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 Keith Rodgerson, the Democratic candidate for the 143rd District in Norwalk, Westport and Wilton.
Occupation: Economic Development
Past offices: Wilton Economic Development Commission, Wilton Democratic Town Committee, Community Capital Fund, Bridgeport City Council, Downtown Bridgeport Master Plan and Technical Advisory Committee.
If elected, what would you do to improve roads and trains in Fairfield County?
Transportation is a gigantic issue for our district. In order to improve roads and trains in Fairfield County, I would:
- advocate for Connecticut representation on the MTA Board.
- get Connecticut out of the railroad business, by turning over track/bridge maintenance and ownership to Amtrak.
- promote transit-oriented development and intra-village transit along the Danbury line so that we can justify the public subsidies we seek and attract private capital investment to lower our taxes.
- encourage freight rail and support regulations to reduce truck traffic on I-95. I would ensure that Metro North service is safe, reliable, and comfortable, providing value for its clientele.
- work constructively with our federal legislators to achieve real and measurable results.
If elected, what is your position on state spending and the state budget?
This fits in with the prior question about our roads/trains. Legislators on both sides of the aisle have deferred infrastructure maintenance for decades. The state just can’t keep carrying the lion’s share of the $4 billion worth of the region's needed upgrades, just to return us to a 1960’s level of service. Legislators have to talk straight with their constituents about how proposed tax cuts will impact services and balloon the deficit. In addition, I encourage a move towards Results-Based Accountability. Lastly, like most people, I just want to put an end to partisan squabbling and shell-games when it comes to accounting for revenues and expenditures. We must forge bipartisan coalitions to control Connecticut’s spending and put its businesses and residents first. We cannot have partisan legislators handing in corporate far-right legislation authored by lobbyist bill mills. We must repair our relationships in Hartford so our voice is heard.
What is another top issue or priority in your town or district that you would address in office?
In my experience as an Economic Development professional, our towns and cities lack the resources and training needed for modernized zoning codes and training for board members and staff. Zoning and real reform of dated regulations like 8-30g will ensure vibrant neighborhood and town development and provide opportunity for private investment. Our businesses small and large need a level playing field with regard to taxes and regulations. Our state is skewed by special interests towards out-of-state corporations and it depletes our economy. Smart growth and infrastructure improvement (including IT) are critical to Connecticut’s businesses ability to move people, goods, and services efficiently. This is the largest tax on the businesses we want to encourage. Without major changes, our property tax burden will become increasingly unsustainable, which will impact all of our lives, including schools, seniors, businesses, individuals, transit, and the fragile local economy.
Why should people vote for you?
There are special interests at work in Hartford (and nationally) that want to deplete our economy, pull resources from our children and seniors, savage our environment, influence our gun laws, and propagate a WalMart-like sprawl that lacks concern for economic production. I’m running to give Connecticut's businesses and residents an independent voice that will be heard and an advocate that they can trust to pursue their interest.
For the last four years, our voice in Hartford has been one of dissent and negativity. The constituents of the 143rd District don’t need an ideologue, they want dialogue. They don’t want somebody with a perfect attendance record, yet an imperfect voting record. They don’t want someone who has introduced over 100 pieces of legislation and nothing to show for it. They want results. As a lifelong resident of Connecticut, I offer a clear choice and a fresh vision steeped in Connecticut’s values.
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