The daily headlines will always provoke conversation.
In the long run, Connecticut requires a politics characterized by careful deliberation, open and direct communication, and good decision-making.
Politics needs to move away from the back and forth of partisan commentary and get to issues beyond the headlines and sound bites. We need to discuss the more fundamental structural issues that will create a better political climate and a more vibrant economy.
Let’s begin here. A new kind of politics involves: (click to expand)
We need to ensure our elected officials are honest, transparent and accountable. We must support Connecticut’s Citizens’ Election Program (CEP), which is a model for the entire country in clean campaign finance laws. CEP ensures that our elected officials answer to the public rather than policy being driven by special interest or personal gain. This includes meeting with constituents throughout the year at easily accessible locations and holding public forums to hear from the community. Moreover, Connecticut is fortunate to have a strong Office of State Ethics. However, over the course of the last several years, that office has been a target for budget cuts and consolidations. I believe that we need to maintain the effectiveness of the Office of State Ethics and strengthen the reporting and enforcement requirements for lobbyists and state contractors.
My position on taxes is all about tax reform. Trumbull families already feel the burden of taxes on their houses, cars, purchases, and local services - and we are not getting enough in return. We need to reduce this tax burden while still making sure that the most fundamental demands of our state are met, including education, infrastructure, and attracting new families and businesses to Connecticut - and that we can honor the commitments we have already made to our state workers and educators. We fix this by reforming and simplifying our tax system and reducing property taxes. We can pay for these reforms by seeking out new sources of revenue such as closing tax loopholes for hedge fund managers and eliminating expensive exemptions for wealthy organizations. We need to take ineffective tax giveaways to major corporations and instead increase our tax incentives to locally owned businesses. We need to expand our tax base by attracting new people and businesses to Connecticut by improving our infrastructure. And finally, we need to carefully explore limited pooling of resources across town lines to encourage more efficient services.
We need to continue to work hard to maintain a high quality of primary and secondary education in Trumbull, to ensure that funding is allocated to prioritize programs that directly impact students, and that the state fully funds its Education Cost Sharing responsibilities. Moreover, we need to build programs that will provide easier access to public colleges and universities, while providing incentives to keep graduates from moving out of state. For example, we need to support programs to reduce tuition for those who commit to living and working in the state. In addition, we need to work with local businesses in order to train our students for the jobs and skills Connecticut businesses are looking for.
Connecticut’s bridges, dams, and roads are in need of attention and in some cases, critical repair. This requires a commitment to adequately support the state’s Transportation Fund. Our current infrastructure is unsafe and weakens our state's economic competitiveness. We need to prioritize necessary repairs to make sure that our infrastructure is safe, eases the burden of commuting, and provides access to high-technology fiber optics to attract new businesses to the area. We need to expand our tax base by attracting new families, along with businesses, to Connecticut by improving key aspects of our infrastructure needs.
Connecticut is in need of continued steady job growth to catch up with neighboring states and help those who still cannot find work. We can grow jobs by diverting money from ineffective tax breaks given to the largest corporations and reinvesting those funds into growing our green economy by investing further in public-private partnerships with the Connecticut Green Bank and using that money to invest in the considerable infrastructure improvements our state needs. The key to long term economic success involves maintaining vibrant towns and cities that attract new families and support the economy. To attract businesses, the state must find ways to create new jobs, attract forward-looking entrepreneurs, and support local enterprises. Investing in high-technology industries can give us the ability to initiate this transition. In addition, I will work to expand existing programs to help small businesses throughout the state, such as the Small Business Express Program. Trumbull is home to many successful small and medium-size businesses, and continued support for carefully planned economic development is vital to our future economic success.
Connecticut’s constitution, like our federal constitution, imagined a government by the people, featuring a citizen-controlled legislature, not a government dominated by individuals who become overly susceptible to the influence of special interests. Enacting a reasonable term limit on public officers, including Representatives, Senators, and the Governor will help rejuvenate our state government with new people and ideas and will keep entrenched political interests in check. This will help rebuild faith in the public service aspect of politics, and increase trust in political representation.