Monday, October 27, 2008

Paul Doyle: Response to Eye Election Questionnaire

A few weeks ago, The Middletown Eye emailed several questions to candidate for office representing Middletown.

Today, we feature the first response.

Candidate: Paul Doyle, incumbent State Senator (Democratic, 9th District)
Opponent: Ralph Capenera (Republican)

The economy is the most important, and most frightening issue facing the voting populace. What will you do to help individuals, and municipalities deal with the realities of a failing economy?

After my extensive campaigning these past few months, I agree that the state of our economy is the most pressing issue facing the voters. At the state level, we are heading into a very difficult time concerning our state budget because the current projected state budget deficit of $302 million does not include the reduced income tax and capital gain revenues resulting from the meltdown of Wall Street. Recognizing that, I believe that my prior experience at the State Capitol during the downturn in the 1990s will make me best suited to make the difficult budget decisions necessary to get us through this difficult period. Rather than across the board budget cuts, I believe we must scrutinize the state budget to limit cuts to programs that will directly impact our citizens and our towns during this difficult time. In addition and where possible recognizing our limited state resources, we need to continue to provide assistance to individuals who are victims of this financial crisis.

Elected officials are famous for talking about the value of a good education. How would you address issues in education like equity across municipal lines, student achievement, teacher compensation, student opportunity. What practical and realistic steps would you take?

I think the best approach for the State Legislature to take to improve Connecticut’s education is to increase state aid to its towns. For the past two years as the State Senator from the 9th District, I am proud to have fought for increasing state aid for education in the 9th District Towns. Over the past two years, the 9th District received an increase in state aid of 18% or $10 million dollars. For Middletown specifically, I fought to increase state aid 11% or over $3 million dollars.

This state has spent billions building highways, but precious little developing a mass transit infrastructure. How will you redirect state goals away from more and bigger roads and towards energy-efficient mass transit?

In the past several years, the State of Connecticut has invested significant monies into the reconstruction and construction of its roadways. However, the State of Connecticut has also invested significant monies into mass transit such as the upgrading of the existing transit system Metro North and plans are underway for a new transit system along I-91 from New Haven to the Massachusetts border. In the short term, fewer monies will be available from state government because of the severe economic downturn but we must keep focused on the importance of the creation of mass transit.

Currently Middletown does not receive it's full promised PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) allotment. What will you do to remedy that?

I will continue to fight to increase all state aid for Middletown, including PILOT. I oppose the expansion of CJTS. However, if such an expansion of the CJTS proceeds over my legislative objections, we should fight to increase PILOT payments if Middletown is to receive another burden from the State of Connecticut.

Our governments spend millions in a futile war on drugs which consumes the time and attention of police, courts, counselors, correctional institutions. What is your opinion on the decriminalization of marijuana?

I do not support the decriminalization of marijuana. It is clear that drugs are a major problem in our society and drugs are the root cause of our high crime rate and large incarceration rate. If we were to legalize marijuana, I believe other more dangerous and illegal drugs would become the drug of choice and harm our citizens. It must also be pointed out that federal law prohibits the use of marijuana and the passage of such a state law in Connecticut would provide a false sense of legitimacy to the use of marijuana because our citizens could still be prosecuted under federal law. If marijuana were legalized without the legislative approval of the federal government, then the FDA would not regulate the use of marijuana as a legitimate drug and therefore the unregulated use of marijuana as a drug would put our citizens at risk.

All government, but particularly state government is confusing and out-of-reach for most citizens. What can you do toward promoting open government and assuring the voting populace that they can know about legislation, and have a say in the laws that are passed? What will you do towards promoting an atmosphere of open government?

Over the past several years, I have supported legislation that promoted open government by creating a user friendly legislative website [] and by supporting the creation of the Connecticut Television Network (CTN) [] that provides extensive cable television coverage of Connecticut state government at work. In these difficult economic times, I will strive the maintain funding for both these worthy open government causes.
The state currently spends millions in an attempt to get film business to work in Connecticut. How will you create a program to encourage new, green permanent manufacturers to locate in Connecticut?

The state currently spends millions in an attempt to get film business to work in Connecticut. How will you create a program to encourage new, green permanent manufacturers to locate in Connecticut?

It is clear in these difficult economic times that we will have limited economic development dollars. I think we need to redirect our economic development dollars that support the film industry to the green alternative energy industries. Unlike the film industry, the creation of green alternative energy industries through the use of state incentives will reduce Connecticut’s reliance on foreign oil and will also create manufacturing jobs that remain permanently in Connecticut and truly benefit the citizens of Connecticut.

What is your position on preserving a clean and viable environment in Connecticut? How will you help preserve open space and farmland? What will you do revive the Connecticut River?

In the past, I have supported the allocation of state monies for the environment including open space, farmland preservation, and the cleanup of the Connecticut River. Although I will continue to fight to fund these worthy causes, the current economic crisis may make it difficult for me to provide as much funding as I would like for these worthy causes.

How can we prevent further suburban sprawl?

Utilizing the principals of Smart Growth, state government needs to provide voluntary incentives to its municipalities so they redevelop existing industrial sites rather than developing the ever shrinking open space of Connecticut. However, I do not support the state legislature imposing mandatory principles of Smart Growth on its municipalities.

Middletown has experienced a renaissance in the past 10 years. What will you do to help promote and extend that renaissance?

Working with the elected officials of Middletown, I will continue to advocate at the state level to seek state assistance, whether financial or otherwise, that the foregoing elected officials ask me to pursue for their economic development goals for Middletown.

Does a two party political system still work? Why? Why not?

Although it is not perfect, I believe the two party system still works well. If people are unhappy with either or both political parties, I would urge them to get involved with whichever party fits their political philosophy and personally work to make their party of choice better and more responsive. Rather than simply complain, it is always better to become invested and make a difference.

Please list all organizations which have endorsed your campaign.

• Local 478, International Union of Operating Engineers;
• Connecticut State Building Trades Council;
• International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 35;
• Sheet Metal Worker’s Local Union # 40;
• Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut, Inc.;
• Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA); and
• Carpenters Local Union 43.


Justin L. said...

Kudos, Eye bloggers. This was an excellent idea.

fishmuscle said...

I hope that other candidates will follow Mr. Doyle's lead in using The Eye to make clear how they stand on issues of importance to Middletown voters. Their responses (or lack thereof) help inform the voters about who they are.