Caroline Simmons (D)

CT House, District 144

State Representative, Stamford, CT, Co-Chair of the Commerce Committee, Member of the Higher Education and Employment and Public Safety Committees; Senior Specialist for Policy Innovation and Impact at Elevate: A Policy Lab to Elevate Mental Health and Disrupt Poverty at the Yale School of Medicine; Board Member, Women's Business Development Council; Former Director of Special Projects in the Counterterrorism Coordinator's Office at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(203) 962-4619

Yes. Early voting is critical to modernizing our elections and making the voting process more accessible. Early voting provides flexibility and expanded access to the polls, allowing more people to exercise their sacred right to vote in Connecticut and to participate in our democratic process. I was a staunch advocate for the early voting resolution we passed in 2019 and stood up on the house floor and voted in support of expanded absentee voting this year due to COVID-19. I’ll continue to stand up for voting rights and free and fair elections.
Yes. After the devastating effects that Tropical Storm Isais had on our state, I joined my colleagues in calling for immediate accountability of Eversource and other utilities. Last month, I was proud to vote in favor of the Take Back Our Grid bill during the September 2020 special legislative session. This bill establishes performance based ratemaking, requires utilities to provide credits and reduce charges to residential customers who lose power for more than 96 hours, ties the portion of executive salaries that come from ratepayers to the company’s performance, and develops minimum staffing levels for personnel to improve response capacity and communications with customers. I will continue to stand up for measures like these in the regular session to hold utilities accountable to residents across CT.

In addition to these measures, I have also stood up for more transparency in electric rates and will continue to advocate for reduced electric costs. Energy costs are out of reach for so many residents across CT. In fact, CT has some of the most expensive residential energy bills in the country (averaging $372 a month). We must do all that we can to reduce these costs and make electricity more affordable for hard working families across our state.
Supporting Stamford schools has been and will continue to be one of my top priorities. I am so proud to represent a district with so many devoted teachers, administrators, students, and parents, and ensuring that all of our students have access to a quality education is essential. Stamford is one of the few districts in the state that has seen increasing enrollment numbers over the past decade, which is a positive trend, however, this has also caused overcrowding issues. That is why I fought hard to secure over $65 million in state funding for the new Strawberry Hill School, $4.9 million for Wright Tech, bonding funding for Stamford High and other schools, and increases in ECS funding. While we have made progress, we still have significant work to do to increase ECS funding to ensure that Stamford is getting its fair share. For too long, the ECS formula factored in the grand list to heavily, which is an inadequate reflection of funding needs. The formula should be based on student need and not property values, which is why I have stood up for changes to the ECS formula and will continue to fight for more funding for Stamford schools. I will also continue to advocate for more funding to support early childhood programs. Amidst COVID-19, we will do everything we can in the legislature to secure more technology resources, PPE materials, and COVID funding to help our schools navigate this difficult pandemic and ensure that our students can learn safely.
Yes. I would definitely support continued live online access to legislative sessions and additional measures to expand access to our democratic process. It can be extremely difficult for Stamford residents to make it all the way up to Hartford to testify at public hearings, which puts our residents at a disadvantage. Allowing for more participation in public hearings remotely will allow more citizens to be engaged in the legislative process and to have their voices heard in Hartford.

With respect to COVID-related priorities, my top priority is to do everything we can to help Connecticut recover from the devastating health and economic challenges of COVID-19. This includes ensuring there is expanded testing and adequate PPE available to all residents, making sure our schools have the resources needed to support student learning, helping individuals who are unemployed find new job opportunities, and supporting our small businesses with access to capital.