Elect Hilary Ram for the 67th
Guided by Principle
A Plan Forward
We are facing an unprecedented moment. Thousands of New Milford residents have filed for unemployment, businesses are struggling, people are hurting, and town budgets are seeing an enormous hit to their revenue. The way forward for our town, and our state, is a comprehensive plan for recovery where we make people and businesses whole, we then invest in developing infrastructure, public transit, education, and skills development that create an even more desirable location to live and for companies to do business.
Good Paying Jobs
Our residents know that a job is central to our livelihood. For too many, they are out of work, and for some, they won’t be going back. That is why we need to be sure that every person in our district has access to a good paying job where they can support themselves and their family. That’s why I support initiatives to expand on job training, and retraining programs, that connect individuals directly with local employers. Availability of skilled labor is a priority for businesses when deciding where to locate, or if they should stay in a certain location. Manufacturing, trades, IT, nursing, and healthcare are all growing industries in our state, but they struggle to find skilled workers to fill those jobs. We need to ensure that every New Milford resident who is looking for work has the training and the tools to find a career that will provide for their needs.
Our broken transportation system is holding New Milford’s economy back. When our residents are trying to get to work they deserve more than congested traffic, unpaved roads, and long commutes. More time spent on the road is less time people can spend with their families. Over 300 bridges in our state are structurally deficient and studies have shown that transportation is one of the key pieces holding our economy back. My opponent supported raiding the Rainy Day Fund, a fund that is now vital for our state during this global pandemic, and, he supported borrowing billions which would only add to our debt. In contrast, I support having out-of-state drivers pay for 40% of the cost for our critical transportation infrastructure by having tolls on major highways. New Milford deserves better than short-sighted policies, and I will work every day to ensure that we invest in infrastructure without passing the bill along to our children.
Our school system is at the heart of New Milford, and we need leadership in Hartford that is going to fight every day to make certain that Connecticut schools are adequately funded. Our children’s education is the best investment we can make for our future.
Access to Opportunity
When our children graduate I want to make sure they have every opportunity in life. Whatever path is right for them, I want them to be empowered to choose it. So many reliable, good paying jobs today are available in the trades, IT, nursing, and more and we need to make sure that our young people have access to that job training. That is why I support debt-free community college.
Never has it been more clear that access to fast, reliable internet is a critical tool for families in our community. COVID-19 has made our technological infrastructure an essential part of educating our children, and of keeping our economy running while residents work from home. We cannot fall behind our neighbors in ensuring that all of our households have access to this technology, and as your state representative I’ll work to implement a statewide plan for wireless internet access. I support measures that will address the technology divide in small towns like ours. There will be lasting impacts of COVID-19 that will change how we carry on our professional lives and we must be prepared.
Access to Care
Every family is entitled to quality, affordable healthcare. COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the inequities that exist in our healthcare system. Our healthcare workers have worked tirelessly taking care of patients, but for too many people access to care is out of reach. This isn’t just bad for the well-being of all people, it’s holding our economy back. People hoping to start a small business are held back because losing their job means losing their healthcare. Our recently unemployed residents, whose jobs might not come back, are struggling in the face of a pandemic to stay safe and healthy while also facing financial ruin.
Losing your job or starting a business shouldn’t mean losing your healthcare, which is why I support a public-private partnership to create a healthcare safety net that will ensure every resident can afford the care they need.
The cost of prescription drugs is unconscionable, and our state has a responsibility to take action and bring down those costs. Too often lobbyists and special interests have gotten in the way of our state passing this important legislation. When I go to Hartford, my main concern will be for improving the lives of the people of New Milford.
Part of that care is also the ability to get the care you need without the fear of losing your job or your income. That’s why I’m so proud our state passed the Paid Family Medical Leave legislation that has allowed so many in our community to stay safe and financially secure during COVID-19. My opponent voted against that legislation, and just think where so many of our community members would be during this crisis if he had gotten his way.
Combating the Opioid Crisis
Too many in our community and in our state have been impacted by another pandemic long before COVID-19. The opioid crisis has taken too many from us, and big problems need to be met with big solutions. We need a holistic approach to this epidemic, one that looks to the best evidence-based strategies being used with success across the country. I will champion legislation that ends the need for prior authorizations for medications for opioid disorder or that supports a targeted naloxone distribution program. Additionally, I will team up with community leaders to ensure that the most current data is informing any new legislation.
Mental health coverage is vitally important and I champion healthcare legislation that will address any inadequacies.
Taking Care of our Seniors
It is the role of government to take care of those most vulnerable in our society. Our seniors have been isolated during this crisis, and we have to make sure now more than ever that we take care of them. For those struggling to get food and basic essentials, or those struggling with loneliness in these difficult times, we must do more.
Expanding funding for Meals on Wheels, providing our senior centers the resources to directly reach out to seniors who are isolated, and providing staff and resources to make sure that our seniors basic needs are met will be an important part of my mission as your state representative.
Our New Milford veterans have to travel to other towns to receive healthcare treatment. Many are not well suited to travel these distances. I would support a review of the healthcare provided to our veterans and act swiftly to remedy any failures.
Energy and Environment
Communities like New Milford ought to have a choice in driving down the cost of energy for our residents. Community Choice Aggregation would allow us to do just that. Under this program, towns like ours would be able to decide on the source of where we get our energy. This would not only increase competition and drive down costs, but it would also allow us to make a choice that was the best fit for our community. Three of Connecticut’s closest neighbors- Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Massachusetts- all have implemented this, isn’t it time Connecticut towns were empowered to make choices for ourselves?
Reducing Costs, Increasing Reliability
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s how dependent we have been on so many things outside of our control. From grocery stores running low on products and essential supplies to students and workers struggling to manage their school and work responsibilities without internet access, we haven’t had the resources to control our own fate during this crisis. In addition to making our own choices about where we purchase our energy, New Milford should explore generating our own. Solar energy is a reliable resource that can be generated right here in town, and as your state representative I’ll work to provide more small towns with support to expand on their energy options to make sure they have reliable, dependable electricity no matter what.
Expanding Green Space
One of the greatest resources our town has is the natural beauty we are surrounded by; Forests, farmland, parks, historic sites, community trails, are part of what make our town such a great place to live. Not only that, they draw in tourism which puts more money in the pockets of our small business owners. Municipalities need to be empowered to preserve their natural resources and expand upon them.
We are fortunate that Connecticut leads the nation in gun violence prevention, but there is more that can be done. Right now, there is no limit to how many weapons an individual can purchase at a single time. That’s why I support recent legislation that would ban bulk purchasing of firearms, because a right to bear arms does not mean a right to stockpile arms.
Our state’s red flag law, which allows temporary intervention for individuals that present a danger to themselves or others, hasn’t been updated in over two decades. That’s why I support a revised red flag law, to make sure we are able to intervene when we are able to prevent tragedy.
I will be a strong advocate for state laws to prevent violence against women and children.
We must protect our water resources and be proactive in our response to recent deregulation of harmful chemicals and pesticides.