As part of GOOD Morning Wilton‘s coverage of the elections on Nov. 6, and of the campaigns leading up to that day, we have set out some guidelines. Candidates are invited to submit one 800-word op-ed piece before the elections. Ross Tartell is the Democratic candidate for State Representative in District 125.

In my campaign as the Democratic candidate for State Representative of the 125th District, I have had three debate forums with my opponent. He likes to say that we are similar, but we are not as politically aligned as he would suggest.

The Budget

My opponent talks about cutting 20% across the board except Judiciary and the Department of Developmental Services for a savings of $2 Billion. I recognize that nearly half the budget is based on fixed expenses that we must pay, like debt service, pensions, and Medicaid. Cutting 20% from the remainder of the budget would be devastating to the state’s ability to deliver services. I would rather strategically reduce the budget by 1% via the elimination of the Gift and Estate Taxes while working to bring new businesses and other forms of revenue to Connecticut–including tolls and negotiating union contract terms.

Values

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My opponent actively votes against the values that reflect the transformations affecting our society. He voted against birth control coverage in health care plans, against affirmative consent, against eliminating a statute of limitations for sexual assault, and against combating sexual harassment and assault–a bill he referred to as a “jobs killer.”

My opponent is no great champion for the environment, voting against a bill that creates protections for climate change. He voted against prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed applicants. And he voted against increasing the minimum wage.

Participation in the Democratic Process

My opponent wants to end the Citizen’s Election Program (CEP). I would not be running for office without state funding, which I believe is vital to creating a more accessible government and voting process. At the Wilton League of Women Voters Candidate Forum, my opponent said he agreed with me on early voting and absentee ballots when he actually voted against early voting as recently as the 2018 legislative session.

Building a Future

My opponent says he is the most bipartisan representative in Hartford, but there is no basis to this claim–or, it is a testament to his extremely partisan party. In 2018, he voted 97% of the time with his party. And when he was not voting with them and the Democrats, he was taking extreme positions that do not reflect the needs of our society or state.

My entire campaign has been centered around a deep respect for transparency, moral compass, innovation, values, and hard work. I make the right decision, even if that means making the more difficult decision to represent the voters’ voice. If I win on Nov. 6, I will use this approach when I serve as State Representative for the 125th District.

I have knocked on 4,000 doors and have had deep conversation with voters about the issues that matter most to them. The power of those discussions gives me a sense of urgency. I know I can help people find the path to building a strong future for New Canaan, Wilton, and Connecticut.

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