Election 2018: Candidates for 25th senate district and and 147th house district speak - Sen. Bob Duff

Sen. Bob Duff
Sen. Bob Duff

Candidates speak:

The Darien Times has invited the candidates for the 25th Senate District and the 147th House District to submit op eds for Darien voters. The Republican candidate for the 147th District, Anzelmo Graziosi, did not submit an op ed by deadline.

Sen. Bob Duff, Democrat

Incumbent, 25th District

I believe we have a lot in common. For one, we share the same values. We believe in a strong work ethic. Hard work pays off. We believe in a good education. Everyone deserves that much. We believe in kindness. It’s all about the Golden Rule. Two generations ago, a radio character named Superman battled for truth, justice and the American way. Nothing has changed in my family since then. I’m sure it’s the same in your family.

When I take a stand on an issue, I base it on my values, along with some cold hard facts.  Here’s one of those facts: Over her lifetime, a woman will earn 1/2 million dollars less than a man — for the same work. Does that seem fair to you? I recently led passage of a bill that empowers women to earn equal pay for equal work.

Another fact: According to an MIT study, today in Fairfield County an acceptable living wage for one adult is $13.70 an hour. You and I both enjoy the fruits of the labor of minimum wage workers. Shouldn’t they be paid enough to afford to live where they work? That’s one reason I support a livable minimum wage.

But what about the budget, Bob? And taxes! This year, I worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle to close a projected $3.5 billion dollar deficit. And we didn’t raise taxes! Plus … we socked away $1.1 billion in Connecticut’s Rainy Day Fund. I’m still the fiscal conservative I was when I first became your state senator. If I vote for a tax, it’s only because the circumstances leave no other choice. Remember, I pay the same taxes as you. And I believe there are more practical and painless ways to increase state revenue streams.

Economies grow in lockstep with a citizens’ ability to learn, apply that knowledge in the workforce and earn a fair wage. The great middle class was built on these principles. So I support education initiatives that prepare students for high tech manufacturing jobs. Right now 25,000 positions in Connecticut need to be filled. There are another 4,000 open IT jobs.

Then there’s the transportation issue. The legislature cancelled a scheduled bus and train rate hike and service cuts. It’s a small but notable victory for commuters. I’m pushing for a fully integrated transit system along with affordable housing and a trained workforce because that’s what CEOs tell me will get them to move to Connecticut. And that’s a big step toward having state budget surpluses each year instead of deficits.

Staying productive means staying healthy. This year, I championed a new law that protects and expands upon everyone’s access to basic health care for themselves and their children. I’m working on an Earned Family Medical Leave insurance plan. Covered employees and the self-employed can receive 100% of their weekly earnings for up to 12 weeks. The legislature also restored funding to Connecticut’s Medicare Savings Program. It supports over a 150,000 seniors. I believe in giving honor and respect to our senior citizens.

I want what you want — to live in peace and be a part of a vibrant and productive community. To see the next generation, including my children, thrive in a state where opportunity abounds. To do my part in the quest for truth, justice and the American way.

If you see how much alike we really are, I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov. 6 so I can continue standing up for you.

(Sen. Duff is Senate Majority Leader.)