Why am I running for state office?
That's the first question I'm asked, whether I'm among old friends or people I am meeting for the first time.
This is the question we should ask every candidate. It's a question that deserves a full answer.
A Gallup poll last month said only 10 percent of Americans approve of Congress. As I've been walking and knocking on doors these past few weeks, I've heard some anger and disgust voiced on the state of politics in Stratford, in Connecticut and in the country.
I like to look at who benefits from any given action or idea. Let's take a look at who benefits when I am elected and sitting in the legislature:
- Regular people: I'm a Democrat. I believe that the people who built this country -- you and me and our parents and all the people who have lived, worked and raised their families here -- deserve to be represented. Big corporations have been trying to sell off our country and buy off our democracy. It's your interests I represent, not the interests of corporate greed.
- Your children: If you have children, I want them to get a good public education and the opportunity to go to a community or state college without taking on enormous debt. I want them to have the same opportunities I had for a decent education.
- Our environment: I want to fully fund the DEEP programs and get our air and water cleaned up. We don't need to breathe in poisons or eat unsafe food.
I am part of Stratford. My husband and I had a choice about where we wanted to live. We chose to move here because Stratford is a great town. We were attracted by the shoreline, by the great neighborhoods and by the feel of the town.
The core of Stratford is its residents; there is a real sense of community here. Two hours after we closed on our home, my new neighbor knocked on the door to welcome us, bringing fresh cut azaleas from his garden.
But other actions and decisions haven't been so positive. There is almost a sense of obstruction: a vote against raising the minimum wage, a vote against programs for victims of domestic abuse, and a vote against openness in campaign financing. Beyond these votes, there's been inaction on current state measures that could help Stratford: the Energy Improvement Districts and ECS funding are just two examples.
I have been active in labor and civil rights issues since my high school years. That means that for over 40 years I have stood up for my rights as a woman for equal pay and the right to make my own health care decisions. I have stood next to my co-workers on pickets lines; I have stood next to strangers on their picket lines. I have organized demonstrations against some of Connecticut's biggest
corporations who pay NO FEDERAL income tax. I have volunteered with animal rescue groups and with Planned Parenthood. I have been a member of NOW, SEIU, and AAUW.
I don't expect that we will agree on every single issue; that's normal and discussion can open our eyes to new concepts. But I hope we do agree on a basic set of values:
- Middle class and working families are the backbone of our democracy.
- Our government exists for the public benefit and has a duty to provide basic services to us.
- To pay for our government services, everyone needs to chip in for their fair share.
Why am I running?
I'm running for you.