As Election Day approaches, Fairfield Patch is committed to keeping readers up-to-date with the latest news, announcements, and Letters to the Editor related to the town's candidates for office.
Patch sent five questions to each candidate running to represent Fairfield on a statewide level. The following responses came from State Rep. Kim Fawcett, the Democratic candidate running for her fourth term serving Fairfield's 133rd District in Connecticut's House of Representatives.
Fawcett has resided in Fairfield with her husband, Rick, since 1999, according to her website. She earned her bachelor's degree from Towson University in Baltimore and then her master's degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Before moving to Fairfield, Fawcett worked as a legislative assistant to William Donald Schaeffer, Governor of Maryland from 1987 to 1995.
Fawcett currently serves as the assistant majority leader in the House of Representatives as well as several committees, including as Vice Chair of the Select Committee on Children, Co-Chair of the Transportation Subcommittee for Appropriations, and the Smart Growth and Regional Efficiency Committee.
Fawcett is running against Republican Chris DeSanctis, whose Q&A will be featured on Patch on Wednesday.
1. Why are you running for office?
Working in public office is a huge privilege, and I am inspired today in the same ways I was seven years ago when I began this journey. I love the opportunity this job gives me to help people navigate government bureaucracy and fight to change unfair public policies.
2. What skills do you have that can help you represent your district in Hartford?
Each election is a time for reflection and allows me to assess the impact I am having. After six years in office, I have gained tremendous experience, developed expertise on many issues that are important to Fairfield, and become adept at advocating for my district. I know the workings of the state government and the legislature and can apply that knowledge to effectively represent the 133rd district.
3. What are the three biggest issues affecting your district? How would you address them?
From a statewide perspective, the economy and jobs are a top priority in Fairfield as in the rest of the state. I am proud to have supported the 2011 Jobs Bill and am eager to see the continued rollout of polices designed to reposition Connecticut for future economic growth. In 2013, Connecticut will continue to see a reduction in onerous state regulations that stifle business growth, a realignment of higher education with job-sector opportunities, and expanded support for our small-business sector through targeted loan and grant programs.
Locally, Fairfield joins other Fairfield County towns in a struggle against developers who are using the 8-30g affordable housing statute in an effort to squeeze profits from our land. I am working closely with Fairfield residents, town officials and other state legislators to come up with ways to maintain a commitment to affordable housing without allowing neighborhoods to become overbuilt. A number of amendments to the 8-30g statute are in the works.
Fairfielders are also concerned about the dangers posed by distracted driving and speeding on local roads. I have been amazed at how many residents are overwhelmed and frustrated with the traffic conditions and speed. I would like to revisit the state law that defines "No Thru Truck” traffic and work with local law enforcement officials to better understand how we can get drivers to slow down as they travel through residential neighborhoods.
4. What is something Connecticut has done well in the past two years? What is something the state could have done better?
Passage of the Jobs Bill with bipartisan support was a big accomplishment and one that shows what we can do when Democrats and Republicans work together for the good of our state. One thing Connecticut needs to do better is plan for investment in our mass transit system. The Metro-North Rail Line is among the busiest in the nation, and modernizing it is essential to the long-term health of our economy. This year, I successfully championed the creation of a Mass Transit Improvement Program to finally target resources for investment in mass transit. While we can’t afford to do all the projects on our wish list at once, continually deferring maintenance and crucial upgrades is irresponsible. I intend to keep the spotlight on this issue and continue working to find creative ways to make steady, incremental improvements to our mass transit infrastructure.
5. If elected (or re-elected), what would your primary focus be coming into the next term?
January 2013 marks the beginning of the state’s biennial budget process. If re-elected, I will be working with fellow legislators to re-examine state spending and extend the use of Results Based Accounting, a data-based tool. As a member of the RBA team working to develop a Children’s Report Card that evaluates state expenditures on programs serving children, I know the same principles can be used to measure the effectiveness of other programs. This process is essential to helping legislators determine which initiatives represent a good investment of taxpayer dollars and which ones should be cut.
We must also stay focused on efforts to grow jobs and support small businesses through the Small Business Express Program. I have already been working to ensure that Fairfield business owners know about this program and how to apply for matching grants and loans available to them. Westfair TV owner Glenn Levinson, for example, recently received a matching grant to renovate his Post Road store. Further, I’m looking forward to continuing my advocacy for more strategic planning and investment in our transportation infrastructure.