Op/Ed: "A new voice for Darien and Stamford" - Esses on why he's running for state senate

Joshua Esses is the Republican-endorsed candidate for the 27th state Senate district.

Joshua Esses is the Republican-endorsed candidate for the 27th state Senate district.

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Stamford and Darien and our surrounding communities are the crown jewels of the state of Connecticut. I’m running to be your state Senator for the 27th district (which covers much of Stamford, and most of Darien south of I-95) to make them even better.

As a Stamford native and graduate of Stamford’s public schools, I know first-hand the incredible opportunities our communities provide to an ordinary family like mine. Quality schools; natural beauty; community; and diversity across every conceivable dimension: these are just a few things afforded to every family and child privileged to call Stamford or Darien their home.

In particular, the Darien voters I’ve spoken to have emphasized the high quality of the Darien public school system as one of their reasons for living in Darien, and I will defend Darien’s public school system from regionalization and other misguided efforts from Hartford to overrule local control of schools.

I know our communities have a bright future, so long as we get our priorities straight in Hartford. That is why I will bring forward-thinking ideas to benefit our community that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents can all unite behind, including:

— Providing business and economic relief. As your state senator, I will propose the “Just Compensation Act of 2021,” which will compensate business owners for losses caused by restrictions imposed on their activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. When the government takes private property for a public use, like building a new school, or widening a city street, it is obligated to pay “just compensation” to the property owner. The same logic applies to government regulations which prevent a business from operating. It is our duty to provide just compensation to businesses whose operations have been shuttered by COVID-19 restrictions, and we should do all we can to eliminate unreasonable business restrictions to alleviate such harm imposed in the first place.

— Empowering local government to do what’s best for their communities. Far too often, the impact of state law on our municipal budgets and operations is overlooked. Take Darien’s labor agreements with its public employees, for example. Because of the state law known as MERA (the Municipal Employees Relations Act), it is incredibly difficult for Darien (and Stamford, and all municipalities in the state) and their employees to negotiate sensible collective bargaining agreements, as such agreements are subject to binding arbitration. Let’s reform MERA, and allow our municipalities and their employees freedom when negotiating labor contracts. Local government, and not the state, should be in the driver’s seat whenever possible.

— Making Connecticut a center for technology and innovation. Just as Delaware is the corporate law capital of the country, Connecticut can become our nation’s cryptocurrency and digital asset capital. Connecticut has tremendous financial and intellectual capital in our state and the surrounding areas, and can attract significant investments in the technology, blockchain, and cryptocurrency space by being proactive and creating a comprehensive legal and regulatory environment supportive of blockchain innovation, including clarifying the state tax implications of owning, selling, and trading digital assets, updating our state’s Uniform Commercial Code, and enacting consumer protection laws for users of cryptocurrency and other digital assets. With the right priorities in Hartford, Connecticut can and will become a hub for innovation and technology.

Unfortunately, our state government threatens our continued prosperity. Look no further than the proposed statewide property tax which would raise taxes on homes worth $430,000 or more. A good legislator must be ready to say “no,” repeatedly, to bad ideas like this brand-new property tax, and I will say “no”: no to new tolls, new taxes, school regionalization, and to Hartford taking control of local zoning laws. I will be a voice of sanity in Hartford, and I will be firmly focused on keeping the cost of living down as much as possible, and control of local government in the hands of our local officials.

While Stamford and Darien are not without their challenges, I trust in our communities’ future success and vibrancy. Only our state government—which has been headed in the wrong direction for far too long—can get in our way.

As your state senator, I promise to bring a new approach to Hartford. I will be “A new voice for Stamford and Darien.” I hope to have your support in the special election on March 2 at your normal polling place or earlier by absentee ballot.

Joshua Esses is the Republican-endorsed candidate for the 27th state Senate district. His website can be found at www.EssesforCT.com .