MEET the CANDIDATE: Stephanie Thomas (D), Candidate for State Representative 143rd District

Candidate Biography 

Stephanie Thomas’ 25 years of experience as a fundraising and strategy consultant to nonprofits has taught her how to build consensus, compromise creatively, and quickly cut through the politics of various stakeholders with differing priorities. She knows how to find common ground and win/win solutions that benefit the greater good. Stephanie has always made it a point to be present and active in her community, listening and assisting as needed.

Stephanie is no stranger to hard work. She worked her way through NYU and her Masters degree program in Nonprofit Management, so it wasn’t a surprise that she went from intern to company president in just 12 years. Stephanie will put this same drive to work for you, carrying your voice to Hartford.

Candidate Interview

Candidate Op-Ed

I am fortunate to have had three careers in one–and each has helped me build a unique skill set. Working in nonprofits has taught me how to solve intractable problems, on budget, with evidence-based data. As a fundraising strategy consultant, I have implemented creative solutions when other plans have failed and derived success by listening closely and looking for smart compromises, all while overcoming the politics of various stakeholders. As a small business owner, I know there are no shortcuts for hard work, that transparency and fair dealing are essential, and investing in my team is key. Being responsive to my environment and adaptable as circumstances change is imperative as a business owner, especially in times like these.

I will bring these experiences and more to Hartford as your State Representative. I will listen, make tough decisions when necessary, and advocate for your needs.

One of the most significant concerns in our district is local control and I do not support regionalization of school districts and efforts to remove local control of essential zoning matters. Legislation can be a lever for change, but cannot do all the heavy lifting.

Wilton is well-known for its excellent school systems, and local control is one of the things that safeguards this crown jewel. In this unique school year, we’ll need to make sure there’s adequate resources to provide for remote learning and to keep students and school personnel safe when schools reopen for in-person instruction. This refers to PPE and temporary barriers, of course, but also counseling and support for students and staff as they work through the transition.

I know from serving on my local Zoning Commission that we struggle when trying to make the same type of project work a mile apart in the same town, so trying to apply uniform standards across the state isn’t realistic. However, we are experiencing a housing crisis; seniors, young people, divorced parents, small business owners and their employees are all clamoring for diversity in housing stock. They don’t want to leave our community, but many cannot afford to stay. Growing our tax base and helping local businesses thrive can encourage residents to remain in our district, which also benefits our local economy. Municipalities should decide for themselves the best use of land in specific locations.

Wilton has already begun to grapple with this important issue locally and we could lead the way in educating other towns on what’s been useful like land use training for volunteers on local P&Z boards and case studies on what has worked elsewhere, so local boards have the tools to perform their job at the highest level. And while I support local control in many matters, sometimes other legislators have different ideas and that is when it is important to be respected and have a seat at the table.

As we continue to navigate the shifting sands of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been proud to see how the Wilton community has come together to support the needs of our businesses and our frontline workers. But we can’t let up on these efforts. We need to ensure that we are providing proper PPE, as well as counseling. This crisis has also shown us, perhaps as never before, how important it is to guarantee access to affordable healthcare and the importance of thinking outside the box to innovate and derive new solutions to old problems.

In addition to these issues so close to the heart of Wiltonians, I strongly support increasing voter access, affordable health care, gun safety, environmental protection, small business assistance, and improvements to public transportation. With potential shifts at the Supreme Court, it reiterates my strong support for reproductive freedoms and LGBTQ rights. State legislators will be a necessary defense if the Supreme Court reverses important decisions. I am running because I believe that it’s time to remind Hartford that our problems require urgent solutions. We cannot continue to move at a glacial pace, especially now.

In the midst of the pandemic and the economic hardship it has wrought, our state has new problems to solve. Stimulating an economic recovery by boosting consumer confidence and maximizing opportunities to bring federal dollars to CT are key, but we also need to take a comprehensive look at tax codes and budgets with new eyes. Bringing my experience–in the nonprofit sector, as a consultant, and as a small business owner–to help solve these problems, grow our opportunities, and be your voice in Hartford is my only goal.

To learn more, please visit votestephaniethomas.com.

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