Issues

Gun Reform

Despite the strong gun laws that have been passed in Connecticut, Connecticut is still an open carry state. The Republicans in the State House have been blocking all attempts to end the practice of open carry in Connecticut. I will fight to make sure that Connecticut joins states like New York and California that have banned the practice of openly carrying guns.

In this past year the state legislature did ban bump stocks, which functionally turn semi-automatic guns into automatic guns, but Republican leadership blocked a bill to close the “Ghost Gun Loophole”. Ghost guns are guns that are not sold without being fully put together, or are missing a part. This allows the gun to be sold without the classification of a firearm, and therefore is not subject to any background checks, has no serial number, and can be sold previously violent felons. I will fight to keep these illicit military grade weapons off of our streets by voting for a law that classifies “ghost guns” as what they are, guns.

Healthcare

In the Connecticut Affordable Care Act, or ACA, marketplace the health insurance premiums and deductibles have risen at unreasonable rates. According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, average premium has risen 25% from 2017 to 2018. This is especially unaffordable for families who make too much to qualify for the ACA subsidies. If a family of four has a household income above $100,000 they do not qualify for the subsidies, which cover the large majority of the premiums for those who do qualify.

These extremely high premiums are detrimental to small businesses and middle class families. Employees at small businesses who use the ACA marketplaces often will leave to go to big corporations that can provide cheaper health insurance.

Insurance companies have been raising premiums and deductibles because they face extreme uncertainty due to the Trump administrations repeated threats to the ACA. With the abolishment of the individual mandate, the ACA repeal effort, and the Trump administrations threats to Cost Sharing Subsidies.

Therefore I am announcing my support for CT to implement a Public Option, where individuals and small businesses can buy into the state Husky Health program.

This plan would not cost the state government any money, but would instead save the state money and lower the burden for taxpayers. State and local government workers should switch to this plan, saving the state millions of dollars in premiums and fees.

The non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation has found that programs like Husky Health “provides access to health care services comparable to that of ESI [Employer Sponsored Insurance] but at significantly lower costs.” This is because programs like Husky Health have significantly more bargaining power with healthcare providers due to the larger pool of people that they represent.

Our current representative, Fred Wilms, voted against a bipartisan plan for Connecticut even studying the possibility of a public option in Connecticut. If elected I will fight for these kinds of innovative plans, that would save Connecticut residents money, and lower the state deficit.

The Environment

Last Tuesday our district had a tornado touch down. This is not the first time we have experienced a tornado, but the frequency of these extreme weather events are only going to get worse with global warming. Connecticut has seen more devastating hurricanes and flooding, and these events are getting worse and worse, especially with the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. But Connecticut can, and must, prepare for these changes or we will see even worse economic and health costs.

Connecticut currently has an A- rating with climate change preparedness the worst grade B in coastal flooding in surrounding states. With the increase in Inland and Coastal flooding over recent year, and the further prediction in large increases over the next several years. All of us who live near the 5 Mile River or the Silvermine River have experienced, or have feared, the rivers flooding into our basements, creating extensive property damage. The Final Five Mile River Watershed Summary, completed in September 2012, identified several key areas of impairment along the Five Mile River Watershed (drainage area) alone.  While several drainage projects have been completed, there is much work to be done and funded properly and with much more haste in order to combat the emerging reality of Extreme Weather. When elected, I will ensure that this study be reviewed and strategic funding continue in order to protect the safety and health of residents and businesses in the Five Mile River area.

We need to ensure that our infrastructure can withstand this extra stress on the system. Not only is our state infrastructure at risk but there are more than 55,000 people currently at risk of coastal flooding and this will grow substantially in the future with rising sea levels. Substantial parts of Norwalk are only 6 ft above sea level. According to Climate Central here is a 47% to 88% chance that there is a six foot flood by 2050. Norwalk and New Canaan’s storm sewer systems are under substantial pressure, as we saw last Tuesday with multiple roads flooding. There are thirteen hazardous waste sites in Norwalk are at risk of being flooded, including sewage treatment plants. Connecticut residents could face a bill of up to $18 billion if we use the FEMA methodology for estimating the amount of property damage from a 6FT flood.  The costs to upgrade our current roads, sewers and other public infrastructure would be a fraction of this costs.

We need leaders who acknowledge the scientific reality of climate change, and who will work to educate the entire population about the upcoming damages from climate change. Investing in planning for climate change will in the long term save the state billions of dollars in property value and lives. We cannot be in the same position that Florida, North Carolina, and Texas have put themselves in by denying climate change and refusing to build the necessary sewer and levee systems.

As your State Representative, I will ensure that the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection receive adequate support in order to assist towns in meeting their storm-water upgrade plans and also to include innovative methods, such as rain gardens, to reduce the threat of flooding along the Five Mile and Silvermine Rivers.

Transportation

I am focused on improvements in our crumbling infrastructure to grow Connecticut’s economy. I believe that one of the greatest impediments to growth in Connecticut is the fact that our trains have been getting slower, and that traffic has been getting worse. Every dollar that is cut in transportation funding is going to result in more two dollars lost in tax revenue, therefore we can’t “cut our way to prosperity”.

Jobs and the Economy

I will grow Connecticut’s economy by attracting new business with a trained workforce that expand the tax base and increases revenues. I believe that Connecticut does not need more taxes, but that Connecticut needs more tax payers. I will work to make Connecticut a more attractive state to work and live in.