The environment is our most precious resource. Clean water and air are critical to the health and well-being of of our residents. In 2019, I was proud to cast my vote for many forward thinking, green policies. The Ct League of Conservation Voters scores legislators on their pro-environment votes and I was pleased to receive a 100% voting record in my first year in office. I am also an active member of the Coastal Caucus, a group of legislators from communities along the shoreline and rivers, who are working together to coordinate our legislative efforts in managing rising seas and the challenges our towns are facing.
Branford continues to be a leader in our state when it comes to setting model environmental best practices. Our delegation was thrilled to bring forward to Hartford, legislation that had already passed locally. This policy allows any Connecticut municipality to establish a special coastal resiliency fund for future use in climate disasters.
With the statewide ban on plastic bags we positively changed the habits of every resident in our state and personally witnessed the power of thoughtful policy. Additionally, we passed a statewide ban on fracking waste, legalized the growing industry of hemp farming and passed a Green Economy Act which included a fix to our solar net metering and investments in off-shore wind. It also sets green building construction standards, extends the EnergizeCt heating loan program, and establishes a green jobs career ladder. However, we still have much to do to protect our environment and invest in growing a vibrant green jobs economy.
As your State Representative, I was an early supporter of a policy that ensured climate education would be taught in all Connecticut schools. Unfortunately, it did not make it through the house last session but I am committed to do all I can to support this law going forward.
We also have more work to do with banning the usage of PFAS. These “forever chemicals“ are frequently used in firefighting foam and other consumer products. PFAS accumulate in our bodies and are linked to many diseases and cancers. And as we saw with the tragic environmental spill at Bradley International Airport, it has impacted our waterways and drinking water systems resulting in cleanup, fish advisories, and monitoring.
I have stood firm with my colleagues on the infamously stalled Bottle Bill that would raise the redemption rate, which has not budged since 1978, to reflect the 21st century needs to reduce waste and litter, increase recycling, encourage better stewardship and as importantly to increase efforts to minimize the trash management crisis we have in this state.
Finally, I have been listening to many of Branford’s solar experts who are rightfully concerned that our 2018 laws were made too restrictive and have been impacting growth in the field. I support raising the cap on virtual net metering to kick start shovel ready solar installations. This is an industry that plays a large role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Rather, they should be regarded as job creator and we need to do the right thing for this industry.