117th District: Boynton says it’s time for new leaders, new ideas

In a year when partisan politics dominates the national political debate, Milford native Cindy Wolfe Boynton, candidate for state representative in the 117th District, says it’s time for “new leaders, new ideas” and a “new direction” in politics for a “better Connecticut.”

While there’s a famous old New England saying, “You can’t get there from here,” Boynton remains optimistic that the politics of division can be overcome with good, old-fashioned cooperation by “working across party lines” to create a better Connecticut.

“We are at a point in Connecticut where party idealism, obstructionism and an unwillingness to compromise are preventing us from making the decisions we need to make that are in the best interests of the people of this state,” she said in an interview with the Mirror last weekend.

State budget policies are an example. “We must live within our means,” Boynton said. “But we must remember to meet the needs of the people.

“For instance, during the last state budget session, there was so much focus ‘on the numbers’ that legislators forgot that there are people on the other end of those numbers.”

People like her own elderly parents. An only child, Boynton’s father died in 2016 and her mom, 88, now lives in an area nursing home. However, for years the family struggled to keep her parents at home, downsizing several times and completely depleting her parents’ life savings, as well as her husband’s and her own.

As a society, “we need to find a way to take care of and support our elderly who are not sick enough for a nursing home, but not well enough to be alone at home.” More needs to be done “to protect those who worked hard all their life, saved some money and always paid their bills.”

Boynton has advanced a litany of issues that she intends to focus on in Hartford. Among them, reducing taxes for the middle class, promoting business and jobs growth, families and women’s rights including equal pay for equal work, and “the rights of all people to live and work free from violence, discrimination and harassment.”

Boynton also advocates for “affordable health care for all,” providing “debt free” state college education, improving the state’s critical infrastructure and safeguarding Long Island Sound.

Getting out to meet the residents of the 117th District, Boynton noted that residents have “many concerns about taxes, concerns about health care costs” and particularly in the Live Oaks School area, “concerns about school safety.”

Given the situation with her parents and acknowledging that there are many others facing similar situations with parents and other ill family members as well as caring for newborn children, Boynton is particularly passionate about passing state legislation for paid family medical leave. Intended to act like “an insurance policy,” paid family medical leave would allow someone taking care of a family member to take time off from work with pay.

Boynton said most states around Connecticut already have this protection in place. “We’re so worried about young people leaving the state, but this is one reason.” Paid family and medical leave will ensure that workers who need to take time off are not punished financially.

A bill for paid family medical leave in the state legislature made it out of committee in the 2018 session, but never came to the floor for a vote. Current federal law allows up to 12 weeks of “unpaid” time off. Connecticut can do better, Boynton said.

Boynton also favors the concept of “Medicare for all.” Too many “of our residents have no insurance or are underinsured, or can’t afford their medications.” It’s really about “common sense” and ensuring that “people are not faced with choices” like paying for medications or going to the doctor, or paying their rent, mortgage or food.

Since announcing her candidacy last March, Boynton has continued to actively lead and participate in social justice rallies and protests as the president of the Connecticut chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). This past August, NOW protested the appointment to the Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and Boynton played a prominent role in that protest in Connecticut.

She remains passionate about women’s issues including equal pay for equal work. If elected, Boynton would like to be appointed to the House’s Labor Committee. “Despite making up 51% of the population, only a handful of women are on the Labor Committee.”

Boynton also points to opportunities in Connecticut for the state to do more for advanced manufacturing and the opportunities for both men and women in the field. “These are good paying jobs and I would like to see more done to encourage women to go into manufacturing.“

She would also seek a seat on the Higher Education Committee, pointing to her experience as an adjunct college professor in the region, and her belief that education should be affordable to all. Education is a key to providing pathways out of poverty for those unlucky to be from poorer economic circumstances.

Boynton would also seek a seat on the House Veterans Affairs’ Committee. “Yes, it’s partially a salute to my dad, who was a World War II vet. But more than that, it’s my strong belief that veterans should be thanked and respected for their service to the nation.

“In my dad’s case, most everyone from his generation was involved in the war,” she said. It’s much different today, as a much lower percentage of the general population have a military background.

“During our own family crisis with my parents, my dad turned to me one day and said, ‘Why won’t anybody help us?’

“I really believe we need to do more to take care of our military families and our veterans.”

The former newspaper reporter and magazine editor said with less than two weeks until election day, she is confident her message is getting out there and being heard.

Voters care more about politicians getting things done than they do about political labels and party. “I am one who brings people together,” a sentiment sorely needed, she said, in these times of political distraction and dissention.