Meet the candidates: Dave Rackliffe

 

The Observer asked the candidates three questions. They were given the option of answering one to three of them as long as their total word count did not exceed a number assigned by paper.

The questions were:

A: What should the General Assembly do over the next two years to help the state economy?

B: There has been a lot of finger-pointing this election at the president and our departing governor. Why are either figure relevant to the problems of Connecticut?

C: Other than the economy what are the top issues the General Assembly must address in the next two years. Why?

David Rackliffe

Republican

House 79th District

A: The first two years should focus on reducing the cost of government and improving our business and job climate. Given the current and projected annual budget deficits, which are unsustainable and threaten our future, I believe it is imperative that we:

Remove $1 billion from the next biennial budget for government operations. More specifically, we should explore and encourage consolidation of agencies and increased partnerships with commercial and non-profit groups, such as DMV with Triple A.

Establish a Joint Budget Committee of the legislature to set taxation and spending plans together rather than the current process that reviews them separately and results in increased spending annually.

The Bond Commission should add rules for transparency and public scrutiny to complement the rules for restraint and oversight, to ensure that we can see when our state credit card is being used wisely or politically. Our bond indebtedness is one of the highest in the country and funds are approved far too often behind closed doors to award political friends for their loyalty and support.

Reduce excessive regulatory requirements across the board. We need to create incentives for businesses to expand, stay in Connecticut, or relocate here.

Review programs offered by neighboring states and either match or exceed them to improve our competitiveness for jobs and economic activity, especially in manufacturing, financial services and technology.

B: Most finger-pointing at President Trump and Governor Malloy is part of a calculated approach to avoid taking responsibility. The real issue is our state legislature has been controlled for 40 of the past 42 years by Democrats who seem more interested in staying in power to reap tangible benefits for their supporters at the expense of the sState. Despite his divisive rhetoric and style, President Trump has achieved significant economic gains in his first two years that have benefitted the national economy. Unfortunately, Connecticut has not participated in this economic boom because of the destructive leadership and policies of the Democrat-controlled Legislature. The fact is, Connecticut is at the bottom of almost all financial indicators relative to other states. This has raised the cost of living here beyond the means of many people and businesses, and we see a growing migration of jobs, young college graduates, families and retirees out of Connecticut. We cannot sustain this direction and I do not want to watch my grandchildren grow up via Skype because they, or I, can’t afford to live here anymore. All politics aside, we cannot continue the same destructive tax and spend path that is now jeopardizing our families. We must take control of Connecticut’s economy away from the ruling Democratic Party in Hartford. And the only way to do that is to change majority control in the state legislature.

C:  I think the top two issues, other than the economy, are healthcare and restoring confidence in government.

The state’s hospitals have been punished by the Malloy administration since he took office in 2010. Malloy and Democrats have especially targeted smaller community hospitals like Bristol Hospital. We have an award-winning hospital in Bristol that is one of the most affordable in the state. I am a strong believer in the need for community hospitals to support local populations and enhance access to healthcare. More specifically, these local hospitals add value and strength to their communities and I believe that the playing field needs to be level; doing so will allow hospitals to compete fairly. We should reward and support, not penalize, their efforts.

Regarding confidence in government, I have lived in Connecticut my entire life and have witnessed a loss of direction that began with the implementation of the income tax. Year in and year out, residents are subjected to partisan bickering that always results in excessive spending beyond our means and benefits too few of our citizens. We also are subjected to unsustainable and crippling taxation that is so pervasive, people and businesses are leaving in growing numbers. And when businesses go, jobs go with them, along with fami lies and revenue. We are at a crossroads and we must take a different path to insure our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. Fiscally and socially responsible decision making, along with greater efficiency, must be the foundation of the restoration of confidence in this government.