December 17, 2018

Devin Carney (R – Incumbent) Candidate for House District #23

Biography

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Devin Carney is seeking his third term as State Representative for the 23rd District. He currently serves as Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee and also serves on the Environment and Finance Committees. He is co-chair of the bipartisan Clean Energy Caucus and co-founder of the Young Legislator’s Caucus.

He serves on the Board of The Kate and Saye Brook Senior Housing and is a member of both the LOL and Old Saybrook Chambers. He was born and raised in Old Saybrook and lives in Old Lyme with his significant other, Lisa. He works as a Realtor in Old Saybrook.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

Connecticut’s fiscal crisis. Connecticut is currently about $89 billion in debt and there seems to be no end in sight.

The four main reasons we are in so much debt is because of unfunded state employee pension liabilities, unfunded teacher’s retirement costs, benefits and healthcare for state employees, and debt service. Decades of mismanagement and kicking the can down the road have led to this massive debt. These ‘fixed costs’ used to only make up about 12% of the budget, now they make up over 30%, so they are crushing the state budget and taxpayers (debt per person is over $50,000).

Solving it requires collaboration across party lines and across town lines. We have to move all new state employees over to a defined contribution-style of pension plan with benefits that more mirror the private sector. I would eliminate overtime from pension calculations – to me, it’s ridiculous that an employee can make more in retirement than they did in base salary, while employed, because they worked tons of OT in their last three years.

Since I have proposed some changes to state employee benefits, it is only right that our political appointees and politicians give back. I would eliminate benefits for life for political appointees and politicians who serve so little time. I’m shocked that people like UConn president Susan Herbst or former disgraced lottery CEO Ann Noble will be getting six-figure pensions and great healthcare for life – paid for by us – while the average person struggles.

The state must also look at zero-based budgeting and, simply, stop spending so much. We don’t need a $10M toll study, we should sell the XL Center, we shouldn’t be bailing out Hartford, and the list goes on. I am proud to have supported real spending and bonding caps to curb this.

Q2: What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

I wish our leadership in Washington would work together more – and that includes Democrats and Republicans. Aside from Joe Courtney, our district doesn’t get a lot of attention from our leadership in Washington with the exception of help defeating the federal rail bypass proposal.

When I first got elected, I contacted Joe Courtney to meet with him because I wanted to discuss working together when we could. I even worked with Joe to get a federal bill proposed to allow Connecticut to sell the Westbrook Welcome Center, which is closed and in disrepair (federal law prohibits it due to an archaic provision from the 1950’s).That’s the type of leadership I bring to the table – willing to work with anyone, regardless of party. Unlike my opponent, I have never used Washington-style smear tactics about anyone from the other party – no matter how much I disagree with them. That’s the leadership-style we desperately need in Washington and Hartford. Integrity matters.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in you district?

Connecticut taxpayers have one of the highest tax burdens in the nation and we are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to other states. Many homeowners in the 23rd either have residency in another state or are seriously considering it because of taxes. Growth can be realized if Connecticut becomes more affordable.

In order to curb the exodus, Connecticut has to strategically reduce taxes in order to better compete with our neighbors and states to the south. I supported reducing the estate tax and reducing pension/social security taxes, which is a start, but more needs to be reduced. Government needs to partner more with the private sector and non-profits to deliver services. Government needs to eliminate mandates on small towns and schools that are unnecessary and add to property tax burdens. I will not support new taxes and was proud to defeat many of Governor Malloy’s proposals for new taxes, including those on cell phones, restaurants, homes and veterinary services.

In order to get growth, the state has to implement policies that encourage business investment and job creation. State government must step aside, stop picking winners and losers, and let the private sector flex its muscle. Too much government bureaucracy and taxes make Connecticut less desirable for investment. At the same time, Connecticut should be focused on training people for in-demand jobs in new technologies, manufacturing, and healthcare by promoting more public-private development initiatives and high school/college training programs. Connecticut is one of the only states not to recover all of its jobs lost in 2008 and that needs to change.

In terms of infrastructure, the DOT needs to focus on improving I-95, particularly in our region, and making it safer. I’m proud, as Ranking Member of Transportation, to have saved precious infrastructure improvement dollars from being cut.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

I am running for re-election because this state needs proven leaders who will work collaboratively to improve our state’s fiscal situation. There are many issues Connecticut faces, but nearly all of them depend on our fiscal health. I love our district, but I hate seeing what decades of mismanagement and high taxes have done to our state. I’m running because I want our seniors to be able to afford to live here, I want our young people to be able to find jobs here, and I want our quality of life to be the best it can be.

In my four years as State Representative, I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I was a leader in defeating the federal rail bypass proposal that would have devastated Old Lyme. I supported policies to curb our opioid epidemic, defeated a mileage tax proposal that would have crushed taxpayers, and worked to grow our tourism economy. In only my second term, I was named Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, where I have had a seat at the table of one of the most powerful committees in Hartford.

We cannot afford new taxes, more spending on programs we can’t pay for, or more regulations on businesses.  I opposed Governor Malloy’s proposals on all of this. I stood up for small businesses against taxes, I stood up for seniors to reduce costs, I stood up for veterans to improve healthcare, and I stood up for our local education against illogical mandates.

Integrity matters in this election and I have never – nor will I ever – put party politics or special interests over the people I represent. We deserve a positive, collaborative, independent voice in Hartford and that’s what I will continue to bring if elected to another term.

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