by James Maroney
Incumbent State Rep
I am privileged to represent Milford and Orange, and I’ve worked hard to justify the trust that was placed in me. Over the last several months I have reintroduced myself to constituents and listened to their concerns. Jobs, the economy, quality education, and support for our seniors are concerns that everyone seems to share. Being a small business owner, spending my lifetime here, and graduating from Yale have prepared me to address these issues. If reelected, I will use a framework called “Start, Stop, Continue.” What do we need to start to do? What should we stop doing? What things should we continue doing?
Let’s start with Start? Connecticut has an educated workforce. But the skills of our workforce, in some cases, are not aligned with the needs of employers. It was publicized how several companies received venture capital investments and were told to relocate their businesses out of state. Although more costly to do business, the states recommended had computer coding talent that Connecticut lacks.
Computer coding is a growing field and is an important competency for students. I propose Connecticut create an online course in computer coding that all middle school and high school students have to take during their advisory period. This short course will expose students to this potential career field.
Further, many students are graduating from college with extremely high student loan debt. Connecticut is fortunate to offer one of the best alternative student loan programs in the country, the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Lending Authority. Let’s utilize this to help students consolidate their higher interest loans, and incentivize companies to help students pay off their loans by offering tax credits.
What practices to stop? We need to stop over regulating businesses. Connecticut must be more business freindly. We started on that path last session. Over 1,000 pages of regulations were eliminated and more services are being provided online.
We need to do more, but there are few clear or easy answers. We know we can’t continue to deliver programs in the same way and expect different results. Last session I introduced legislation called “Pay For Success.” It will require more rigorous data tracking of preventative social programs, and only pay for the programs that are successful. These programs are funded by foundations and other private sources. The state only pays if they generate a savings for Connecticut. This is an innovative new way of delivering services that will help put our state back on top.
What things should we continue? Workforce development programs, such as Advanced Manufacturing Programs, and bringing these programs to scale. High-skilled manufacturing jobs are returning to the state. We need a skilled labor force to fill those jobs.
I introduced legislation that passed unanimously that encourages the public schools to work with the vocational schools and community colleges to make available training for advanced manufacturing jobs to any student. The legislation encourages looking for ways to expand apprenticeships and other successful models used in other states or countries. Continue funding to cities and towns will keep property taxes under control.
In addition, funding to programs like the Senior Renters Rebate, and the Livable Communities Initiative should continue so our senior citizens can stay in their own homes. As a state we should aggregate resources for our towns, and continue providing incentives for towns to regionalize to save money. Let’s look at best practices from other states, and their creative programs.
If reelected, you can count on me to listen to your concerns, and be responsive to your issues. Together we can make our community an even better place.