"Brian’s heart is enormous and his concern for Connecticut is genuine. He is inherently compassionate but understands that the General Assembly needs to address the very practical concern of Connecticut’s fiscal situation. Brian sees how the twin demons of high taxes and a weak economy are affecting the state: people are leaving Connecticut; businesses threaten to leave or actually leave the state; and the shrinking population is left to foot the bill for social services necessitated by a stagnant economy."
KAREN DIGNACCO - SHARON, CT
THE ISSUES WE FACE
As a member of the Appropriations Committee I have a front row seat to budget negotiations and I am dedicated to fiscal accountability. I am one of only a handful of freshman legislators who were able to secure a seat on this coveted committee. Connecticut has faced years of financial instability and burdensome tax increases. When I am in Hartford, I ask the tough questions and I hold people accountable. We need to focus our attention on the careless spending that has been commonplace in state government for far too long. I am confident that if we can focus our attention on creating and passing a budget that is sustainable and affordable, one that holds the line on frivolous spending, then we can begin to pay down our outstanding debts and pension obligations. If we can prove to investors (new families and businesses) that we are a state that is steered by leaders who believe in true fiscal accountability, and who have made the necessary structural changes with regard to pension reform and public spending, then I am confident that you will see the outward migration slow and eventually reverse course. We need to fight for a future that we can afford.
As a member of the Public Safety and Security I am dedicated to protecting every man, woman, and child who calls Connecticut their home. I've spent all of my adult life serving as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. I served twelve years as a U.S. Army soldier, including two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Since my military enlistment ended in 2013, I've remained committed to public safety, performing risk assessments and security assessment at numerous schools and hospitals, and countless commercial establishments. Today, I co-chair the Fire/EMS Caucus in Hartford, working hard to defend the rights and policies that our brave First Responders deserve. I also led an initiative to form the School Safety Legislative Working Group. This group is focused on creating policies and guidelines that ensure our schools are best prepared for 21st Century threats.
As a member of the Human Services Committee I am dedicated to social responsibility. The overall health, welfare, and education of our friends, families, and neighbors is paramount for our survival. I have fought hard to ensure that tuitions at our state universities and community colleges remain affordable. I continue to challenge University administrators who choose to dramatically increase the salaries and bonuses of their Professors which in return only raises our children's tuition rates. I have maintained a close relationship with the amazing counselors and advocates at Susan B. Anthony Project and Women's Support Services. Together, we were able to reform Connecticut's antiquated Dual Arrest laws and ensure that victims are empowered and confident enough to call for help without the worry of being wrongfully accused and/or arrested. I will continue to fight to eliminate Connecticut's Statute of Limitations. Victims should be able to come forward and speak out about their abuse and assault at a time when they feel comfortable and empowered enough to do so. I realize investigations are harder to conduct as more time passes by but I feel the current Statutes do not allow enough time.
As a member of the Rural Caucus I am dedicated to improving our infrastructure, rebuilding our roads and bridges, and bringing 21st Century technology into our homes and businesses. I am working diligently to enhance our cell phone coverage in the Northwest Corner. In 2018 there is simply no excuse for 'dead zones' and I continue to fight for broader coverage and increased Wi-Fi bandwidth. Fiber Optic technology is an expensive but necessary resource if we want to connect our homes and businesses with the speed and quality that is needed to operate a modern-day business. These investments must be strategically planned and phased-in over time. I am also seeking the necessary funds to replace the railroad infrastructure that is needed to accommodate passenger train service in the Northwest Corner. The current rail system is over 120 years old and is in dire need of replacement. If this upgrade is done properly, with a welded a rail system, there is an increasing chance that limited passenger train service could once again bring travelers and new revenue to our area. Our younger generation is always looking for new and exciting adventures to embark on and tourists of all ages have consistently chosen rail travel when planning their day-long or weekend trips.
As a member of the Conservation and Development Subcommittee I am constantly advocating to protect our environment and preserve our Open Space. I am proud to have supported the preservation of hundreds of acres of Open Space in Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Salisbury, and Sharon. I am keenly aware of just how precious our environment is. As a proponent and advocate of the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals I educate my colleagues and various municipal leaders as to the delicate balance between man, machine, and Mother Earth. We must be doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint, monitor our current air and water levels, and lead the way towards sustainable renewable energy, further reducing our dependence on carbon-based fuels.