CONNECTICUT — The 2020 election is heating up in Connecticut and there are plenty of races with candidates eager to serve in elected office. Eyes are primarily focused on the presidential election, but every state representative and senate seat is up for grabs. All five of Connecticut’s congressional seats are up for grabs as well.
There are 151 seats in the state House of Representatives and 36 in the state Senate. Democrats currently hold majorities in both chambers with a 91 to 60 lead over Republicans in the House and a 22 to 14 lead in the Senate.
Connecticut Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as Election Day draws near.
Carla Volpe, a Trumbull resident, is running for House of Representatives District 134.
Party affiliation: Democratic Party
Family: Mathias Volpe, husband, 30
Hunter Volpe, daughter, 3
Occupation: Public school teacher, 15 years
Previous elected experience: Appointed — Trumbull Arts Commission
Family members in government: No
Campaign website: www.carlaforct.com
The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Our single most pressing issue is clearly the impact that the COVID crisis will have on the state. Legislative action will be called for on so many different levels that it is — quite frankly — a bit daunting to even wrap one’s head around it.
Beyond the need for new and creative legislative actions on business, health care, our burning social issues and the environment, the state will be facing tremendously difficult choices in relation to taxes — both in terms of the money coming into the state’s coffers and how to best spend the dollars that must necessarily be going out to cope with this radically changed business and cultural climate.
To say or think that I have a bag of ready solutions in place for these unforeseen issues and towering problems would be political posturing of the worst sort.
But, to answer your question … what I “intend to do about it” is to be as hard-working, open-minded and creative as possible and then be as collegial as possible once I get to Hartford.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
My primary complaint about Laura Devlin is that her response to any proposal and suggestion for change is always “No.”
“No” accurately describes just about every statement and vote she has taken for the past six years in relation to the many creative solutions proposed for the state’s pressing and critical issues.
She recently said “It’s not always about pushing good legislation, sometimes it’s about stopping bad legislation.” Well, one cannot just “stop bad legislation” all the time otherwise no laws would be made. If Laura Devlin wants to oppose bills she disagrees with, fine, but have an alternative solution to the problem. Laura Devlin does not have solutions to our state’s problems.
These issues call for an open mind and an open heart.
Laura Devlin clearly has neither.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I am a public-school teacher and I find it incomprehensible that just seven of the 151 legislators in the current state House are teachers.
Education is the single largest expense taxpayers face during these turbulent times and the critical decisions being made about this all-important issue (what could be more important than the proper education of our children!) are being made in Hartford.
While I will certainly be a novice legislator if elected, I can assure you that I am not a novice when it comes to any and all issues surrounding education — locally and statewide.
I have hard-core, substantive “boots on the ground” experience (and opinions) in relation to education and I think that the perspective and passion I will bring to Hartford on all things related to education could not but help improve the state’s response to the challenges we will face in the next two years — including, but not limited to COVID.
Do you believe Connecticut needs reform when it comes to electric utility oversight? What steps, if any should be taken?
Our political clichés say that Republicans balk at any type of business regulation while Democrats push for them. But I fall into neither of these camps.
I do, however, believe that whenever restrictions become necessary, they should be enacted in the most well-informed, intelligent and judicious manner possible.
That said, the recent inadequate response to the storm in Connecticut and the cavalier way in which utilities regularly lobby to increase their already exorbitant rates are surely red flags calling for some much-needed oversight.
More experienced and well-informed legislators will surely be addressing these issues in the coming House session and I am committed to doing all the hard work necessary to investigate, understand and then decide on what I believe to be the best course of action in relation to utility company oversight and regulation as those solutions reach the floor of the House.
What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses?
The next session will need a laser focus on our state budget and the economic recovery that needs to occur for small businesses across our state. We need to research low-interest (or no interest) loans to small businesses — similar to the federal PPP loans, and generally making it easier to have a business in Connecticut.
I am an educator and I believe with all my heart in the power of learning. I am also committed to my own very personal brand of political ethics.
Whatever proposed solutions are offered to the tremendous economic challenges that the state of Connecticut will face in the coming years, you can rest assured that I will be as diligent and as thorough as possible in my efforts to learn all I can about those proposed solutions and then to vote as my conscience tells me to vote on them.
List other issues that define your campaign platform:
My husband and I have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter, Hunter. If there is one thing that defines my decision to run in this campaign, it is my desire to ensure that Connecticut is the kind of state where Hunter can continue to grow, live and thrive.
So … here’s my campaign platform in a nutshell: I want to make sure that Hunter and all the other 3-year-olds living in Connecticut have the resources and the incentives that they need today to ensure them the best life possible in the future.
(And you don’t get from here to there by always saying “No.”)
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I am so proud by the broad support I have received from all across the political spectrum. I have, of course, been nominated by the Democratic Party to run for this seat, but I have also been cross-endorsed by the normally Republican-endorsing Independent Party along with the left-leaning Working Families Party. I will be the only candidate in all of Fairfield County to appear on three ballot lines and I plan to take this wide range of support to Hartford when I’m elected state representative for the 134th House District.