DeeDee Brandt: Representing residents, not special interests
With every election season there comes a score of special interest endorsements from every interest group under the sun. Whether these special interest endorsements -- as well intentioned as they may be -- help define the candidate and campaign, are in the eye of the beholder or, in most cases, the fine print.
Endorsements come in all shapes and sizes. Some are a result of lengthy questionnaires and some are the result of closed-door discussions. But the fine print is that endorsements come in exchange for, or the promise of, the enactment of favorable laws, contractual concessions and budget funding for a particular interest group. Given the current financial troubles facing Connecticut that is a tacit promise I am unwilling to make. I prefer instead to ask for the endorsement of the residents of Fairfield and Westport.
Connecticut is facing the deepest and most severe financial and unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. Our state is $3.3 billion in debt beginning on July 1, 2012, and another $3.1 billion in 2013. The fact that our children and seasoned workers are unable to find meaningful employment with state unemployment over 9 percent must be our focus.
Against that fiscal backdrop, I back up my commitment to education and the environment with real experience and dedication, having lead an environmental task force and served many years as a Mill River wetland guide. In addition, I have served on many PTAs, school volunteer organizations, Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchetra (GBYO) and Fairfield County Children's Choir (FCCC) in addition to being a volunteer in Bridgeport schools and a foster parent. But none of these will be successful if Connecticut is not on firm financial footing.
Special interests groups, while well intentioned, have a dedicated and therefore narrow worldview. When elected to state legislature, I will ensure that no single cause is put before the common good of the residents of Fairfield and Westport.
The job of a state legislator is not to work for the benefit of special interest groups but rather to work for the people of her district -- and that's exactly what I intend to do.