NORWALK, Conn. -- The League of Women Voters of Norwalk sent a brief questionnaire to all Norwalk candidates in the Aug. 12 primary election.
The following are the responses of Democratic candidate for state representative of the 137th District, Chris Perone.
Perone, the incumbent, faces a primary challenge from Norwalk Common Council member David Watts, who won the nomination from the Democratic Party in a May vote. Read Watts' responses here on the Daily Voice.
Why did you decide to run for state representative, as opposed to some other office?
Over the past 10 years I have served as state representative, and I have truly loved working to bring back real results to Norwalk. Results in the form of economic assistance for small businesses, municipal aid and more money for education. I currently serve as the co-chair of the Commerce Committee, where I’ve been able to streamline the bureaucracy at the DECD (Department of Economic and Community Development), thereby making economic assistance accessible to more of Norwalk residents, businesses and community groups. From infrastructure to the Maritime Aquarium to the new Early College Academy at Norwalk High School, I have worked to bring back over $100 million in economic and community development. I have also increased the amount of yearly education funding Norwalk receives from Hartford by $4 million.
I decided to run for re-election because I continue to have a passion for the work I’ve been doing but also to help address the concerns of the citizens of my district.
Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement, and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good state representative?
Two years ago I decided to pursue my MBA because I understood that having a business degree, at a time when Connecticut was striving to improve its business climate and global competitiveness, would improve my ability to make the best decisions possible for our state's future. It also gave me new insights into how I, and the General Assembly for that matter, can and should re-examine the role our states tax policy plays in Connecticut’s long-term plans. I believe that our state’s tax policy needs to be reviewed and should be used as a strategic tool to not only put our state’s economy on an upward growth trajectory, but to ensure a better quality of life for its residents. It’s an ambitious goal but one I feel we need to set our sights on.
f you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?
If re-elected my top three priorities will be education, jobs, and public safety.
On education I will work to increase the amount of funding we receive from the state, add on to the 100 state-funded pre-K seats that have already been sent to Norwalk, and get funding for school construction and renovation.
On jobs, I will work to increase the ease of doing business so that we attract more companies thus attracting more jobs. Tax incentive programs that encourage local hiring such as the Small Business Express has been an effective tool in bringing more jobs to Norwalk.
On public safety, after 20 years of pushing for sensible gun safety legislation, we were finally able to pass something substantial that I was proud to co-sponsor. I want to continue working with law enforcement and local community leaders to find cooperative ways to deal with crime and increase transparency.