SENATOR CHRISTINE COHEN
knows making a difference starts with bringing people together and listening to do what's best for our community.
SENATOR COHEN ON THE ISSUES
Taking care of our environment has always been one of my top priorities. During my first term, I was fortunate enough to serve as Chair of the Environment Committee. As chair, I founded the bipartisan Coastal Caucus, which has served to amplify the voice of coastal communities. I also led the passage of a statewide ban on toxic waste dumping and a ban on single-use plastic bags. I passed a bill to enable towns impacted by sea-level rise to adequately plan and save, in the event of storm surges, providing much needed disaster relief.
As your state senator I will continue to focus on waste mitigation, eliminating pollutants from our environment and reducing our carbon emissions.
Now more than ever, it's essential that people have access to affordable health care. As your state senator, I was proud to vote for the creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave program. I also sponsored a bill to strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions. We've come close to achieving a public health insurance option, but I'll continue to work for one until our small businesses and families have the support they need.
We recently passed legislation to expand access to telehealth services, which benefit so many during this difficult time. Additionally, we passed a bill that lowers the cost of insulin, which has been skyrocketing for the past few decades. Health care should always be accessible and affordable, and I'll continue to advocate for policies that ensure everyone has quality access to care.
Small businesses are the economic engines of the state. As a small business owner, I know the struggles and barriers business owners face and what is required to enable them to prosper. To support small businesses, I stood up against the proposed grocery tax and ended the business entity tax.
Unfortunately, small businesses have been hurt the hardest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's important that we prioritize policies that address the hardships that small businesses have encountered over 2020 and work toward ensuring they can recover and grow in the coming months.
For far too long, Connecticut's finances have been managed in such a way that prioritizes the short-term, rather than considering the long-term implications. Decades of this type of thinking allowed for massive unfunded pension liabilities to go unaddressed. We owe it to our kids to tackle these problems in a manner that addresses our current needs, while being mindful of the future.
As your state senator, I supported last year's legislative budget that included protecting $2.7 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, paying down our debt, funding our pension system, and no increase in the income tax rate. Fiscal responsibility is critical for the growth and success of Connecticut and I'm committed to ensuring our policies are not an extra burden on taxpayers.
Access to quality education is essential for the wellbeing and development of our children. As we continue to navigate schooling in the age of COVID, it's important that our towns – not Hartford – are at the forefront of determining what is best for our students.
As your state senator, I pushed back against forced regionalization, advocating for local control over our schools. I also supported legislation that facilitates grant programs to school districts throughout the state in an effort to improve student achievement and close the opportunity gap.
Additionally, I'm very proud that during my first term we passed legislation to create a debt-free community college program. Connecticut's community colleges provide critical job training and higher education for thousands of students across the state and now students have the opportunity to attend without incurring debt.