21st Senatorial District Race: How can Connecticut grow its economy, create jobs

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Christopher Green, left, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican, Kevin Kelly, right, for the 21st Senatorial District seat this November.

State Sen. Kevin Kelly, a Republican, is a longtime incumbent seeking another term heading the 21st District, which includes the towns of Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford. He is being challenged by Democrat, Christopher Green, a businessman and educator from Stratford.

The Sun sent questions to both candidates on issues Connecticut is facing and may face in the future to learn where they stand on the issues. Each question and the answers will be featured in an ongoing series leading up to Election Day on Nov. 8.

What should Connecticut do to grow its economy and create more high paying jobs?

Green: We should be re-emphasizing the importance of programs that help workers gain technical job skills. Right now in Connecticut, there are thousands of jobs available, but our workers need the skills to fill them.

I am glad to see the state is being proactive in creating programs to try to bring businesses back to Connecticut and to create accelerated paths and incentives for those looking to enter fields with shortages, especially in nursing, teaching and law enforcement.

Connecticut also created a paid family leave program — which my opponent opposed —- to ensure a reasonable safety net for families in case of illness, injury or the birth of a child. Because of this and other efforts, Connecticut is now one of the best states to raise a family and one of the best states for young workers.

We also need to ensure that the $5 billion Connecticut will receive as part of the federal infrastructure bill over the next few years is spent wisely and efficiently to further boost the appeal of this state to employers and families.

Kelly: We must create an environment where all jobs in all parts of our state can grow and thrive, where employers can afford to support good paying jobs, and where all young people have an opportunity to access better paying jobs.

What the majority has done in our state is not working. Wage increases are not keeping up with the cost of living. Connecticut ranks 46th in the nation for personal income growth post-pandemic and 45th for opportunity. While the U.S. has recovered all jobs lost during the pandemic, Connecticut isn’t expected to do the same until June of next year.

This year I was honored to be recognized by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association for my 100 percent pro-jobs voting record on key bills that grow jobs, improve the workforce and affordability, and enhance our overall economic health.

I’ve also earned the endorsement from laborers and retirees alike recognizing my continuous efforts to grow better paying jobs and opportunity.

Working with Connecticut’s job creators, workers, and advocates, I’ve developed a comprehensive plan that tackles Connecticut’s jobs. The Better Way to a Prosperous Connecticut plan includes establishing a pipeline to work, pathways to careers, a health care academy, reviving job fairs and vocational program recruitment, career opportunities for veterans, revising occupational licensing, establishing a Buy CT to Build CT program to support good paying defense industry jobs, like Sikorsky Aircraft, and growing jobs in the state’s flagship insurance industry. 

I will continue to fight to make sure your voice is heard at the Capitol. You can read the full plan by clicking here.

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