Jobs and the Economy
Far too many young people and families in Connecticut find that they have to leave the state in order to find high-quality jobs. We need to create a more welcoming environment that fosters entrepreneurship and small businesses here in Connecticut. With a track record of helping more than 80 small businesses raise tens of millions dollars in funding and creating hundreds of good-paying jobs, I have the experience to bring businesses and jobs to Connecticut. We also need to make sure that every job is a quality job -- which is why I strongly support expanding apprenticeships and job training programs.
Balance the Budget
I believe in cutting wasteful spending and closing the budget gap. Governors of both parties and legislatures controlled by both parties have maxed out our state's credit cards. Businesses will only come to Connecticut from out of state if we have a predictable budget and a well-governed state. Passing a fair and balanced budget that is on time will be my top priority.
The science is clear -- climate change is a serious threat facing our planet. We need a state government that accepts this reality and works to reduce our carbon output, our state's high energy costs, and support sustainable energy. Additionally, Connecticut should be a leader in sustainable energy, and I will work with state legislative leaders and our Congressional delegation in Washington, DC to ensure that we are doing everything possible to position our state to be at the forefront of the burgeoning green revolution.
With women making 83 cents for every dollar a man makes in Connecticut, we are doing better than most of the country. But we have to do more, especially when you consider that African-American women in our state make only 59 cents for every dollar a male makes and Latina women only make 48 cents. I promise to stand up for women's rights and equal pay. I will not rest until every woman earns as much as her male peers, regardless of race, ethnicity, family status, or salary history.
One of my top priorities will be to ensure that all of our state's residents have access to quality and affordable health care coverage. I will support legislation that aims to reduce drug costs, I will support community hospitals, and I will support policies which move us closer to what I think should be the long-term goal for health care reform -- implementing a public option, single-payer system for Connecticut residents. Also, I will treat the opioid epidemic like the crisis that it is, and direct resources to support better information sharing among health care providers, strengthen the states prescription drug monitoring program, improve treatment programs, and help to get prescription naloxone in more community spaces to help prevent drug overdoses.
Honor Our Veterans
Our Armed Servicemen and women sacrifice so much to keep us safe, it is imperative that government work just as hard to serve them as veterans. That is why I support programs to help veterans find jobs and housing, and why I support increased access to mental healthcare for veterans, so these brave servicemen and women can build a life in Connecticut and support their families.
Invest in Infrastructure
We must increase our investment in the state’s infrastructure. This includes “bricks and mortar” projects, such as roads, bridges, dams, rail, and schools, as well as expanding high speed internet into every community in Connecticut. These projects will help attract larger employers, and they will also make it easier for our essential home-grown businesses to expand and increase their workforces. If the legislature passes tolls in Connecticut, I strongly support reducing the gas tax, which is one of our most outdated and regressive taxes. Connecticut has fallen to 41st out of 50 states in transportation infrastructure according to US News and World Report. This is not acceptable and it costs our state jobs. I strongly encourage all Connecticut voters to support the state transportation “lockbox” initiative that will appear on the ballot this November. It is essential for the future of Connecticut, and will help convince potential employers that our state is serious about investing in the necessary improvements to our infrastructure that will make our state a better place to do business.
Keep our Young People in Connecticut
It is critical that we keep young people and families in Connecticut. We can do that by strengthening the pipeline from our high schools, community and technical colleges, and our state colleges and universities. Our students should know that when they graduate there will be a good-paying job waiting for them, right here in Connecticut. One of my priorities will be building partnerships with local businesses and our educational institutions so that our employers have the talent they need, right here. That is why I strongly support bringing businesses and our education system together to increase access to apprenticeships and job training. Also, that is why I support current efforts to raise the state minimum wage and I will fight for paid family leave for all workers.
Make Colleges More Affordable
We need to make college more affordable and invest in high quality education. Rising tuition costs and oppressive student debt are holding our young people and families back. Every student in Connecticut who has the grades to go to college should have access to college, regardless of their financial situation. That’s why I support free community college for those with financial need and have a plan to pay for it.
It is unquestioned that America is strongest when our middle class is thriving, and data clearly shows that the middle class thrives when unions are strong. It is no coincidence that the decades-long Republican war on unions has directly contributed to the ever-increasing income disparity in our country, and the systematic undermining of the middle class. Republicans offer many reasons for their actions, but it all comes down to one word: greed. This alarming concentration of wealth to the top 1% of our country also has a chilling effect on democracy. It allows the ultra-rich to buy elections and exert ever greater control over administrative and judicial appointments, most of which are hostile to organized labor.
I will support the right of unions to organize, to engage in collective bargaining, and to participate in the political process. I also recognize that as we seek to rebuild Connecticut’s economy, organized labor is a valuable partner in everything from economic growth to restructuring our existing debt.
Protect LGBTQ Equality
Connecticut has been at the forefront of protecting marriage equality and civil rights. Currently, however, we have an administration in Washington that is clearly more interested in rolling back hard-fought civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans than expanding them. I will ensure that Connecticut continues to lead on these issues while shielding our LGBTQ community from any discriminatory actions the federal government takes.
We need to make sure that Connecticut remains an affordable place to live for senior citizens heading into their retirement years. I will work hard on issues affecting senior citizens, including protecting them from predatory reverse mortgage schemes. I will fight to make sure that Social Security income and pension payments for all residents earning $75,000 or less and households under $100,000 remain untaxed. Additionally, I will implore Congress to continue funding Medicare and social security, so senior citizens have the resources they need to stay in their homes and live full, happy lives.
Reduce Gun Violence
Gun violence has reached epidemic proportions in this country. It is time to move past rhetoric and find common ground. Hunting rifles are not the problem, semi-automatic assault weapons that are designed to hunt and kill dozens of humans at a time and ghost guns are. Banning bump stocks, creating stronger background checks, and providing increased funding for mental health services can keep our families safer without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. It’s true that one state can’t do it alone, but Connecticut can lead the way!
Having grown up on a farm in Middletown, I understand how important it is that every community in our state feels heard and represented in Hartford. That is why I will fight for good schools, jobs, and healthcare in our rural towns just as hard as I fight for our cities and suburbs, starting with better broadband internet speeds and accessibility. I will also fight for farmers, by working with the legislature and the United States Congress to ensure they are working on an equal playing field with farmers in neighboring states.
Support STEM Education
Connecticut is a nationally recognized leader in bioscience, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing. The Brookings Institute ranks Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk among the country's top advanced industry hotspots. Connecticut's bioscience sector is "projected to create more than 16,000 new permanent jobs in the state and generate additional personal income of $4.6 billion by 2037," according to the Hartford Business Journal. Additionally, industries such as aerospace engineering and advanced manufacturing are rapidly expanding in our state. Therefore, we must expand STEM education as well as the number of students – both male and female – studying computer science and coding. Women and minorities are still underrepresented in these areas. We must work with educators, employers, and the General Assembly to increase the number of students taking computer science at all levels.
I’ve been a champion for women’s health throughout my career. As a State Representative, I’m proud to have written legislation to ban “drive-through” mastectomies and ensure that women being treated for breast cancer had proper care. As Secretary of the State, I fought to help small business owners get access to more affordable health care. With both healthcare and reproductive access under threat from the current administration, Connecticut needs a staunch advocate leading the fight against any loss of access or coverage.