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.

Voters should reject the ‘lock box’ ruse

Every state relies on its transportation network to drive economic development and maximize quality of life. For this reason, insufficient transportation funding and mismanagement of spending on projects presents a major roadblock to Connecticut’s economic recovery.
The unacceptable state of our infrastructure has a direct impact on all residents, making commuting a nightmare while constraining existing businesses and dooming many newer ones. A study by U.S. News & World Report named Connecticut’s transportation system the third worst in the nation overall, with the very worst road quality out of all 50 states. Meanwhile, rail and bus services are threatened with cuts on an almost annual basis.

Gov. Malloy, you can grant parolees the right to vote

Six months ago, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that provisionally pardoned the people on parole in the state – 35,000 in all. It was the fact that the New York State Assembly had just refused to refranchise paroled would-be voters that motivated Cuomo to take bold action. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy needs to follow Cuomo’s example and take action by himself to restore voting rights to people who are currently on parole in Connecticut.

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.

Eliminate the Board of Regents? Nonsense before every election

As sure as “death and taxes,” the question of whether the Board of Regents for Higher Education should exist reemerges every time there is a statewide election. The arguments to dissolve the BOR usually fall along one of two lines: “Dan Malloy created it, therefore it’s bad” or “the System Office does nothing, it is a waste of money, we are just fine on our own.” The State of Connecticut is better off having merged its public higher education system. Period. We are an example of what works in Connecticut.

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.

Call to candidates: Let’s make Connecticut No. 1 in mental health services again

Connecticut has long been a national leader in how we view and deliver mental health and substance use disorder treatment. We have been at the forefront for many years of legislation known as “parity” that puts these health conditions on equal footing with physical health. Our roots in this field go all the way back to the grandfather of mental health reform, Clifford Beers, who was from New Haven and founded the first-of-its-kind nonprofit that became Mental Health Connecticut in 1908 before founding Mental Health America a year later. In 1913, Beers also founded what is now known as the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven. But in recent years, our status as a leader on this issue has begun to slip.

Immigration, what happened to valuing humanity?

Whether you are liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican or independent, most all of us would agree that comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue in this country. With a Congress unwilling or unable to tackle this need for many years, the issue persists unresolved. With that said, another issue has emerged in our new political climate that challenges our American value of respect and humane treatment for all people.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation — A seismic shift in political power

The ugly battle is over. By a slim margin and largely along party lines, Brett Kavanaugh has replaced the moderate Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, theoretically solidifying a 5-4 conservative majority. Here are the salient points from this landmark battle.

The one thing all candidates can agree on

There is not much consensus among our gubernatorial candidates this election cycle, but one topic that appears to have generated genuine agreement is that Connecticut needs to do more to ensure our state has the talent it needs for the economy to thrive.  It seems every day we read about manufacturers that have thousands of unfilled jobs due to the lack of skilled workers.   We have a burgeoning start-up community that is straining to keep growing companies here because they cannot find enough software engineers at their fingertips.  State leaders warn all sectors are at risk without a more skilled and robust cyber security workforce in place.  The Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth finds the largest disparity in workforce supply and demand is among healthcare practitioners.