April 17, 2021

Paul Formica (R): Candidate (Incumbent) for CT State Senate, 20th District

State Senator Paul Formica

Biography

Paul Formica has served as state senator since 2015. He is the proud father of four grown children and has been owner and operator of Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant for 35 years. Paul is a co-founder of the Tourism Caucus and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee and Energy & Technology Committee.

He has been an advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, foster care youth, mental health and substance abuse treatment, women’s health care, and energy ratepayers. Prior to serving in the legislature, he was the First Selectman of East Lyme from 2007-2015, and long serving municipal official.

 

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

Above all, recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic is the most pressing issue.  We need to manage the second wave of the virus by protecting residents while working to safely get people back to work and address the social crises that have emerged during this difficult time. While Connecticut’s response has led the nation in many regards, there is much that can be done better and more work ahead.

Recovery must span every facet of our livelihoods. Policies must preserve public health, including the health of our most vulnerable residents like seniors and those in nursing homes who have suffered greatly in our state. Additionally, we must work to restore jobs, open businesses and help CT’s economy get back on its feet.

Secondly, we must make Connecticut more affordable for all people. Current leadership is forcing tomorrow’s taxpayers to mitigate the damage of record deficits and unfunded liabilities. The shortcomings of the current state of our finances have been identified time and again, and the pandemic has made it especially imperative to mitigate the problems without tax increases on working- and middle-class families. Connecticut families are stretched to their limit between job losses and the ever-rising cost of necessities like electricity and health care. We need to make health care more accessible and affordable, and we must reduce burdens that put even more strain on family budgets. These matters require bipartisan communication and collaboration to render lasting solutions.

Connecticut must also prioritize creating opportunities for all people to succeed and stay in this state. Ahead of 2020, Connecticut faced an exodus between the “brain drain” and older residents fleeing for warmer temperatures and lower taxes. The state must make a significant investment in workforce development and education. High school students must be keenly aware of the many opportunities to gain career training without the singular track of needing a college education. We must support fair education funding to help our children and teachers as they try to fulfill the needs of all students, with the additional wrinkle of remote learning.

2.  From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

Our top priority must be to successfully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic

I want to first extend a sincere thank you to all healthcare workers and first responders who have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic. Governor Lamont managed the virus well on the statewide scale, however our nursing home and assisted living populations make up a disproportionate share of the infections and fatalities. The struggles faced by nursing home workers, residents and their loved ones are a clear example of why the state needs to adopt a comprehensive plan to prevent and prepare for future outbreaks, ensure safe family visits can occur to stop the severe damage of social isolation, and look at ways to improve testing, facility infrastructure, PPE supplies and protocols. I hear directly from constituents affected by this issue and lawmakers like myself who have a boots-on-the-ground perspective need to work together to identify what the state has done well and what we need to do better to help the most vulnerable and prevent the virus from taking more lives.

Connecticut workers and businesses have also suffered a tremendous blow. I commend those employers who have stepped up to the challenge and are making incredible changes to the way they do business to maintain their staff’s and customers’ safety – from physical changes to their facilities to embarking on web-based delivery of goods and services. We need to continue to support small businesses by reducing burdens they face and hearing their concerns. As the areas of the state start to see a rise in cases, including in the 20th district, I also appreciate the way the administration is communicating with higher-infected towns and allowing local communities to make certain decisions on a town by town basis.

Finally, the legislature needs to be ready to address the social crises that have emerged including increased substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, and education issues. I have worked to address these difficult issues with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the past and now more than ever we have to continue that work together.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

Common sense, collaboration and a focus on the issues – not the politics – impacting the citizens of Connecticut are essential to move the state forward.

I always strive to put people above politics and have a track record of working in a bipartisan manner to get results for the people I am honored to represent.

For example, as chair of the Appropriations Committee in 2017 and 2018 I worked to bring lawmakers together to pass two consecutive, bipartisan no-tax-increase budgets. Those budgets protected our most vulnerable, eliminated the tax on social security making it easier for seniors to remain in CT, ensured core functions of government, and implemented historic fiscal policies including spending and bonding caps that have led to a historic level of funds in the state’s rainy day fund today. 

I’ve also worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase renewable, efficient energy sources, while securing jobs at Millstone, maintaining our base load supply, and implementing ratepayer protections.

I’ve been named a “Children’s Champion” by the CT Early Childhood Alliance and have been proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase access to prenatal care, by making pregnancy a qualifying life event, so that expectant mothers can obtain health insurance.

I listen to every constituent who comes to me and work hard to give people a voice who are not being heard.

Finally, as a small business owner I understand the struggles of Connecticut’s job creators and workers. I know the importance of balancing a budget so that the people who rely on you can support their families and be successful in life. State government should operate in this same way. Decisions should never be based on politics. They should be based on the people who rely on you, and in state government that’s every single resident in Connecticut.

With your support, I will continue to help change how we do business in Hartford.

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