While Connecticut has done well containing the spread of Covid-19, our top priority for the next legislative session must be to continue to ensure the safety of our communities, while providing economic relief to small businesses and working families. The state will need to oversee robust testing, adequate personal protective equipment for essential workers and strict monitoring of proven good health practices, like wearing masks and social distancing. The legislature will also need to provide new state economic relief to supplement federal programs. We must be certain that resources are directed where most needed, not like earlier federal relief programs where massive amounts were siphoned off by hedge funds, major league sports teams and corporate chains.
I believe reforms need to take place and that's why I voted for the Take Back Our Grid Act, which seeks to hold utility companies accountable for their actions and practices, additionally adding further oversight and restitution for customers who suffer extended power outages. It's a good first step in ensuring we are protecting our constituents, not the shareholders of Eversource.
The impact of the pandemic has brought the need for affordable health care into even sharper focus. Many people lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs. And now, with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republicans are emboldened to repeal Obamacare and strip healthcare away from millions of Americans. No matter what happens with Trump, states will be the next line of defense when it comes to protecting care for people in our state.
Connecticut's economy will suffer unless its residents and businesses have access to high quality, affordable health insurance. I've fought to cap the cost of insulin this summer and won; We still need to address other ways to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. One way is to allow the state to leverage its heft in the marketplace to provide Connecticut employers the best quality and most efficient health plan choices possible. The bottom line -- Connecticut residents should have access to the same health care plan legislators give themselves.
I will work in Hartford to ensure we are fully funding our public schools and delivering state funds to build schools in New Fairfield and a new school in Danbury -- the Danbury Career Academy. It’s our responsibility to make sure all of the students in our district have a good education. This means we must tackle problems, like technology issues (access to laptops and internet). We need to hire teachers that reflect the diversity of our students, particularly our English Language Learners.
I strongly believe that free public education for everyone is the cornerstone of our communities and our democracy and all kids deserve to thrive in our public school system. Taking into account the challenges we’ve had funding our schools, I believe that our public school district has demonstrated that it has been able to do more with less. That’s why we need to fund our public schools fully and make sure our children receive a great education no matter what school they are attending.
In 2019, we passed legislation to protect our environment – banning single-use plastic bags, establishing a fund to protect against invasive species in Candlewood Lake and other lakes and rivers, and appropriating funds for local air quality monitoring impacted by the Cricket Valley power plant. I want to build on these environmental victories and move forward to restrict the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticides that threaten the health of our state.