State senatorial candidate Steve Choi answers questions on the issues

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Steve Choi

Steve Choi, of Trumbull, the Republican candidate for Connecticut’s 22nd Senatorial District, is challenging incumbent Democrat, Marilyn Moore, in a three-way-race that includes Independent Party candidate Stephen Dincher.

Choi answered questions posed by The Monroe Sun, so voters know where he stands on some of the most pressing issues the state faces:

What measures should the Legislature do to Connecticut do to spark its economy?

As the co-owner and operator of a family business, Steve knows Main Street entrepreneurs need our support now more than ever. Easing financial burdens on small businesses and maintaining a stable tax rate are good first steps toward recovery.

For years, Connecticut has lost residents and businesses to big cities and to states with lower costs of living. Planning experts claim that suburbs are dying and that Connecticut towns need to become more urban to attract young people. Yet, in just a few months, the pandemic made plain the benefits of the Connecticut small-town lifestyle to city dwellers. We have the opportunity to increase prosperity from beyond the tri-state area, but we need to elect a state senator who believes suburbs are not subpar.

How do you think the State is handling the COVID-19 pandemic?

Despite ongoing emails, social media posts, palm cards, or mailers, that state the usual platitudes of helping us in times of crisis, they have not. Every election year, tired slogans, and phrases such as “working for you” and “proudly serving” litter campaign palm cards and mailers of candidates on both sides of the aisle. It is difficult to believe that the legislators are actually “working for the citizens” when they have not shown up to work.

Throughout this pandemic, nurses, doctors, delivery drivers, grocery workers, first responders, and other “essential workers” continued to enter the burning buildings. But State Legislators fled. They had the privilege to watch from the safe confines of home, cash their state paycheck, and earn another year of service towards obtaining life-time retiree health care and a state pension. In March, one particular legislator had the audacity to post on social media, “when you get those stimulus checks, make sure you save $$ some for Moore for Senate 2020. Just sayin’.” As businesses continue to close, and families struggled to work and educate their children from home, they were asked to use their relief funds to pad legislators’ retirement, and fund Cadillac health care plans. Really?

When voting this year, ask yourself the following questions: Did they return my call? Did they help my family? Did they help my business? Did they make my community more or less safe? Did they allow me to attend church? Wasn’t my legislator “essential?” Why weren’t they at work?

What is another issue Connecticut faces that you are passionate about and how should it be addressed?

Bi-partisan concern exists about qualified immunity. Allowing police officers to be sued in civil court will ultimately impact local government. Cities and towns will bear the cost of insurance liability for police officers. If you do not believe local government will incur more financial burdens because of this bill, wait until the next municipal budget passes, and the next police union contract is negotiated. For example, a monthly premium for liability insurance for one police officer will cost roughly $2,000; the yearly cost will be $24,000. This is yet another unfunded tax mandate from Hartford that awaits every city and town in Connecticut beginning July 1, 2021.

Civil action insurance coupled with “real de-funding” of police departments will continue the current trend where more new people purchase firearms for home defense. Until recently, the argument has been made by gun control advocates that residents do not need to purchase a firearm if they had access to protection through the municipal police force. For those voters who would like to see less guns in the hands of civilians, the current police accountability bill will accelerate the trend of civilian firearm ownership, not decrease it.

Connecticut State Senators should have postponed the vote on the bill to ensure all aspects of the legislation were properly vetted. We owed it to the community and law enforcement officials to get the bill right.

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