Focus on Issues

The federal government has become too involved in state issues, controlling the funding and direction of local issues such as education, land preservation, local road repair and first responder hiring. These dollars should stay in Connecticut and be spent more efficiently in Connecticut, rather than us begging the feds for pennies back on our tax dollar.

Sadly, Connecticut ranks near the bottom among the 50 states on the dollars back from the federal government, getting back between 60 and 70 cents on the dollar. Indeed, we give nearly the most, get nearly the least, and wonder why our schools, transportation systems and state programs are broke and/or broken.

Our District can and must wrest control of local concerns back from the federal government – whether it be by eliminating the role of the federal agencies in state affairs and/or creating a minimum “return” on our federal tax dollar investment. As Connecticut citizens, we can control the way Hartford spends our money to create and fund the environmental, educational and job promotion programs we want. Currently, federal congressmen from other states are governing how much of our own money we get back to address and pay for our state needs. This must stop.

 

MY FIRST BILL IN CONGRESS – INCOME TAX SHORT CIRCUIT

The central theme of my candidacy is to put "Connecticut First" -- a mission and slogan I adopted two years ago.

Indeed, we send nearly the most to Washington per capita, get back nearly the least in rate of return, and are then told by the feds how to spend what’s left of our money for our local needs. It is no wonder why so many of our roads, programs and schools are either broke or broken.

I want return/adjust the relationship between our state and federal governments so we can better manage our own resources. We need to keep more money here in CT, to be managed by the people we elect here in CT, to solve the needs we have here in CT. While there are long-term strategies that can get this done – i.e., resuming federal audits of state rate of return, reducing the size of burn rate of the federal government, potential tax circuit breakers – the most direct and effective way will be to reform our tax code NOW so our dollars stay in Connecticut immediately.

Upon being sworn in the Congress I will propose a bill that will allow for a 200% tax deduction for private in-state donations to one of three dedicated in-state funds (to be managed by the states and/or third-party fiduciaries) – to wit, an:
  1. In-State Education Fund
  2. In-State Transportation Fund
  3. In-State Urban Redevelopment Fund

So if a Connecticut tax payer donates $1,000 to one of these funds, they will get a $2,000 deduction on their federal income tax returns, while also being assured that their redirected tax dollars are being used locally to fund these essential local needs.

This simple “short-circuit” will prompt local reinvestment, and help end the wasteful state-to-federal-to-state “grant” cycle that robs the states of authority and funding. This mechanism will also provide immediate income and property tax relief to our district and beyond because we will finally be using 100% of our local tax dollars to fund our local needs.

The days of begging for a fraction of our money back must cease. Together we can take control and put “Connecticut First.”
The central thesis of my campaign is to effect a reassertion and restoration of local control over our state’s financial resources, rather than begging for pennies back from DC to pay for our local needs.

For more than two decades we in Connecticut have sent DC almost the most per capita of any state, but gotten back nearly the least, with a historic rate of return of about 65 cents (or -35%) on the dollar. For this dubious honor we also receive voluminous federal mandates on how we may spend what’s left of our money for our local needs.

Despite being the wealthiest state per capita, CT citizens are left to wonder why our income, sales and property taxes go up and up, but our schools, hospitals and local programs keep coming up broke and/or broken. We have watched our state budgets collapse, employers leave and wages stagnate, all while continuing on as one of the biggest donor states to DC.

The solution, while politically difficult for those who believe that government knows best, is actually fairly simple.

Download a detailed analysis of how and why Connecticut suffers and what we need to do to fix the problems.
Our crumbling infrastructure is part of the the central theme of my campaign. Fairfield County sends almost the most to DC per capita but get back almost the least via federal "grants" designed to fund some of our local needs. We need to keep our dollars local so we can spend them where needed, instead we have allowed the Feds (ie elected officials from other states) to control the course and direction of our in-state resources.

An almost $600 million busway in Hartford is a prime example**; followed by a $10 billion proposed tunnel*** to come. All of this money should have been spent in Fairfield County. Jim Himes has been late to the game on highway and rail infrastructure, the Walk Bridge in Norwalk, and all types of instate funding.

My federal tax short-circuit plan will be part of the solution (see my My First Bill When Elected above) as well as finally having a representative from Fairfield County in Washington ... instead of having a representative of Washington in Fairfield County like we have now.

**(CT News Junkie August 30 reported: Ridership on the 9.4-mile dedicated busway between New Britain and Hartford has reached another milestone. According to state officials, it has carried over four million riders since its launch on March 28, 2015. Read the full story.)

-- So for a year and a half - 4 million riders means a cost of almost $150 million per rider

***Larson Calls For $10 Billion Tunnel Project in Hartford
For decades Washington politicians have talked about improving veteran services but unfortunately too little has been done. Indeed, a wide demographic of our population -- a population that includes me -- was neither required to serve our country nor pressed to defend it. The least we can do is support those who have defended our freedoms.

We need to widen the scope of benefits to our veterans, and allow them to access health and mental services outside of the VA regardless of VA wait times and mileage limits. I also would like to see a hiring preference for veterans at the VA.

Protecting those who protect us is a core function of the federal government. Instead of cutting ribbons at local playgrounds, federal officials should be solving this problem and serving dinner at homeless veteran shelters.

As a State representative I have advocated for veterans' needs both in Washington and in Hartford. As a Congressman I can and will do more.
The federal government’s primary and most important charge is to keep our citizens safe. I believe we need to present a strong and resolute posture backed by a strong and capable military. Our freedoms and free markets have made us the world’s primary economic and military superpower, and we should not shy away from protecting our interests as well as our allies.

Equally as important is the recognition of the threats we face in today’s world. The threat of radical Islamic terrorism is real, and will not be defeated by nuanced speeches and soft stances.

Indeed, the Administration's Iran deal, supported by Congressman Himes and others, is a drastic mistake. The entire agreement is a dangerous retreat from the United States' decades-long goal of stopping Iran's nuclear program to keep our nation and our allies safe. The deal gives Iran -- a prime state sponsor of terrorism -- billions of dollars, while leaving Iran on the same path to a nuclear weapon albeit on a slightly slower track. Like North Korea and Russia, Iran will neither honor the terms of this agreement nor accede to the Administration's reading of its vague language. Himes' support of the Iran deal marks a serious and troubling departure from his constituents, the Constitution and basic common sense. Please read my Op Ed on Jim Himes and national security. For this reason alone, Mr. Himes has failed us.
We are a nation of immigrants, and we should celebrate this proud and enduring history. Congress is starting to move in the right direction on immigration reform, but is moving too slowly. We must stay away from blanket amnesty because giving a “free pass” to undocumented and/or illegal aliens is unfair to those folks who are going and have gone through the immigration process. Instead, I support a “step up and stand out” approach.

Undocumented and/or illegal immigrants should identify themselves as such, whereafter they will be charged with a violation of our laws. The penalty for the violations, however, can be suspended and eventually erased if that person registers with the INS, pays a small fine, pays taxes going forward and thereafter goes through the immigration process from the back of the line. During this time period, these folks should not be subject to deportation unless they violate other laws or otherwise depart from the process.

Small reforms now will become large reforms down the road. Social Security can and must be made solvent by, quite simply, extending the eligibility age for younger generations. For example, full benefit eligibility for people my age (51) and younger should be extended to 70.

Similarly, we can and must preserve Medicare by increasing the full eligibility age for younger generations, and tailoring the benefit down for those folks above a certain income level. The eligibility and benefit structure must also be kept simple, static and easy to manage. Our leaders in Washington must cease changing the rules every few years for political gains at the expense of the program’s stability.

A one-size-fits-all federal program will not work because the United States has a diverse a population, all with differing local economics, and all with differing local needs. Interstate competition, clarity and tort reform will drive down healthcare costs and promote access, not another massive federal program.

The “Affordable Care Act” is another federal leviathan fraught with flaws, exceptions and uncertainties. Worse yet, it is a program driven through punitive taxation rather than market-based solutions. The ACA needlessly imposes onerous obligations and a maze of regulations on both local governments and small employers – all with little benefit to the public at large. These burdens will drive up overall costs, limit doctor choice, and be carried on the backs of the middle class tax payer. Meanwhile, many of the people being driven to public exchange plans are landing in Medicaid or back among the uninsured.

Simply put, the ACA is the wrong approach from wrong level of government, and I would support repeal and/or a massive repair as discussed below.

Indeed, the states can and must promote affordable healthcare insurance through programs tailored to state needs -- much the way Connecticut had been solving the problem with our successful Husky and Charter Oak programs. Private and/or public insurance exchanges should be implemented, along with the reform of state tort law to clarify plan language and drive down physicians’ insurance premiums. How to create and execute these solutions is a state function.

The federal government’s role in the affordable healthcare insurance solution is to require interstate competition across state lines among the nation’s numerous private insurance carriers. Indeed, despite there being scores of reputable insurance plans and programs in the United States, Connecticut residents have limited choices due to restrictive state mandates and licensing requirements.

Again, competition, clarity and tort reform will drive down costs and promote access, not another blunderbuss federal program.

Emails received from 4th District Voters

From Jennifer L:

To all small business owners, self employed people in the state working their "@&!" off - heart attack today receiving my health insurance increase of 50%!!! Yes an extra $12,000 per yer. Time to go "off the grid" as Matthew would say and live off the land... We may die early but would be free.

From Amy S.:

Basically was on State Insurance with kids for few years until last year based on individual income. State lowered threshold for eligibility combined with kids turning 19/HS graduation was no longer eligible and they cut me off - without any notification. At this point in time no access to employer insurance until following year open enrollment (10/2016 for 2017 coverage). To obtain Insurance through access health unaffordable not to mention unrealistic. Signed up in 2015 for Jan coverage at over $300+/- per month. Never received statement of coverage or bill for premium. After following up in April was able to determine they never enrolled me. Was later able to obtain an individual policy beginning 9/2016 for a monthly premium @ approx $200/mo. Deductible $6000/year before anything other than 1 well care visit (physical) covered. This includes basic blood work, colonoscopy (1st for 50 year old) or anything else, prescriptions, etc. PS Have not spend $6000 over my lifetime in medical so will not be having blood work, colonoscopy done at all.

Tom C.:

I am an attorney and life long resident of Stamford, CT. I actually saw your sign posted on a neighbor\'s front yard recently and decided to view your webpage in order to get an idea of where you stand on the issues. I am a Republican, and it is incredibly important to me that if I vote for you, you make every effort possible to completely eliminate or overhaul Obamacare. It is an absolute disaster. My parents are not covered through work, and their premiums have gone up astronomically under Obamacare. I am an attorney and we have had our billable hourly requirements increase dramatically because of the outrageous financial burdens imposed by the ACA. I like your idea of tort reform and being able to cross state lines. But I just have to know that you will fight for people like my parents and I when push comes to shove because the ACA is crushing us. I wish you well in your candidacy.
I supported the 2013 Mental Health, School Security and Gun Control bill passed in Connecticut because, in the end and on balance, I believed it was the right thing to do. As a father, gun owner and resident of northern Fairfield County, these issues and the tragedy that prompted the discussion weigh on me as they do all citizens.

Notably, the bill was not simply a “gun bill,” but one that addressed school security, mental health reforms and some new gun control measures as one package. Throughout the process, my consideration and calculus was to focus more on people than devices – and specifically, how can we best protect our children and neighbors from those who chose to use a gun to commit violence, without vilifying law abiding citizens who chose to own a gun pursuant to their inalienable rights.

Indeed, the initial discussion focused on broad firearms bans, and confiscation and/or taxation of all forms of guns and devices regardless of owner, and regardless of whether the measure would have any impact on gun violence. I believe that a naked ban on “assault weapons” would disproportionately impact law-abiding citizens instead of criminals, and alone would do little to protect our children or thwart the primary source of gun violence – the trafficking and use of illegal handguns.

After hundreds of hours of public testimony, committee meetings and bipartisan discussions, the shape of the bill package rightfully evolved a stronger focus on school security and mental health, and away from blanket device bans and confiscations. More importantly, the bill focused on the enforcement of illegal gun trafficking laws and creating more effective background checks. Thus, while there are still some troublesome gun control measures in the bill, most of these measures were reduced to minor burdens and/or inconveniences rather than improper bans and confiscations. I voted yes in the Connecticut General Assembly because, again, I believed the bill had evolved to a point where I could support it – and was comforted by the fact that the measures were adopted at the state level.

(Sadly, many of the mental health reforms have since stalled due to the Democrats’ failure to fund the initiatives, opting instead to hire more state workers and increase union salaries and benefits.)

The role of the Federal government in gun violence prevention, while more limited, is in many ways more necessary. As your Congressman in Washington, I would insist that the federal government take the lead role in thwarting the true source of gun violence – the illegal shipment of handguns across state lines.

Last week I moderated a Opioid Crisis Awareness forum in Weston and it was a huge success. We filled the room with concerned citizens looking to hear from experts in drug addiction, treatment and law enforcement. We looked at why we are facing this crisis, and what we can do to help prevent more addiction and more tragedy.

If you were unable to attend, here’s a summary of what you missed. Please consider passing this information along.

What is Happening?

Opioid abuse is fast becoming the most prevalent form of drug abuse and addiction in our communities. The suburbs are being affected just as severely as cities.

Note, opiates are the organic derivative of the poppy plant and produce drugs such as heroin; whereas opioids are synthetic forms of the same type of drug, and include OxyContin, Vicodin, and similar prescription pain killers.

Many opioids (and other prescription drugs) are also being mixed with Fentanyl, a very powerful opioid, and sold on the street and in our schools. Fentanyl is estimated to have 100 times the potency as pure, pharmacy-grade heroin and about 80 times the potency of morphine. Such combinations have proven deadly, leading to many fatal overdoses.

Why is it Happening?

The primary driver of the current opioid crisis is ease of access and overuse caused by (i) over-prescription of opioids by doctors, and (ii) the subsequent mishandling of unused prescription drugs. Indeed, the primary source for drugs these days is our own medicine cabinets, not a dealer on a dark corner.

The panelists also opined that our society's overuse of prescription drugs for anxiety, sports injuries, learning disorders etc. has created a “pill culture” that has removed the stigma and/or fear of taking pills. Together, this has led to addiction and death. Simply put, more and more kids are dying from pills, not needles.

How do we Stop/Control It?

At the outset, we all must do a better job handling and discarding prescription medications – especially opioids. If an opioid prescription can be avoided or minimized, we should all do so.

Our communities also have unused prescription drop-off boxes and/or programs in place. When in doubt, bag up the pills and drop them off at the local police department for disposal – no questions asked.

Next, local Prevention Councils can help (see attached literature), as do School Resource Officers (SROs) or similar resources.

Lastly, we must all work to raise awareness of this crisis.

What is the Government Doing?

Last year I was proud to support PA 16 - 43, which tracks and limits the number of pills that can be prescribed in Connecticut. We were also able to secure a small $1 million “grant” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve opioid addiction treatment. Lastly, law enforcement has been a crucial partner in this fight, working to prosecute true dealers while helping true victims.

In addition to the attached literature, below are some additional resources/contacts:

For prescription opioid addiction treatment, call the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services at 1-800-563-4086 or visit Department of Mental Health.

Services are also available locally through:

Weston Youth Services PH: 203-222-2585
Mid Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition

I do not believe in government interference with a person’s personal preferences or choices. More importantly, the people in the 50 states can determine how they want their marriage and/or privacy laws to operate – the federal government should play no role in these decisions outside of the established federal Constitutional boundaries.

The United States and Israel

The strength, security and success of Israel are of vital and undeniable importance to the United States. My position concerning Israel has been and will continue to be consistent and straightforward: the United States must unabashedly aid, support and defend its greatest ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel. The strength, security and success of Israel is of vital importance to the United States, and whether elected or not to Congress, I will continue to support all three.

Foreign Aid for Israel

The United States must maintain our economic/foreign aid to Israel as a continuation of our decades-long commitment to assist Israel with its national security. Foreign aid also has a positive impact on our national economic interests by fomenting collaboration, invention and trade.

Supporting Israel

The United States should also continue to show unwavering support Israel. We must openly recognize the unique threats that Israel faces, and cease pandering to our joint enemies.

Indeed, the Iran nuclear deal was an incredible lapse of judgment by both the current administration and those in Congress who supported it. From the outset I penned “Op Eds” describing how the deal runs contrary to our constituency, our Constitution, and basic common sense. I stand by those opinions. If elected to Congress I will work to unwind the deal and replace and/or rescue it with prompt, strong and enforceable sanction provisions.

Simply put, the United States must show strength and resolve to keep our country and our allies safe, not veiled submission designed to create hollow content for a weak presidential legacy.

We must also support Israel by supporting a two state solution to the decades-long Palestinian conflict. While the United States can and should act as a conduit and/or facilitator, we must reject attempts to insert the UN and/or non-state actors into the center of the process. Israel must negotiate with a viable government that recognizes it's right to exist, and with the knowledge that the United States will support its withdrawal from any negotiations where Palestinian representatives try to "move the goalposts" by interjecting unreasonable repatriation/right of return demands.

Defending Israel

The United States must openly, vocally and repeatedly reaffirm our commitment to defend Israel from any invasion or attack. We should err on the side of defending our ally, and hold state sponsors of terrorism accountable by treating terrorist attacks against Israel as an attack against the United States.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) is a massive "free trade" agreement among the United States and 11 other countries that is still the subject of an important national debate.

Indeed, the TPP has become a proverbial political football that has bounced between political candidates, political pundits and political parties – all arguing about whether the pro-trade provisions of the deal are worth the surrender of legislative authority to the executive via “fast track” authority, coupled with a troubling surrender of our nation’s authority to foreign tribunals. When the political football comes to rest, however, the undeniable losers will be our country’s workers, our county’s environment, and our country’s sovereignty.

The TPP comes after years of negotiations between hundreds of trade “advisors” -- most representing foreign and domestic corporate interests -- that were closed to public comment, the United States Congress and the press. The end product is a thirty-chapter tome with only six chapters addressing traditional trade issues like customs and tariffs, and twenty-four chapters dealing with issues ranging from governance standards, patents and some environmental rules.

Significantly, while unelected “advisors” negotiated about how/whether U.S. workplace standards and environmental laws would be honored, our elected officials sat at home and waited for a report. When it finally came, our representatives in Congress (Jim Himes included) surrendered their duty to vet and refine the deal to President Obama by giving him “fast track” authority, limiting Congress to a mere yes or no vote. In an era when access to worldwide information sits on our cell phones, legislative scrutiny should not yield to executive secrecy and convenience. The rotten core of the TPP, however, is the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” process (“ISDS”). ISDS creates panels of three corporate lawyers (not independent judges) who decide disputes between member nations and/or their companies, but do so outside of the U.S. court system and in spite of U.S. law. Their guiding principles are the provisions of the TPP.

This panel will provide access to thousands of multinational corporations to sue the U.S. government and challenge U.S labor and environmental laws, thereby undermining the will of the U.S. electorate and import of U.S. domestic policy.

This panel can also award unlimited sums (including damages for “expected lost profits”) to be paid by American taxpayers when foreign corporations claim U.S. policies violate their new entitlements under TPP.

More importantly, this panel will protect large international investors and companies, but not the American worker. As noted by Senator Warren (D Mass) in her 2015 Op Ed: “if a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts.”

This is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue. Free and fair trade agreements must be pursued, but should not be paid for by a surrender of our national sovereignty and our national self-interest.

QUESTION 1: How fast should the US move from coal, nuclear, and natural gas to renewable sources of energy; and what can/should Congress do to speed up the conversion? (100-word limit):

The United States should make all efforts to move quickly and efficiently to renewable sources of energy. I am in environmental lawyer and head republican on the Connecticut General Assembly’s Environment Committee, so this issue has been at the center of my public service. Indeed, the transition to renewable energy is a proverbial “silver bullet” that can spark the next economic boom in this country and throughout the world. Not only can Congress fund research, it must pass long-term production tax credits to give investors and inventors needed confidence to develop and bring to market clean and affordable renewable energy.

QUESTION 2: What would you do to move federal law to improve disclosure of the actual names of campaign finance donors? (100-word limit):

Whether to donate and/or identify oneself as a donor has been protected in many circumstances as a form of free speech under our United States Constitution. Our options are limited. Still, I would support measures to make campaign finance simpler, sounder and more transparent. Indeed, our current federal representatives are the recipients of millions of dollars of PAC and special interest funds – the source of which is largely hidden from public view. Federal law should track some of Connecticut’s campaign/public financing laws concerning donors (which sadly are being undermined as of late) to promote transparency while avoiding many of the constitutional issues.

QUESTION 3: What federal laws would you favor to reduce gun violence? (100-word limit):

I am the only candidate with both a track record and standing to speak to this issue. In 2013 I helped craft and supported Connecticut’s bipartisan gun, mental health in school security bill, and have since proposed legislation to fund and amplify our efforts to stop the illegal interstate shipment of weapons into our cities – i.e., the primary ingredient of gun violence in our nation. I will make it a legislative priority to stop illegal gun trafficking across state lines. The federal government has failed on this front, as have our federal representatives. We need leadership and action -- not more excuses, pithy press stunts and histrionics.

Wages/Collective Bargaining; Work/Family

As a starting point, I have always supported people’s rights to organize and/or unionize as part of our inalienable rights under our First Amendment. This will never change. My wife is in a union, my father and grandfather were in a union, and the narrative that all republicans are anti-union union is ridiculous and dishonest pandering. Over the last six years in Hartford, we have considered limited and disconnected efforts to improve wages and help workers generally. Sadly, most of these measures have suffered from the same flaw – to wit, our failure to create a stable tax and regulatory structure so our economy grows, employers and employees thrive, and opportunities for all are created. We can and should raise the minimum wage once our economy starts to grow at a sustainable pace. Disconnected efforts and stand-alone bills, however, are designed to get press releases and votes, not to improve people’s lives. My approach has been, and will be, to focus on the entire patient not just individual symptoms. I have also supported appropriate state laws to prevent unfair employment practices. As a practicing attorney I have counseled employees, families and companies regarding FMLA, FLSA and ADEA issues and believe in the important mission underlying these laws. I have also witnessed, and take issue with, duplicative state and federal regulation and oversight, which often yield multiple audits that produce no results and/or push employers to near bankruptcy. I support federal models, which can be adopted by states under their separate sovereignty and tailored to the local understanding of their local workforce, employers and economy.

Retirement Security

I would support all realistic measures to ensure the sustainability of Social Security. This could include extending the age of eligibility for younger workers, coupled with some means testing for wealthy recipients. I have not been a fan of moving Social Security benefits outside of the current structure, but would listen to reasonable proposals if the model was limited and did not impact the stability of the larger program.

Occupational Safety

I believe most of these efforts can be run at the state level, but would still support a federal overlay for businesses engaged in interstate commerce.

Immigration

My position on immigration has been steady and long-term. We are a nation of immigrants, and we should celebrate this proud and enduring history. Congress is starting to move in the right direction on immigration reform, but is moving too slowly. We must stay away from blanket amnesty because giving a “free pass” to undocumented and/or illegal aliens is unfair to those folks who are going and have gone through the immigration process. Instead, I support a “step up and stand out” approach. Undocumented and/or illegal immigrants should identify themselves as such, where after they will be charged with a violation of our laws. The penalty for the violations, however, can be suspended and eventually erased if that person registers with ICE/USCIS, pays a small fine, pays taxes going forward, and thereafter goes through the immigration process from the “back of the line.” During this time period, these folks should not be subject to deportation unless they violate other laws or otherwise depart from the process.

Healthcare

The question regarding healthcare confuses healthcare with healthcare insurance. This is a common narrative that muddies the issue and does not solve problem. On healthcare insurance, the ACA is the wrong approach from the wrong level of government, and I would support repeal and/or a massive repair as discussed below. Indeed, the states can and must promote affordable healthcare insurance through programs tailored to state needs -- much the way Connecticut had been addressing the problem with our Husky and Charter Oak programs. Private and/or public insurance exchanges should be implemented, along with the reform of state law to clarify plan language and drive down physicians’ insurance premiums with some basic tort reform. How to tailor and execute these solutions is a state function. The federal government’s role in the affordable healthcare insurance solution is to require interstate competition across state lines among the nation’s numerous private insurance carriers. Indeed, despite there being scores of reputable insurance plans and programs in the United States, Connecticut residents have limited choices due to restrictive state mandates and licensing requirements.

Competition, clarity and tort reform will drive down costs and promote access, not another blunderbuss federal program.

Civil Rights

I have always supported and will support measures to protect civil rights and basic fairness. I have not been a supporter, however, of legislation that creates additional avenues of liability, needless lawsuits and overregulation. Our existing laws are robust and scalable to capture most of the issues you mention in your questionnaire. Should new federal laws be needed and appropriate, I will support them wholeheartedly.

* * *

On a broader perspective, I am a team builder and problem solver, not a political partisan. I have witnessed how poor fiscal policies result in bad public policy – both in Hartford and Washington. Connecticut is the wealthiest state per capita, but is ranked at the bottom of every economic metric. We are cutting school and hospital funding, and employers and people are fleeing our state. Many of the issues raised in the questionnaire persist because of (i) poor fiscal policies at the federal and state level, (ii) a top down, one size fits all approach to governance that is antithetical to our American heritage, and (iii) a lack of leadership to right our course.

My core mission is to improve the lives of all citizens by improving the management of our resources – and specifically, keeping local dollars in the hands of local officials (Ds and/or Rs) to solve local needs. The days of sending the feds our dollars to then beg for pennies back to fund our local needs must stop. Couple this approach with a stable tax and regulatory structure, and our economy will grow, employers and employees will thrive, and the promise and prosperity of Connecticut and the United States will return.

"Tesla Bill"

As a State Representative I opposed the Tesla bill because it called for the creation of a special exception to our franchise/dealer laws for a new industry player to the exclusion of long-term industry participants. While I believe in reducing regulation to allow for new and innovative marketing techniques, the rules have to be applied uniformly to all market participants. Should the bill be presented again before my term ends in January 2017, I will oppose it again. On the related topic of electric vehicles, I support and wholeheartedly endorse any and all efforts by industry and government (where appropriate) to promote the expansion of electric vehicle use. I am an environmental lawyer, and the Ranking Member (i.e., minority/republican chair) on Connecticut’s Environment Committee. The state and federal government can help with production tax credits and/or easing auto regulations that are outdated/inapplicable to electric vehicles.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

On CFPB, I am not in favor of the government interjecting itself between the customer, the retailer and the lender regarding their decision on whether and/or how to finance a purchase. While usury and unfair trade practice laws should continue to apply, the collateral attack by CFPB “guidance” against dealers is overreaching and assumes incorrectly that customers are too ignorant to shop around for the best deal.

Likewise, the notion that CFPB is trying to protect against “unintentional discrimination” is illusory and/or misplaced, because the net effect of the CFPBs actions is government-imposed price controls. Indeed, statements from CFPB spokesmen in defense of their actions, stating that dealers “should be compensated for their work” (but only as much as a government deems appropriate), are both telling and alarming.

Dealer Financing Reserve Bill

I would support legislation, such as the Dealer Financing Reserve bill, to curtail and/or block such government overreach. I would also oppose and/or limit the used car recall/trade in bill because it is the proverbial 100-pound solution to a 10-pound problem. It devalues customers’ trade ins, and interferes yet again in a commercial decision best left to dealers and resellers. It could also degrade public safety because vehicles subject to a recall might now be sold in private sales, often to unknowing purchasers.

Lastly, the proposed changes to LIFO accounting and deductibility is flawed, regressive and yet another tax on businesses and employers. Likewise, I would oppose efforts to increase the excise tax on trucks. Our federal government needs to curtail spending, not continually look for new sources of revenue.
* * *
On a broader perspective, the central theme of my candidacy is to put "Connecticut First" -- a mission and slogan I adopted two years ago.

Indeed, Connecticut residents send nearly the most to Washington per capita, get back nearly the least in rate of return, and are then told by the feds how to spend what’s left of our money for our state and local needs. It is no wonder why so many of our roads, programs and schools are either broke or broken. Meanwhile the state and federal governments grow and spend, and are cannibalizing the private sector and businesses to pay for the reckless growth of the public sector.

I want return/adjust the relationship between our state and federal governments so we can better manage our own resources in Connecticut by the people we elect (Ds and Rs) in Connecticut. My proposed “tax short circuit” bill will make a large step in this direction, and is detailed on our site along with my positions on other issues.

Bottom line, a stable tax and regulatory structure will allow our economy to grow, employers and employees to thrive, and the promise and prosperity of Connecticut and the United States to return.