MEET the CANDIDATE: Will Haskell (D), Incumbent/Candidate for State Senate 26th District

Candidate Bio

Will Haskell grew up in Westport, CT, and was elected to the state Senate in 2018—becoming the first Democrat to represent the 26th District in more than 40 years. He spent his first term fighting to lower the cost of higher education, enact common-sense gun regulations and invest in transportation improvements for Fairfield County.

In this moment of crisis, Haskell is eager to continue fighting for the health of families and the success of businesses in our community. He believes that in the absence of federal leadership, it’s more important than ever that our state government is guided by science, democratic principles, and a belief that government is a means of lifting people up instead of tearing them down.

Candidate Interview

Candidate Op-Ed

When I launched my campaign two years ago, I unveiled an ambitious plan to build a stronger, safer, more prosperous future for Connecticut. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished—from banning ghost guns to repealing taxes that stifle entrepreneurship to protecting our incredible local schools from any kind of regionalization.

But the world looks very different today, with a new set of challenges. The schools that we fought hard to protect from Hartford’s overreach are now struggling with hybrid and remote learning systems. The businesses that have benefited from strategic tax credits are now fighting to survive the pandemic. Worse, our federal government has dropped the ball in providing meaningful stimulus or properly controlling the spread of COVID-19. While Washington is talking about problems, it’s up to Connecticut to solve them. 

New challenges in 2020 require new ideas and new policy commitments—not rehashing old partisan disagreements. With that in mind, I’d like to share with you three of my policy priorities for the next two years—priorities that will help us recover, rebuild, and prepare for whatever the future may hold.

First:  I will continue fighting to expand access to emergency no-interest and forgivable loans for small businesses that will allow shops and restaurants to keep their doors open safely. Wilton’s small-town feel comes in large part from small, family-owned storefronts. I worked closely with Gov. Lamont on state-level stimulus measures like bridge loans and commercial rent moratoriums at the beginning of the pandemic, and I’ll work to expand those measures during this economic crisis. 

Second:  When the pandemic hit, Connecticut faced shortages of PPE, masks, and other medical supplies when we needed them most—I want to make sure we never have to go through that again. I will invest in a secure medical manufacturing supply chain that will not only produce supplies right here in Connecticut but also create skilled jobs in our state and better prepare us for emergencies. Major firms like the semiconductor supplier ASML prove that suburban towns like Wilton have the capability to attract and sustain advanced manufacturing—we need to build on that success and be a national leader in medical supplies moving forward. 

Third:  With so many people losing their employer-provided health insurance, I will continue to push for an affordable public health care option for Connecticut residents. It’s time to expand health care access and foster competition in the health insurance marketplace, to make both private and public plans better—especially if the new conservative Supreme Court repeals the Affordable Care Act and sends policyholders with chronic illnesses and preexisting conditions out into the cold. That’s why I support a public option in Connecticut:  A public health care plan that allows any small business, nonprofit, or family to buy into the same, high-quality health care that I enjoy as a member of the state legislature. 

The challenges facing our town and our state are too serious and too urgent for us to be bogged down in the arguments of yesteryear. My opponent and I are both opposed to regionalization in any form. We both think that Wilton–not Hartford–should make decisions about local zoning. But, in 2020, candidates for office cannot just be opposed to policies. They need to have a forward-thinking vision for Connecticut. The three priorities I’ve mentioned above are just a few of the reasons I’m running to represent our community in the state Senate. To read about the others, I hope you’ll visit my website

1 COMMENT

  1. “…protecting our incredible local schools from ANY KIND of regionalization” “Any kind?” Senator Haskell appears to have evolved from his earlier statements quoted in the “Darien Times” and “Wilton Bulletin” that he “doesn’t think regionalization is ‘a dirty word.’ In some cases, it does result in cost savings,” and in his own GMW Op Ed “proposing incentives for very small school districts to build economies of scale.”

    We residents of the 26th can only wonder if he won’t devolve back on school regionalization, the issue Democrats have said is NOT dead.

    With regard to public option health care, WOW. If Senator Haskell means anything like SB346, which he co-sponsored earlier this year, that could severely destabilize the marketplace and leave Connecticut’s already battered taxpayers struggling under the burden of one more state obligation. Joe Brennan of the Connecticut Industry and Business Association representing 1000’s of small, medium and large companies in Connecticut expressed it best: “…A state-run health insurance plan will destabilize the health insurance market, require state subsidies to finance the program, and negatively impact Connecticut’s economy…A state-run program is another step closer to the single-payer model. Under the single-payer model, private competition is stifled and insurance companies will only operate as third-party professionals. The movement from a buy-in program to a single-payer system is something our state can not fiscally sustain from both an economic and insurance market standpoint” https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/INSdata/Tmy/2020SB-00346-R000305-Brennan,%20Joe,%20President%20and%20CEO-CBIA-Oppose-TMY.PDF

    Based on the science of economics, pushing for a state public healthcare option in the midst of a tenuous economic and health situation, seems ill-advised at best.

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