WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Daily Voice sent out a questionnaire to all candidates seeking office in this year's election.
The following are the responses of Jonathan Steinberg, the Democratic incumbent candidate for the State House of Representatives seat for District 136 (Westport). He is facing Republican challenger Brandi Briggs.
Name: Jonathan Steinberg
Occupation: Legislator and tutor
Affiliations: Co-Founder and President, Westport Cinema Initiative
Past offices: Two-term state Representative; 7 years on RTM, three as Deputy Moderator
Current race: state Representative, 136th District
If elected, what would you do to improve roads and trains in Fairfield County?
Fairfield County is already on the brink of economic crisis due to the deterioration of our rail lines and highways, with many bridges in poor state of repair and requiring replacement. Unfortunately, after decades of neglect by Republican governors, there is no alternative but to prioritize capital investment – totaling billions of dollars -- to address this urgent problem. We worked with the Feds to fund replacement of theWalk Bridge, but there are several other bridges needing replacement, as well as a number of other important rail projects. Additionally, as a member of the Transportation Committee, I will continue to hold Metro-North accountable to reform its deficient safety culture, so that we can count on a safe, on-time, comfortable ride.
I’m also open to exploring the feasibility of congestion pricing lanes to alleviate congestion on I-95. It’s not a tax, but a user fee for those willing to pay extra to get to their destinations faster. Studies have shown that ALL drivers benefit because the other, non-tolled lanes move faster as well.
If elected, what is your position on state spending and the state budget?
As a leader of the Moderates Caucus within the Democratic Caucus, I’ve been a consistent advocate for budget reform, fighting one-time gimmicks and holding programs accountable to meet stated goals or see their funding cut or repurposed to private, third-party alternatives. Revenues will improve slowly, but we need to change Hartford’s culture so that we’re living within our means. The Results Based Accountability methodology is a proven path to changing the status quo.
What is another top issue or priority in your town or district that you would address in office?
We need to consider fundamental tax reform. Connecticut has a convoluted mishmash of sales taxes, an over-reliance on the property tax, and income taxes which favor some businesses and individuals over others. We created a task force which will report in January with recommendations on how to create a fairer, simpler and more transparent tax system which will alleviate wild swings in revenue and give everyone a fair shake. I’m eager to analyze and discuss what they suggest we consider.
Why should people vote for you?
I’ve worked hard for my community – the town I grew up in – for the past four years in the Legislature. As a proud father of three amazing daughters, I’m committed to getting Connecticut back on track and creating opportunities for all its citizens. I have a proven record of accomplishment on their behalf and I’m ready to apply my experience to pursue a pragmatic, independent approach to governing.
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