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State Representative Candidate Profile: Gail Lavielle

Gail Lavielle, Republican incumbent candidate for the State House of Representatives seat for District 143 (Wilton, Norwalk, Westport).
Gail Lavielle, Republican incumbent candidate for the State House of Representatives seat for District 143 (Wilton, Norwalk, Westport). Photo Credit: Courtesy of Gail Lavielle

WILTON, Conn. -- The Daily Voice sent out a questionnaire to all candidates seeking office in this year's election.

The following are the responses of Gail Lavielle, Republican incumbent candidate for the State House of Representatives seat for District 143 (Wilton, Norwalk, Westport). She is facing Democratic challenger Keith Rodgerson.

Name: State Representative Gail Lavielle

Age: 57

Occupation: State Representative, former business executive

Affiliations: Republican

Past offices: Town Board of Finance, Town Energy Commission

Current race: State Representative, 143rd district (Norwalk, Westport, Wilton)

If elected, what would you do to improve roads and trains in Fairfield County?

We must build a bipartisan Fairfield County legislative coalition to improve transportation here. Our goals should be:

• Structure a long-term plan with funding commitments and stick to it.

• Use state transportation funds for transportation only (I’ve helped pass legislation requiring this.)

• Move transportation infrastructure to the top of the state’s bonding priority list.

• Fix Metro-North and our most heavily used roads before building anything new.

• Negotiate performance standards and fairer CT/NY cost sharing with Metro-North, or request bids from other operators.

• Work with other New England states to obtain more federal transportation funding.

• Promote transit-oriented development.

I am Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and a recognized advocate for transportation investment and improvements. I’ve twice been named “Transportation Leader” by the CT League of Conservation Voters and am endorsed by the Commuter Action Group’s Jim Cameron for my service to commuters.

If elected, what is your position on state spending and the state budget?

Connecticut has spent, borrowed, and taxed too much. Taxpayers have been hit hard, and many are considering moves to other states. During the past four years, because spending increased by 16 percent, the state is facing a nearly $3 billion deficit for the next biennium, even after a record-high retroactive tax increase of $1.8 billion. Connecticut has the country’s highest per-capita debt and the second highest level of unfunded post-retirement obligations, and it cannot meet its critical investment needs.

It is urgent to get Connecticut’s financial house in order:

• Cut the size and cost of state government

• Restore and respect the state spending cap

• Reduce taxes that hurt families, small business owners, and seniors

• Pay off debt on schedule

• Restrict borrowing to capital projects and investments

• Reduce and stem the growth of unfunded retirement obligations

• Make critical transportation infrastructure and education investments

What is another top issue or priority in your town or district that you would address in office?

Jobs and the economy: Connecticut is lagging behind the rest of the country in its recovery. Although the unemployment rate has improved, there are few jobs for young people, and many people who are employed aren’t confident about job security. Fairfield County has a significant number of long-term unemployed, and part-time employment and low-wage jobs are growing. Jobs and the economy are on everyone’s mind in all three district towns.

Government can’t create private-sector jobs, but it can create a climate that attracts businesses and lets them grow. Lawmakers must focus on making Connecticut more competitive in attracting new businesses and helping existing businesses thrive -- particularly small businesses, which represent more than 70 percent of Connecticut’s economy.

• Instead of offering one-shot incentives to a few large companies, reduce costs, including taxes, for all businesses

• Eliminate burdensome regulations and mandates

• Match workforce education and training with available jobs

Why should people vote for you?

By meeting with thousands of people, visiting them at their homes, and listening to their concerns, I’ve built strong relationships with my constituents and a deep understanding of their expectations. I’ve also built relationships with colleagues from both parties in Hartford and gained solid experience with the legislative process.

I get results for constituents. I’ve proposed and passed legislation to “lockbox” transportation funds, relieve schools from unfunded mandates, create a state port authority, help small businesses, remediate brownfields, and more. I’ve helped craft no-tax-increase budgets, fought to reduce taxes for seniors, and supported investments in transportation and education. I’ve brought funds to the district (Wilton train station walkway, Norwalk Senior Center, etc.), helped commuters (reinstating through-train, Wilton Station lights, etc.), assisted many in storm aftermaths, and kept constituents informed through regular, substantive communication.

I’ve demonstrated my commitment to my constituents, and when fighting for their interests, I have no fear.

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