Voting is the foundation of our democracy. I support “no-excuse absentee voting,” as it is an essential way to help make participation as fair and accessible as possible. Widespread access to alternatives to in-person voting allows for all people to have their voices heard. The previous restrictions on voting are outdated and harm the community by making voting a privilege, not a right.
I advocated for no-excuse absentee voting as a member of the Safe Vote CT coalition, a statewide non-partisan coalition of citizen groups working together to promote and support common sense voting reforms in Connecticut amidst the dangerous health pandemic.
Connecticut, a leader in many areas, is one of the only states without no-fault absentee voting. The argument that expanding voter access opens the door for voter fraud is a harmful voter suppression tactic that has been debunked time and again. Voter fraud is rare, and claims otherwise undermine voter confidence in our elections and do a disservice to the election officials and many volunteers who run our elections.
Connecticut ended its fiscal year with a $1 billion surplus, the rainy day fund at historic highs, and having made a bulk $63 million payment into the pension fund. For the first time in two decades, we have an Aa3 rating from Moody’s. This session, the legislature passed a bipartisan, no-tax increase biennial budget that takes important steps to propel Connecticut forward towards even greater fiscal health, while continuing to make major investments in education, aid for cities and towns, non-profits, social services and healthcare. In just the past several months, the Governor announced that four new businesses chose our district as their headquarters, creating over 500 new jobs.
This is all great news for the 36th district and Connecticut, and we must continue to make this type of progress. That begins with making a balanced, no-tax increase budget the standard, not the exception. I will oppose any budget that includes tax increases.
We also must continue to broaden the tax base by making Connecticut an even more welcoming place for businesses and residents, especially young people, who are the future workforce our state needs to remain competitive. To accomplish this, we must streamline business regulations, work to expand housing stock at all price points, reign in electric rates, hold ourselves to the spending cap, and take the possibility of tolls off the table.
Governor Lamont has indicated his support for the TCI and I applaud and share his commitment to protecting our environment and improving our air quality. Transportation accounts for 29% of our emissions and as anyone who lives or works along the I-95 corridor can attest, air quality remains a serious concern for southwestern Connecticut. There are many initiatives we can adopt to reduce emissions, a number of which are included under the TCI. And I’m encouraged by the regional approach it takes and the participation of states along the northeast corridor.
The TCI has not yet been adopted by Connecticut, as participation requires legislative approval. If elected, I look forward to listening to the needs of our community and working with my colleagues -- Democrats and Republicans -- to ensure our state and its residents' best interests are met and protected, and that any legislation would enhance both the quality of life and air for residents of the 36th district.
Affordable housing is good for the middle class, young professionals, families, and seniors, and contributes to a community that is culturally and socially vibrant. It also benefits our local economies. Construction of affordable housing creates jobs, and housing developers pay property taxes on their housing communities, helping to offset the property taxes paid by homeowners. And when people can afford to make their home in the communities where they work, such as our town employees, first responders and teachers, they become even more invested in our community.
Affordable housing is also vital to Connecticut’s economic development. To continue to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever means encouraging businesses to move to Connecticut. But employers need assurance that they will have access to a local workforce, from entry level to the c-suite. And they want that workforce to live near where they work, so they can be at their desks rather than commuting.
I support local control over zoning regulations, as increasing the amount of affordable housing necessitates creativity at the municipal level, with each community having unique circumstances, needs, and resources. And our communities need the support of the state as a partner, not an enforcer, in order to create additional affordable housing.
As with any piece of legislation that comes before me as a State Senator, I will give affordable housing bills my full attention and consideration, and review with an eye towards how it will benefit the residents of the 36th district.
To emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever, our focus must remain on public health and safety, prosperity and progress.
Towards this end, we must continue to follow the science and listen to experts whose guidance has helped Connecticut become a leader on not just vaccination rates, but also opening back up. Public safety, including common sense gun violence prevention measures, will also remain a priority.
It is essential that we keep creating opportunities for prosperity through economic development that brings good paying jobs to our state, lowering taxes (including repealing the estate tax), and making the adoption of a balanced, no-tax increase budget the standard, not the exception.
I will also work with my colleagues to permanently expand ballot access, secure women’s rights, protect our environment, fully fund our schools, and ensure our district receives the maximum amount of transportation improvement dollars possible.
As the Connecticut State Leader for Moms Demand Action, I successfully took on the gun lobby by listening to people, finding common ground, and building coalitions to create change. This is the approach that I will take to serving our community if elected.
As part of this, I will host regular town hall meetings, because the voices and needs of the 36th district will be what drives my work. I would encourage constituents to gauge my success as their legislator by how accessible I make myself and through my commitment to finding solutions, rather than pursuing partisan politics.