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League of Women Voters of Norwalk Voters Guide: State House Candidates for 140th

The election is Nov. 6.

NORWALK, Conn. — The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization dedicated to voter education, has put together an election guide that includes a Q&A section with candidates in each legislative race that involves Norwalk, except District 141, as State Rep. Terrie Wood is running unopposed.

“The answers come directly from the candidates and are printed unedited by local leagues,” the League states.

Here are the unedited responses from the three candidates for State Representative in Connecticut’s 140th district, in alphabetical order:

 

Candidate John Flynn (R)

LWV: What are your top three legislative priorities?  Why these?

JF: I have a goal of due process, equal protection under the law, and basic civil rights. They are my three legislative priorities.

I am an experienced Pro-se litigator.  I have filed 250 court cases in Superior Court and Federal Court, and 50 appeals in the Appeals Court.  Judges have ruled on cases in which the Judges themselves were appointed by the Defendant, our Governor. Fst cv 5014296.

The second major problem with the State is that it doesn’t enforce the law.   The Charter Oak is rotting at its heart. Connecticut needs a trained arborist. The law is not written to protect your rights.   The law is flawed.  Our State doesn’t even enforce the Cannons of Judicial Conduct.  The Sate Police look the other way.

I am a jack of all trades and renaissance man. That’s what we need.

The Office of the Claims Commissioner, The Statewide Grievance Counsel, DCF, the State Banking and Securities Division, and other Departments of the State are ethically bankrupt.  As a result, we have lost confidence and companies like GE. Many of these State agencies have no accountability, all have immunity, and none are efficient.   We simply can’t tax ourselves out of these problems. We cannot shift the burden to the next generation. The Municipalities equally are to blame.

We need to save the State from Financial ruin.  The pension liability, and the shrinking tax base are problems that a person with an MBA in finance, like me, can figure out.  I am uniquely qualified to assist the legislature.

LWV: What alternative revenue streams are you suggesting to keep Connecticut fiscally sound for years to come?

JF: We need to legalize marijuana immediately and collect a billion dollars, just like Colorado, tax it.  More importantly, the opioid epidemic is gigantic. 78 people over dosed in one day on the New Haven Green.  We pay for all the treatments and services.

Cut taxes, that will add revenue and increase investment.

Alternative revenue streams, we need clean alternative energy sources.  For example. Manressa is sitting in my back yard, a hazardous waste dump.  We need to retrofit it, convert it to a natural gas facility, create 300 jobs, and sell the excess electricity through the existing line to Long Island.  We can generate $240 million in taxes, move the businesses from the upper harbor, and save $300 million on the Walk Bridge Ct-DOT project overnight.  Do it.

Then we must compensate the 400 existing businesses under the Walk Bridge, so they don’t go bankrupt over the six-year CT Dot Walk Bridge Project.  Do it.

We need to change the regulation for the listing requirements of NASDAQ and the listed exchanges, so companies can attract investors with less regulation.  I witnessed 5,000 small biotech companies fail when regulation took away their ability to raise capital.  We need to bring back the ability to grow businesses.   We need access to capital that is restricted by listing requirements.   That is of itself is a tremendous revenue stream.

I am uniquely qualified to explain economics to Colin and Travis.

LWV: Would you support establishing an independent citizen’s redistricting commission–similar to California’s– to draw new legislative district lines after the 2020 Census?  Why or why not?

JF: I would not follow in the footsteps of California.  They were a great State 20 years ago.  The question itself is suspect.  Abe Lincoln lost the popular vote.   Thanks to the Electoral College, he won.  Where would be? Back in the Stone age with Saudi Arabia.  It’s a power grab.   Let them in, get their vote, and use them for cheap labor.

Why not? They screwed themselves now they want more power for screwing themselves.  Now they are screwing us because they need to pay for all the social ills they created.  They want a bigger piece of the pie after reckless spending.   The problem with borrowing money is that you must pay it back.  California has defaulted, and they want other fiscally responsible States to bail them out.  CT is next to fail.

Who idea was this question?  Please give me their telephone number and name.   We have 40 real issues in the 140.  What is your agenda?   Teach the kids history. Don’t change the history books to program the kids.

LWV: What are your ideas on how to increase Norwalk’s share of Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) funding?

JF: ECS is based on a town’s ability to pay.   The system is completely flawed.

Layoffs, tax hikes. and budget concerns are increasing not decreasing.   Government grants have been reduced and are in jeopardy.   The City keeps building housing and thinks borrowing money and giving tax incentives is smart.  It’s not smart.   More and more kids register and Rilling’s crony’s get tax incentives squeezing the City’s budget.  More students with less taxes, and less teachers. Bad idea.   The Housing Authority is a disaster.  We are not attracting upwardly-mobile people, we are a welfare State and a Sanctuary City.   Look at the projects. Go to Harbor View. Go to the 30 building complexes.

Special needs kids are getting hit the hardest. Wait till the Mall fails, and the Walk Bridge destroys half the business in the Downtown.  30 new restaurants and 70 new stores, with and all the increased costs.

Read the latest superintendent report and the recent complaint. ECS allows towns to shift money to none educational purposes.

Lets assume $16.700 is spent on each child in school each year.   The only way to save the educational system is to incentivize parents to move the kids to private school. If the City gave $8,000 per student to enroll in private school, many parents would make the move and save the City $8,500 per student.  That is the only realistic economic alternative.

 

Candidate Colin Hosten (Working Families Party)

LWV: What are your top three legislative priorities?  Why these?

CH: There are some very important state-level initiatives that we can take to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people here in Norwalk. 1) The question of affordability is a big one for many of us. I’m proud that Norwalk is growing, at a time when many towns in Connecticut are struggling to grow. But I also want to make sure that that growth doesn’t penalize our lower income neighbors. As our State Representative, I would support smart, sustainable development that prioritizes an affordable and inclusive Norwalk. 2) I’m also particularly passionate about public education. I know that when we invest properly in public education, we’re investing in long-term economic growth. Connecticut has some of the best performing district in the country, but we also have one of the largest education gaps. No child should be robbed of educational opportunities because of his or her ZIP code. That’s why I strongly support the plan to build more classroom space in South Norwalk. This will be the first public school built in Norwalk in almost 50 years. It still baffles me that Councilman Simms voted against it.  3) And, not least, we need to take a responsible approach to environmental sustainability at the state level, especially in a coastal city when it comes to our changing climate, and the wellbeing of our families who live near South Norwalk’s industrial zones.

LWV: What alternative revenue streams are you suggesting to keep Connecticut fiscally sound for years to come?

CH: One example is that I would love for Connecticut to reconceptualize our costly and ineffective drug policy by rethinking our approach on low-level offenses, and taxing the regulated recreational use of marijuana. I also believe that Connecticut can refashion our state as a hub for energy in the 21st century, by incentivizing an efficient transition towards 100% renewable energy and meaningfully funding a “green bank” that subsidizes investments in renewable energy and creates a competitive economic landscape for renewable energy companies. The best part is that a progressive approach to energy creates a win-win situation when it comes to energy sector employment. But when it comes to sound fiscal policy, it’s not always about finding new revenue streams. My long-term goal is to dispel the myth that investment in social and public programs comes at the cost of what some conservatives have the nerve to call fiscal responsibility. Data abounds at macro and micro levels to show that when the state makes a point of protecting and supporting the interests of its most economically vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, it promotes long-term economic growth overall. Policies like increasing minimum wage to a livable level and committed investment in public infrastructure—especially our ailing Metro North system—have the win-win effect of stabilizing state budgets while also empowering working class families. I am strongly against most regressive taxes that unfairly punish low-income families and essentially allow the top 3% to hold the state hostage.

LWV: Would you support establishing an independent citizen’s redistricting commission—similar to California’s—to draw new legislative district lines after the 2020 Census?  Why or why not?

CH: Absolutely. The question of full enfranchisement and participation in the democratic process is central to my campaign, and perhaps related to some of the fundamental issues that have been exposed in our electoral system since the 2016 general election. When legislative district lines are drawn in such a way that reduces the full impact of someone’s vote—what we commonly call gerrymandering—citizens become disengaged with politics, and politicians start to take their positions for granted. We’ve seen that right here in the 140th district. We need to do everything to make it easier for people to vote or otherwise take part in the political process. Besides the question of fairly drawn legislative districts, I support expanded voting hours and polling locations; improved voting access for lower-income families, as well as for multilingual voters. Politics is about people—not special interests or corporations. I am proud to declare that I have already discarded the letter from the NRA asking me to seek their endorsement. Politics is not a business. I will not buy and trade on policies that can literally mean life or death for some people

LWV: What are your ideas on how to increase Norwalk’s share of Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) funding?

CH: As the son of public school teachers, properly funded, high-quality public education is near and dear to my heart. The current ECS formula places too much emphasis on the value of real estate, which can put excessive strain on property taxpayers. Adjusting the formula to give greater account to the actual earnings of working class families would give municipalities more leverage, while also being fair to taxpayers, and—of course, to our students, who deserve a public education system that sets them up to succeed in every way.

That said, I would frame the question more in terms of increasing education funding for all of Connecticut, not just Norwalk. This kind of zero-sum thinking can sometimes pit communities against one another, fighting for a bigger piece of the pie, instead of working together to grow the whole pie for everyone. I intend to make sure that not only Norwalk gets what we deserve, but that we grow our state economy in a way that creates more education funding overall. I know improving the ECS formula has been a challenge, but I believe we can do it. I have faith in us. But it takes electing the right people. I’m proud to have earned an “Honor Roll” designation from the Connecticut Education Association, and I look forward to working on a legislative agenda that grows Connecticut’s economy and improves education funding, while also easing the pressure on our working class. We can do it. But we can only do it together.

 

Candidate Travis Simms (D)

LWV: What are your top three legislative priorities?  Why these?

TS: Education reform: Our schools are not performing as well as they should and the manner in which education funding is distributed to towns in Connecticut is unconstitutional as it allows towns with higher property wealth to spend more on education, with less stress and consequences than towns in lower –property tax wealth areas like Norwalk.  Investing wisely and fairly in our children with an education that prepares them for a successful future can be a windfall in the future for our state’s economy and for the city of Norwalk.

Economic development and local jobs – we need to leverage the assets we already have here at home.  Serving on the Commerce committee will give me the opportunity to partner with local community leaders and local businesses to close the work-skills gap and keep jobs closer to home.

Environmental issues- The environment is where we live, work, play and learn. I will advocate to implement environmental justice laws to ensure our residents, the environment and the economy are all equally protected.

LWV: What alternative revenue streams are you suggesting to keep Connecticut fiscally sound for years to come? 

TS: We need to invest in long-term, cost-cutting solutions to improve the economy for years to come.  Connecticut is a beautiful state.  We should focus on opportunities to grow our visitor market by increasing tourism throughout the state and local attractions.  Jobs and revenue generated by these activities will aid in boosting the economy.

LWV: Would you support establishing an independent citizen’s redistricting commission–similar to California’s– to draw new legislative district lines after the 2020 Census?  Why or why not? 

TS: Absolutely, I believe voters should have the right to choose their representatives, not the other way around.  I am fully supportive of a redistricting plan that makes it easier for voters to participate in the electoral process.  We must ensure that district maps are drawn fairly to represent our district and the people who live in our community.

LWV: What are your ideas on how to increase Norwalk’s share of Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) funding?

TS: Every child deserves a high-quality education.  The ECS formula is a topic that’s been a hot issue for several years.  ECS is an issue of basic fairness.   Right now, we essentially take from some to give to others and that’s not right – our children ultimately suffer in the end. It’s really frustrating to see other (similar) towns getting twice as much funding than the city of Norwalk.
In Hartford, I’ll seek to serve on the Education committee and work with other elected leaders in a bi-partisan manner to make the formula more equitable and breakdown the current system of winners and losers.

3 comments

john flynn October 29, 2018 at 11:15 am

Make sure you vote. Make sure your friends vote. Make sure your parents and kids vote But do you homework first. If you want higher taxes and tolls make sure you cast your vote for Ned Lamont. If you want to be bankrupted make sure you vote for Himes and Duff. There are some terrible candidates out there. Extremists are destroying the country, please vote for moderates that follow the law, believe in due process, support the constitution. Forget what party and they are affiliated with. The affiliations have lost their meaning. Vote for the best Probate Judge, not the one who violated the Cannons of Juridical conduct. It is a clear choice. I do my homework, I did my homework. If you don’t know in your heart who is best than cast your vote by not voting, that is your right.

Vote for citizens of the U.S., or a guy who follows the law. In this race, vote for the guy who is ethical and experienced in writing the wrongs, if you vote for someone with no ethics to draft the law, you will end up with worse laws than we already have. Gail, Fred, Terri are proven leadership. Frank, Marc, and I will be great additions to the Norwalk legislature. Harry A is a grand slam. We are all working diligently together for Norwalk. We need to re-negotiate the pension liability and place assets on the balance sheet of Ct, this is not Indiana. All those contracts can be re-written according to CT law. There is no reason why the State’s bridge network can’t be placed on the state’s balance sheet as an asset written down over time. The immediate cost of the infrastructure projects as a current expenditure will surely effect the State’s credit ratings. The Federal Transit Administration and the CT DOT are knocking at the back door not the front door. Mayor Harry Rilling was asked to re-think the Walk Bridge on April 26,2108 by the Norwlak Harbor keeper. Stalled projects are a blight. Now, there are multiple law suits. Hand shake deals and campaign contributions have undermined the ethical duty of the leadership. F & G crushed cement with no lease and no permit giving cash payments to LaJoie and Kleppin loves the idea of giving 81 kids in the 140 asthma. My son is one of them. The Health Department has received hundreds of complaints from Lawrence Street Meadow and investigator believes the smell of burning rubber is a “pleasant fragrance”.

The law suits prevent the City form fully funding the schools. Single moms suffer. People with thyroid cancer from cement crushing suffer. People like Lucy at Washington Village are suffering. She is in and out of the hospital receiving an eviction notice.

One of the problems with Norwalk is that they don’t follow the zoning law, they don’t enforce the law, this has to change. Look at POKO, NEON, the POCD, Firetree, the TOD, from Wall Street to Meadow Street. Look at Washington Village, Colonial Village, Bouton Street, Vesta; the problems of the 140 are bringing down the 142, the 137, and the 143. I promise to work diligently with the State Reps of the surrounding districts, I am not an English teacher or trained boxer, perseverance is my best quality. These guys rob peter to pay pall and support it; then, they complain about ECS. The system that robs Norwalk of funds. Norwalk is unfair, that’s the system they created. I was the only person to do the Walk Bridge Walk. I walked it alone. The Walk Bridge is about to bankrupt us. I am uniquely suited to fix many of these problems and I expect that neither Colin or Travis will assist me in any way. I begged them to debate, they refused. If I lose, I will still assist them. Travis is from Roodner Court, what has he done for them? The Police and emergency services are fearful of going there. Travis can do more on the Common Counsel with Ernie Dumas, than Bruce Morris ever did. The Choice is yours, don’t waist your vote for the 140.

The tide is turning. If you want to vote for a local prize fighter, put your money on me.

Marie October 29, 2018 at 11:44 am

After reading many articles form Nancy on Norwalk, this is my take:

Flynn sues the city, wasting taxpayer money on frivolous lawsuits. He also thinks the police put out a hit on him. A little research on this guy and you’ll see he’s not all put together.

Simms has been arrested multiple times. He votes NO on a much needed school for South Norwalk because he doesn’t like the property chosen for it. But has he offered an alternative? He just keeps voting NO and we still don’t have a school. He always wants to “fight” for SoNo. It’s his entire platform. Isnt there enough fighting in politics?

Hosten is new to the scene, but he’s got good answers to the questions I have as a voter and a parent. He’s got great endorsements like Planned Parenthood. He sounds the most likely to work together with people in Hartford, which is honestly the only way forward in politics right now. Seems like the obvious choice.

john flynn October 29, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Frivolous means without merit. Firetree is a money laundering entity from Pa that is under investigation by PA. It is not a non-profit. It is a shell game. No one has ever ruled that my cases were frivolous. The mortgage case is real. The Police misconduct cases are real. The East Haven Police were indicted (Cari, Zullo, Miller, and Spaulding). The asthma case is real 200 are effected. According to Travis, Colin Hosten is a citizen of Trinidad. I spoke to Fairfield University at length. Vote for him over Simms. Perfect. My strategy is working. As far as the hit goes, The informant said he was working for the Police, its all on the 911 calls. Yes, the Police falsified a 17-year investigation into 300,000 felonies. Business as usual. Do you know what Thomas Cummings was arrested for? Do you know what happened to the evidence he collected? I do. Do you know what Harry Rilling’s son was arrested for? I fight for equal protection under the law, a concept you clearly don’t understand. I appreciate your comments and I thank you. No one said it was going to be easy. It is worth it.

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