State Senators Toni Boucher and Michael McLachlan, as well as State Representatives Will Duff and Steve Harding hosted a “town hall” meeting on Tuesday night in Bethel to discuss the state budget and other issues facing the community.
I went to the meeting optimistic that I could learn about the budget issues and hear about some specific solutions. Since the State Senate is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, it seems reasonable to expect that Republicans are assuming more responsibility for proposing solutions to our current budget crisis.
But I was disappointed to find that when I asked for their thoughts, what I got was complaints and deflecting, no concrete solutions or even ideas. My representatives seem to be using more of their energy to attack Governor Malloy and the Democrats than to propose bold new ideas to make Connecticut a better place.
Senator Boucher suggested I look up some of their proposals online and then returned to criticizing the Democrats. Representative Duff said he would vote against any tax increases or new revenue schemes but never described what he would do instead. Representative Harding offered the most detailed answer, but one of his proposals was to decrease funding for the Citizens Election Program, an important program that allows a diverse array of people to enter politics without relying on private money. It is not, as Harding claimed, a “luxury.”
Their answers on other issues were disappointing as well. A bill currently moving through the legislature could help bring early voting to Connecticut, which would allow us to join the 34 other states that have early voting in some form. But Senator McLachlan was strongly opposed to the idea and the other representatives never shared their opinions.
What Connecticut needs most right now is strong leaders with fresh ideas and a positive vision for improving the state. Instead, what I found are representatives who spend more time criticizing the ideas of others and complaining about Connecticut’s problems than actually working to strategize and implement a cohesive, effective plan to ease lingering discomfort for so many, and spur meaningful economic growth for businesses and residents. That is unacceptable. We deserve better.
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