanced approach toward water supplies -- that is, consider social, environmental, and economic impacts – rather than simply assessing the cost of extracting, using or preserving water for a given purpose. I agree with that approach, and will work closely with regulators to ensure that those charged with custody of our water supplies consistently act in the public interest.
If elected AG, are there any new strategies you will pursue in the fight against opioids?
This is the greatest public health crisis of our times. More than 1,000 Connecticut citizens died last year alone from opioid abuse, a three-fold increase compared to just five years ago. Half of those deaths came from prescription medicines. Social dysfunction often lies at the heart of the problem as well. The issue is complex, and a multi-faceted approach is needed, one that includes prevention, intervention, and community-mobilization. As a registered nurse, I worked for a decade with patients struggling with mental health issues. And as state prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand how these substances can wreck lives, even as these drugs can help those in genuine pain. I will bring a special set of skills to bear as we work to tackle this issue head-on. I will pursue civil remedies and collaborate with criminal enforcement officials to address this crisis. Options may include revoking licenses of providers that dispense these drugs illegally, and the state should look to dedicate proceeds from seized assets toward educating children about the risks.