Survey Questions and Candidate Responses

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?

Cynthia Mangini | Participating Election
Two of the most urgent problems facing Connecticut's environment and climate change are people and excess gases emitted into the air. People need to be better educated on the severity of the issue and our state must place a better focus on air quality.
Nick Gauthier | Participating Election
We must rapidly move to end our use of fossil fuels which requires heavy investment in alternative clean/green energy sources.
Tammy Nuccio | Participating Election
It is my opinion that we need to have regional climate initiatives. The legislation that was passed this last session is very cost prohibitive and will continue to make Connecticut more expensive than surrounding states. If we were to enact all of the initiatives that were proposed and none of the states around us were to do any then we would not be improving our climate as a whole. We need to get together to determine a course of action for the region and put forth legislation that will help the world, not just Connecticut.
Jonathan Steinberg | Participating Election
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.
John Carlson | Participating Election
Flooding and pollution/loss of habitat. Adding and protecting wetlands along the shore will help reduce flooding. We have to reduce the loss of habitat by protecting more green space, planting more trees and we must prevent pollution by educating people on how to reduce their carbon footprint. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Anne Hughes | Participating Election
Invest/pivot HARD to renewable energy: build offshore wind hub/land-based careers, expand/lift cap on tax credits for solar, geothermal both residential and commercial, modernize environmental standards and enforcement of polluters; demand Environmental and Climate Impact Statement on proposed legislation; separate DEEP, Environmental Protection Agency should have its own qualified staff, resources, enforcement, and not tied to the fossil fuel/energy sector; propose policy through a climate resiliency lens, with a circular economy, incentivize economic entities to include true, life-cycle cost in their analysis, include cost of responsible disposal, recycling in the cost of doing business; demand Amazon take back all their cardboard/packaging and re-use
Laura A. Fucci | Participating Election
Two of the most urgent problems facing Connecticut regarding climate change and the environment are investment in renewable energy and transportation. * I believe that Connecticut should develop wind energy facilities off the coast; optimize home solar energy programs; divest investments in fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy; transform public transportation to make it workable, energy efficient and non-carbon emitting; work with the Northeast region to make the changes on a larger scale. Additionally, I would want to transition the utility companies into a public good rather than a private for profit monopoly.
Kara Rochelle | Participating Election
Air quality can have a serious health impact on residents, as we see in my district. It is a deeply pressing issue that we prioritize the health of residents by deploying clean technology in these districts where residents suffer with the worst air quality--which affects asthma rates, amongst other health metrics. Increasing public transit, electric buses, and environmental cleanup dollars to this communities is key. We must also move to clean, affordable energy as soon as possible. This is both an environmental imperative and one that is urgently pressing for the financial wellbeing of residents. Expansion of solar technology, and solar energy storage technology, would be helpful to residents to drive down costs and transition to cleaner, more sustainable technology that is more reliable to provide energy to homes should the grid go down. These more self-sufficient energy technologies also will help residents to withstand the increased veracity of storms due to climate change.
John Rasimas | Participating Election
I am not an expert in this area and would defer to the experts. However, I would be firmly committed to weighing the costs and effects on the public when examining proposed legislation to address climate change.
Edwin Vargas | Participating Election
Trash disposal and incineration among others.
MD Masudur Rahman | Participating Election
The two most urgent problems facing Connecticut are making sure all of our agencies are following the guidelines set by the Climate Action Timeline for Connecticut and our lack of infrastructure to enact these changes. I will make sure we are following through on our commitments to addressing climate change, including building new infrastructure, net-zero construction for public buildings, more electric vehicle charging stations across the state, and direct-to-consumer sales for EVs.
David Michel | Participating Election
1. The changing weather patterns are becoming way more extreme causing major problems in our infrastructure. We need to boost and multiply our efforts to adapt. That means addressing flooding, stormwater, and retrofitting our infrastructure while continuing all efforts to reduce drastically and faster than planned, our total emissions. 2. Adequate protections for the marine ecosystem. The ocean is the climate regulator, and its marine life is the main back up for our life support system. If the ocean dies, we die. Basically we need to make sure the mentality changes in our government structure. We legislators push for changes in our statutes, but agencies that are losing staffing and on an enforcement downfall for decades, need to step up to the plate and support change faster than they are letting it happen. Why has DEEP blocked good bills all the way to Environmental Justice language, why does DEEP continue allowing permitting of trawlers in our state who rake the seafloor from its preciously sequestrated carbon, with their metal gear, while their nets rape the marine ecosystem of its life indiscriminately, jeopardizing the entire balance? As there is no question on rebuilding the economy and creating employment, I will comment on it here. The way we are letting offshore wind develop at the moment is actually not good at producing jobs, and might actually help jeopardize the marine ecosystem if we let the developers choose their techniques of construction for the footing of offshore wind turbines. Instead of pile-driving steel pipes into the seafloor and destroying precious life in our marine ecosystem, that actually protects us, we should be creating 25 times the amount of jobs with Concrete Gravity Bases. They would also largely broaden environmental standards. That is the right thing to do for our state so we should push it. I did request a study be done by Tufts University Department of Structural Engineering and they came through with magic number 25. This would truly help the vulnerable communities and the plans would of course incorporate training the workforce and make CT a leader in renewables. All this might play out in the coming months in Washington DC and Hartford. Let's go with the Blue Deal ... creating careers vs. jobs and protecting the best that we can the very environment that is mostly responsible for keeping us alive.
Lucy Dathan | Participating Election
Two environmental issues that I am most energized (pun intended) about are clean air/renewable energy and waste management. I have been a supporter of clean energy projects, like our 2019 legislation about wind farms but I believe we can also expand this, to provide additional incentives to encourage transition to solar, like better Net Metering laws. Net metering will help consumers be able to have flexibility to use their generated energy when it needed and not necessarily when it is generated. This will also lessen our reliance on dirty fossil fuels. We also must develop new waste management systems in light of the MIRA plant’s closure, and evaluate investments that address compostable waste, especially food, as this is a significant portion that heads to the incinerator. We are responsible to our community and our planet’s future to prioritize conservation and clean energy.
Christine Palm | Participating Election
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.
Don Mastronardi | Participating Election
I don't think the State of CT should be involved in promoting policies in the name of "climate change," because this is an issue for the Federal Government to address and handle. I have watched politicians in the state use climate change to implement more and more fees and taxes that do nothing to address the issue they claim to be fighting. These taxes and fees go into the general fund and get spent on other projects or giveaways to State unions. Our citizens are taxed enough. It is an absolute fraud to pretend that electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines are sufficient to meet the growing energy needs of our state and country. Everyone wants clean air and water but we need an all the above energy policy that doesn't punish one sector in favor of others. When the government picks winners and losers it is the taxpayer who ends up paying the price.
Julie Kushner | Participating Election
Connecticut is set to receive $5 billion in federal infrastructure dollars. I would like to see these dollars focused on "greening our infrastructure". Last legislative session, we allocated $10 million to redesign and engineer improvements in I-84 to reduce congestion. That's really important, however major investments in creating more public transit (light rail/Fast Track bus corridors) from Danbury to Hartford and Hartford to Boston will provide great alternatives to sitting in traffic for hours. The state budget includes dollars for E-bikes -- we need to pair that with a network of safe and accessible bike lanes, sidewalks and trails. We need to transition away from fossil fuels, while ensuring that the jobs created from transitioning and investing in green energy and infrastructure are good jobs with good benefits.
Robert Hotaling | Participating Election
The most urgent problems are rising sea levels and associated flooding, extreme weather and its impacts on potable water. To address extreme weather, we should make strategic investments in alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, energy storage as well as heat pumps and insulation to minimize fossil fuel use for space heating. We need to encourage private investments to look at energy as a long-term investment with its associated environmental and economic benefits rather than just savings on a monthly bill. To address rising sea levels and flooding, we’ll have to invest in infrastructure to address storm surges and higher sea levels and associated loss of land.
Kimberly Becker | Participating Election
Extreme weather, including flooding along our coastline, poses a real threat to Connecticut’s residents. Extreme weather endangers lives and burdens homeowners with significant property loses. We need to work with all of our communities to help them deal with flooding, drought and other impacts of climate change. I will support science-based solutions to mitigate the impacts to all communities in Connecticut. Our 2nd biggest challenge is to address the long-term health consequences of climate change and pollution. Childhood asthma is closely connected air pollution. I support reducing CT’s reliance on fossil fuels to generate power and invest in clean energy solutions. Not only will green energy improve our cost of generating electricity, but the reduction in emissions will be beneficial for conditions such as asthma.
Frank Smith | Participating Election
I represent Milford, which has the distinction of the longest shoreline in all of CT. We see the impacts first hand as storms are increasing in severity and frequency. While CT cannot solve global climate change on our own, we must continue to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels while also continuing to mitigate the impacts of climate change to our shoreline and our environment more broadly. CT should lead by example for other states and jurisdictions on mitigating climate change. I have been working with our local and congressional delegation partners to construct tidal barriers along our vulnerable coastline.
Jillian Gilchrest | Participating Election
(1) Reduce Waste and Incineration- Our state is faced with waste management issues. I am interested in seeing how we can incentivize towns to implement composting and pay as you throw programs. I also think we should hold producers of packaging more accountable through an Extended Producer Responsibility law. (2) Further reduce PFAS.
Bob Godfrey | Participating Election
We must continue to reduce greenhouse emissions, both in what the state buys and consumes, and incentives for the private sector. We've made a good start, but need to work out more options to fossil fuels including solar, wind, and fuel cell technologies. Years ago I successfully introduced legislation to begin dealing with indoor air quality in schools. That needs to be revisited, including funding.