STAMFORD, CT — The 2020 election is heating up in Connecticut and there are plenty of races with candidates eager to serve in elected office. Eyes are primarily focused on the presidential election, but every state representative and senate seat is up for grabs. All five of Connecticut's congressional seats are up for grabs as well.
There are 151 seats in the state House of Representatives and 36 in the state Senate. Democrats currently hold majorities in both chambers with a 91 to 60 lead over Republicans in the House and a 22 to 14 lead in the Senate.
Connecticut Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.
Caroline Simmons, a Stamford resident, is running for House of Representatives District 144.
Party affiliation: Democratic Party
Family: Husband: Art Linares (former State Senator from the 33rd District), Kids: Teddy (23 months) and Jack (6 weeks)
Occupation: State Representative (6 years), and Senior Specialist for Policy Innovation and Impact at Elevate: A Policy Lab to Elevate Mental Health and Disrupt Poverty, Yale School of Medicine
Previous elected experience: State Representative
Family members in government: Husband: Art Linares (former State Senator, 33rd District): Brother: Nick Simmons (Director of Special Projects in Governor Lamont's Office); Father: Steve Simmons (Former Governor on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Free Asia )
Campaign website: www.carolinesimmons.org
The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
COVID-19. I will work tirelessly to help Connecticut overcome the health and economic challenges of COVID-19, by working to expand and enhance testing, access to PPE, expanding job training and employment opportunities, supporting our teachers, students and schools with funding and technology support, expanding access to affordable child care, providing small businesses with access to capital, and helping our economy continue to safely reopen.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
Have served as State Representative since 2014 and honored to Co-Chair the Commerce Committee and have introduced and help pass numerous bills; work at the Yale School of Medicine on maternal mental health policies at Elevate: A Policy Lab to Elevate Mental Health and Disrupt Poverty; used to work as a Program Specialist at the Women's Business Development Council; worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for four years in counterterrorism; have a BA in Government from Harvard and an MA in Middle East Studies from George Washington University.
Do you believe Connecticut needs reform when it comes to electric utility oversight? What steps, if any should be taken?
Yes. Was proud to support the Take Back Our Grid bill that aims to better protect ratepayers by establishing performance based ratemaking, requiring utilities provide credits to customers when they are without power for more than 96 hours, connecting the portion of executive salaries that come from ratepayers to performance, and developing minimum staffing levels to better serve consumers. I believe we must continue to build upon the measures in this bill and continue to hold utilities accountable and work to reduce the costs of electric bills in CT.
What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses?
Provide access to capital for small businesses through grants and low-interest loans, connect individuals who are unemployed to job training and job opportunities, provide state assistance to hard hit industries (retail, tourism, restaurants, service sector, etc.)
List other issues that define your campaign platform:
Environmental justice and environmental protection, supporting Stamford schools, expanding access to affordable child care, improving our transportation infrastructure, affordable healthy care, gun safety, women's rights, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, protecting reproductive rights, and supporting immigrant rights.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve again as State Representative and to work tirelessly to continue to improve our wonderful city and state.