Support for the autism community must be bipartisan

From the late 1980s and early 1990s, awareness about autism increased because of the hard work by families, professionals, and self-advocates. As a result, the community became powerful enough to influence the U.S. Congress. Since those eras, more methods like Affinity Therapy and Lego Therapy has been accepted and old methods like Applied Behavior Analysis improved to help future generations. As someone who is majoring as a disability specialist, I am excited to work for the autism community. Despite this excitement, I have a fear in the back of my mind. It involves the current political climate of the country and the possibility of autism policies becoming more partisan, instead of something legislators in both parties generally support.

Overcoming Citizens’ United will require a bipartisan solution

Thirty-nine Connecticut General Assembly candidates, have pledged to vote in 2019 legislative session for the Free and Fair Elections Resolution, which would make Connecticut the sixth state to call for a national convention for the exclusive purpose of proposing a commonsense, nonpartisan U.S. Constitutional amendment on federal campaign finance reform.

Full circle

I was a post-war baby, raised in the 1950s in a racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, sexually repressed, theocratic America. Civil rights for people of color and “queers” were non-existent. Women’s rights were virtually unknown and women’s liberation was widely regarded as a plot to destroy the American family. Legal abortion was more than a decade away and even providing contraceptives to married couples was illegal until 1965 when, in the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared this prohibition an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

On improving youth voter turnout: It starts with us.

Democracy functions best when all citizens lend their voice with their vote. Regardless of ideology, affiliation, or age, we better ourselves when all voices are heard. Other countries enjoy consistently high turnout rates (Norway, Sweden, and Belgium hover around 80 percent), incentivizing elected officials to represent all of their constituents. Here, turnout barely reaches 60 percent, and we need to do better.

Let’s spend transportation money on… transportation

Should money intended for transportation projects be spent on transportation projects? I think so. As far back as December 2015, the General Assembly was discussing the importance of ensuring that funding in the Special Transportation Fund (STF) be used “solely for transportation purposes.” In 2017, the House and Senate turned this matter over to the electors in a ballot measure. Now it is up the citizens of Connecticut to answer the question.

The Connecticut Mirror’s shallow and biased analysis

I have read numerous articles by the Connecticut Mirror that routinely lay the blame for our unfunded health and retirement benefits on under-saving for these plans for decades. While this is true, it ignores the fact that the unions were complicit in this under-funding and other significant contributing factors. State pension and healthcare agreements are rife with abuse. 

Medicaid is essential to Connecticut and the rest of America

Medicaid is an essential part of America’s safety net and is relied on by many millions of working families, children, and people with disabilities in our country. It helps fund hospitals and doctors that deliver health care to people who would otherwise be unable to pay. Without Medicaid, providers would still have to offer these services; they would just have to absorb the cost, hurting the system overall. Medicaid also provides an economic boost to the states, with the federal government covering most of the costs, pumping millions into state economies.

What happened in Kansas is a cautionary tale for Connecticut

Imagine, if you will, a state that was unable to draw itself out of the deep recession of 2008. Neighboring states fared better and were chugging along at a nice clip. Talking about Connecticut? Well, it could be, but, actually the state I was referring to is Kansas. There is a reason why some candidates for governor here talk about Kansas.

Raise the age limit to purchase tobacco and e-cigarettes

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is right to be concerned about the increased number of high school students vaping. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in our nation, and e-cigarettes offer youths an opportunity to begin a harmful and lifelong addiction to tobacco, newly fueled by attractive devices and kid-targeted flavors. While we are glad to see that the FDA is being more transparent about the potential dangers of e-cigarettes, it’s clear that we must act quickly and decisively on the state and local levels to protect our children from these products.

Protect CT’s public lands with transparency. Vote yes on Question 2

Who benefits from Connecticut’s treasured public lands? Everyone. For many in our state, public lands like Hammonasset Beach, Heublein Tower, Gillette Castle, and Sleeping Giant, are the only resource to enjoy the outdoors and open space, making State Forests and Parks invaluable to our communities and the state as a whole. Public lands are here for everyone. That’s why most Connecticut State Parks and Forests are free, providing local places for relaxation, inspiration, and for kids to explore and learn about nature. On Nov. 6, you have the chance to vote yes on Question #2 to protect your state parks, forests, and other valuable public lands from being sold, swapped or given away without a public hearing. That will ensure public lands remain public and open for everyone.

S.O.S. Save Connecticut from insolvency

It’s time we all acknowledge Connecticut’s grievous financial condition. It is not simply a matter of the legislature needing to confront budget deficits of $2 billion in 2019 and $2.6 billion in 2020. No – there is a far bigger problem; Connecticut is insolvent. Its debts are $70 billion bigger than its assets. This equates to $53,400 per taxpayer or $19,500 for each and every resident of the Nutmeg State.