The biennium budget presented by the Governor flat funds the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant which suspends the additional funding that Stamford was scheduled to receive. I intend to fight for the restoration of those dollars so Stamford can receive its fair share. Stamford is slated to receive approximately $23 million in direct coronavirus relief funds from the federal government. It’s possible that the city may also receive additional relief funds from the state which can be used to help bridge the funding gap for the shortfalls we have experienced during this pandemic.
My top legislative priority to help improve transportation in Stamford is to make sure we continue to invest in our roads, buses, and railway system. We need to modernize our transportation infrastructure, while also looking for ways to reduce our dependence on motor vehicles. As our city continues to grow, it's also important that we focus on implementing legislation and initiatives that promote sustainability and increase connectivity in our neighborhoods, including safer streets, and more sidewalks and bike lanes.
The ability to efficiently travel within a city is a critical aspect of the overall health, economic growth and success of a community. That’s why it is important that we make smart investments that meet the demands of our outdated transportation infrastructure.
Small businesses are the backbone of our community and they are not going to survive without intervention and assistance from the state and federal government. We need to make sure that we are doing everything possible to make sure small businesses survive as well as thrive. At the state level, we can use bonding as grants and loans to help businesses during this difficult time. Additionally, there are existing programs that can be beneficial for small businesses that need increased funding and reauthorization. I’ve heard repeatedly from small businesses how the federal Payroll Protection Program allowed them to stay in business. I would also like to propose that a bond-funded program be created by the state, at least until the tide has turned for small business.
Voting is a right and I believe we can do much more to expand access to voting in Connecticut. During my tenure as a legislator, I have always supported bills that encourage more participation in our democratic process. We need to make it easier for people to exercise their civic duty. In this past election, a historic number of electors cast their votes by absentee ballot because they were given the choice to vote at their convenience and barriers that hinder the ability to vote were removed. For far too long, we have had limited access to voting and I would like to see Connecticut allow no-excuse absentee voting as well as the option of early voting.