It is obvious that arts and culture keep our towns and cities hopping and vital, especially when you see restaurants filled on nights that theater, museums and galleries have events. Our elected leaders understand how important arts, culture and creativity are for building strong communities. Candidates are also learning that over 90 percent of Connecticut’s arts and culture supporters vote. With this year’s gubernatorial election in high gear, as well as many other legislative races, it’s important that we hear from the candidates on these issues, particularly as Connecticut’s funding for arts and culture has continually declined, bucking the national trend and while surrounding states are increasing their investment. This is a missed opportunity to have a real impact on our state’s economic health, our education system, and quality of life.
Twenty five years ago Hamden was a healthy, thriving town with generally happy residents. Taxes were manageable, schools were good and the town had excellent services. Town workers were fairly paid and got great benefits, particularly top-notch, town-funded health care and a generous defined-benefit pension plan. The Hamden real estate market had its ups and downs but was as strong as most in the area. Unfortunately, decades of miss-management and union commiseration have reversed the town’s strong prognosis.
I arrived home from classes excited about the warm weather that guaranteed I would play soccer with my friends that evening. As I was finishing my reading assignment for 10th grade English, I received a phone call from my mom informing me my dad was at the police station for a minor traffic violation. Naively I thought to myself, “He’ll be home tonight,” but as I entered the lobby I was greeted by my mother with tears racing down her face. Immediately, my heart sank as I heard the words, “They called ICE on him, he’s being deported.”
When the Democratic Party ramped up its attacks on Russia during and immediately after the 2016 election, the rhetoric was reminiscent of that used during the Cold War. It portended the hysterical reaction being displayed by political leaders (including our own congressional delegation), the media, neo-cons, and most astonishingly, “liberals” who, after years of rejecting the duplicity of U.S. intelligence agencies and criticizing the U.S. government for its treachery in other countries, now suddenly embrace the establishment’s narrative without any thoughtful analysis.
“Train time is your own time” was the old marketing slogan of Metro-North, encouraging commuters to kick back and enjoy the ride while reading, working or taking a snooze. But in reality, train time is shared time. They don’t call it “mass transit” for nothing as passengers much share their space with a hundred other commuters on each rail car.
As we shake our heads and wring our hands over the obsequious behavior of President Trump at his “diplomatic” summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and try to decipher and explain such behavior, it would seem that we are probably just nurturing anxiety in full knowledge of the reason(s) for such behavior and its unspeakable implications for our country and political-economic system.
For decades, a wealth of research has taught us that our nation is at its strongest when we make sound investments in our children and young people. Now, new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book confirm what history has already shown: failing to invest in children and families deprives our state and nation of a robust future.
Aaron, his mother, and I sit together in my pediatric primary care office. He is 16 years old. We discuss his sleep schedule, nutrition, and after-school activities. He’s trying out for the football team, and we talk a lot about concussion safety. He is doing well in school. His physical exam is completely normal. He’s the picture of health — normal weight, blood pressure is perfect, heart sounds are steady and regular, his muscles and joints ready for football practice. I make sure he is up to date with his immunizations. But what I don’t see in his exam —and what Aaron and I need to talk about— are the three most common causes of death in his age group: 1) accidents 2) suicide 3) homicide.
Today, Connecticut exports over $14 billion worth of goods to every part of the world, including transportation equipment, manufactured goods, electronic products and electrical equipment. The state’s major exporters include one of our premier companies, Pratt & Whitney, which employs more than 9,500 state residents with worldwide revenues topping $14 billion. Pratt’s commercial airplane engines currently power more than 25 percent of the world’s passenger aircraft fleet with customers in 160 countries.
Republicans will likely do for Connecticut what they have done for other states and at national level: namely, cut taxes for their wealthy donors, make it harder to vote, make abortion inaccessible, reduce public employee pensions, promote private schools and vouchers, bust unions, loosen gun controls, allow discrimination again, break down the wall between church and State, cut social programs including health care, but ramp up corporate welfare.