Patrizia Zucaro is a lifelong resident of Fairfield County and a Westport native. The proud daughter of parents who came to the United States from Italy and taught her the value of hard work, she graduated from Staples High School and UConn. After nearly 10 years in real estate, she attended law school at Pace University while working full-time and commuting. She became a licensed attorney in both Connecticut and New York in 2012. Since then, she has served small businesses and individuals, both through her own law practice and as general counsel for two small companies. Zucaro is running for office because she feels it’s her responsibility to use her professional experience to give back to the communities where she lives and works.
This year has been like drinking from a firehose, with the pandemic affecting every aspect of our lives. While COVID-19 has taken center stage, however, Connecticut’s fiscal, education, and infrastructure issues have not disappeared. Our longstanding fiscal fragility will make recovery from the pandemic an even greater challenge. Just as we must carefully balance public health with economic and social imperatives, we must approach all the issues we face with balance, not politics.
Ensuring educational continuity is an urgency. Many of you have told me that months of distance learning have slowed your children’s progress, and you worry about recapturing lost time. I believe the state should give districts temporary post-pandemic flexibility to adjust school schedules, curriculum, and formats so each can focus locally on helping students close their learning gaps quickly and move forward on schedule.
Also urgent is closing Connecticut’s achievement gap. This requires focusing state resources on strengthening struggling districts while giving high-performing districts like Wilton the autonomy to do even better what they already do well.
Many of you remain concerned about mandated school regionalization. I absolutely oppose it. I support, however, removing barriers like binding arbitration that prevent districts from voluntarily sharing services.
Another urgency is economic recovery, particularly for small businesses. I’m an attorney serving primarily small businesses and individuals. I understand the regulatory and fiscal hurdles they faced before and face now. We can’t address post-pandemic recovery without addressing Connecticut’s underlying fiscal issues by promoting economic growth, controlling spending, and lowering taxes.
We must take advantage of the recent urban exodus to attract new businesses. The key is business friendliness: relief from expensive mandates and consistent, reasonable tax and regulatory policies that allow businesses to plan long-term.
The expected retirement of more than 10,000 state employees by 2022 is an opportunity to restructure state government for cost savings and improved service. As required by the 2017 bipartisan budget, Governor Lamont has hired consultants to help. I’ll advocate for the legislature’s active involvement in evaluating their recommendations.
Also key is reforming state union contracts, which require most Connecticut residents to pay for expensive union benefits that they will never themselves receive in the private sector. We must plan now for reform in anticipation of the SEBAC umbrella contract’s 2027 expiration.
Economic growth and reduced spending should facilitate reducing taxes to make Connecticut more affordable. My priorities are the taxes that hit retirees the hardest–taxes on estates, gifts, Social Security, and pensions.
There’s wide agreement in Wilton that creating more housing options would better accommodate people of all ages and income levels and add to the community’s cultural richness. I strongly support the efforts of local officials who are actively developing plans to do this. Unfortunately, many majority legislators don’t agree. For example, a draft bill authored by a Housing Committee co-chair threatens to override local zoning decisions with one-size-fits-all mandates. It has significant support, and it’s very real. I’ll fight to keep local zoning in the hands of people you elect, who know Wilton and are accountable to you.
You’ve shared with me your public safety concerns. These include ensuring firearms don’t fall into the hands of people who use them irresponsibly. Connecticut’s gun laws are strong, but there’s more to do, particularly in mental health. The importance I attach to these matters is reflected in my “A” rating from CT Against Gun Violence and the Gun Sense Candidate distinction I received from Moms Demand Action.
Protecting the rights of all individuals and enabling law enforcement to keep communities safe aren’t mutually exclusive. The intentions behind the recent police accountability bill were good, but it was rushed through, leaving police officers uncertain of how to perform their jobs properly, discouraging new recruits, and making our communities less safe. Amendments must restore a balance between community safety and respect for individual rights that benefits everyone.
Many other issues need attention. Eversource needs stronger oversight; the bill passed in September was just a first step. We must find ways to hold Altice accountable; distance learning disruptions, especially, have frustrated parents, students, and teachers. Because COVID-19 has fundamentally changed commuting habits, we must review our transportation needs with new eyes. We must protect our most vulnerable seniors living in congregate facilities and provide better services to people with disabilities. The legislature’s plate is full.
No political agenda will resolve all these issues. We must think for ourselves and work together toward a nonpartisan goal: restoring Connecticut’s prosperity while ensuring every single resident the opportunity for a successful future here. My endorsement by the Independent Party reflects my commitment to doing this.
Serving Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton is my priority. If I have the honor of representing you, my only mission will be to speak with your voice and to deliver solutions that meet your needs.