Universal Health Care
I support a statewide universal health care system which would provide coverage to all Connecticut residents. As our current HUSKY programs are more cost-effective than private insurance, an expansion of public options would make health care more affordable for individuals, businesses, and public employees. Ensuring access to healthcare would also provide an incentive for youth, entrepreneurs, and (large and small) businesses to locate here, potentially reversing the population loss that has plagued Connecticut over the past decade.
Comprehensive health care for all also includes the right for every woman to have access to safe reproductive care, and support for policies that will help families care for their infants, children with special needs, or aging parents. I will pursue the adoption of paid leave legislation, and propose using our new, innovative revenue sources, like a tax on legalized marijuana, to ensure we afford everyone the opportunity to take time off to care for their family or recover from an injury without having to worry about their livelihood.
I pledge to protect Connecticut’s public schools in all communities and to promote restorative and developmentally appropriate learning, to help our youth thrive physically, emotionally, and academically. As a state representative for New London, I will strongly oppose diverting any public school funds to privatized charter school management companies.
As a former public school teacher, I understand that Connecticut’s teachers are the foundation of our state’s school system and will support them by demanding the state fully fund the teachers’ retirement fund to guarantee financial stability and solvency. As your legislator, I will fight to ensure fair and equitable education funding that reduces the dependence on property tax that replicates our state’s wealth gap in our education system and creates wide opportunity gaps in our schools.
State Public Bank
I will fight for the creation of a Connecticut public bank, modeled after the 100-year-old Bank of North Dakota, which would reduce fees for state banking, protect employee pension benefits, and provide low-interest loans for students, small businesses, and agricultural development. A Connecticut public bank would ensure that our local businesses and communities have access to ethical banking that incentives investing and staying local. The existing Connecticut Green Bank, which funds clean energy investment, may provide some infrastructure that would facilitate the creation of a public bank with a broader mission in our state.
Equitable policy for the legalization of cannabis
While the legalization of recreational marijuana appears inevitable, it is important that we use the opportunity to ensure racial equity and healing of the harm done to our communities by the war on drugs. To that end, I will support bills like S.B. 690 “An Act Establishing A Cannabis Equity Policy,” and I support equity in ownership and employment opportunities and investment of revenues in communities that have been disproportionately policed. Additionally, the legalization of recreational marijuana will provide an opportunity to save on expensive incarceration practices which cost the taxpayers $62,159 per inmate annually, and will decrease the burden on our law enforcement. Finally, it is projected that there will be $30 million in tax revenue generated from legalization, and it is imperative that we not only make amends and negotiate the transition to legalization gracefully, but also ensure that this new tax revenue stream is appropriately budgeted and used.
I fully support the right of workers to collectively bargain, and I affirm the rights of unions to protect Connecticut workers and their families. Unions are the first and best defenders of workers’ rights and liberties. I support paid family leave for all Connecticut workers and believe our state must fight gender discrimination in the workplace wherever and whenever we can. Finally, I support the raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour, over a five year period, to strengthen our economy and empower working families. As was acknowledged by the legislature’s bipartisan commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Competitiveness, an increased minimum wage is not only ethical, but will increase spending and re-invigorate our economy from the bottom up. We must energize our economy from the bottom up, not the top down.
Green Economic Development
As the country and Connecticut shifts towards more renewables and the development of a greener energy sector, New London should try to capitalize on this shift. I will actively pursue and advocate for the city of New London to be at the forefront of this emerging industry. With resources like the state pier, our deep water port, and the prospect of a new offshore wind farm, New London has the opportunity to be one of the birthplaces of a new industry and all the jobs it generates.
Equitable Tax Policy
I will make it a priority to pursue and fight for more equitable tax policy across Connecticut. In the past, New Londoners have been disproportionately affected by taxes like the car tax, and it’s about time our representatives start fighting for the interests of New Londoners specifically. Additionally, it’s important that with new streams of tax revenue and budget negotiations, New London is afforded its fair share, and as your representative, I will ensure that New London is represented fairly.
Alewife Cove is an irreplaceable asset to Southeastern Connecticut, and one we must fight to protect. According to a 2015 report by CT DEEP, there are 35 endangered or threatened species living in and around Long Island Sound, and it’s our responsibility to protect the coastal estuaries they call home. As your representative, I will fight to protect the incredible natural assets that New London and Southeastern Connecticut are lucky enough to have access to.
On the issue of housing, I see a future that will serve the housing needs New Londoners of all ages and income levels. Because New London has the lowest homeownership rate in the county, I fully support programs that incentivize buying aging and historic homes, including our new community land trust. These programs not only increase homeownership, but also see to the renovation and increased accessibility of our aging and historic homes. I am proud that our city hosts the regional homeless hospitality center, but believe we need to fund its services fairly through the PILOT programs or other towns contributing their fair share. As your representative I will stand up for the working class homeowners of New London and support the restriction of eminent domain for commercial purposes.
I applaud the fact that the updated contract in regards to our state pier affords New London its fair share. Now that New London is receiving funding relative to the revenue generated by the state pier, it is important we capitalize on the opportunity therein. I propose updating the rail system so that it connects with the state pier. This would make the import/export process more seamless, environmentally friendly, and would be a boon to the rail system. Additionally, with plans to start building offshore wind farms off the coast of Connecticut, New London, with its state pier and deepwater port, would be the perfect place to funnel that infrastructure through. With the potential of having rail access connect directly to a deepwater port, New London could be the birthplace of green industry in Connecticut.