NORWALK, Conn. -- The Daily Voice sent out a questionnaire to all candidates seeking office in this year's election.
The following are the responses of Andy Garfunkel, the Democratic candidate for the State House of Representatives seat for District 142 (Norwalk, New Canaan). He is facing Republican candidate Fred Wilms. The seat is currently held by Republican Larry Cafero, who is not seeking re-election.
Name: Andy Garfunkel
Occupation: Real Estate Agent at William Raveis / Studio Mechanic-Stage Employee
Affiliations: Democratic Party, Working Families
Past offices: Town Clerk of Norwalk 2001 - 2011
Current race: House of Representatives 142nd District, Norwalk/New Canaan
If elected, what would you do to improve roads and trains in Fairfield County?
Our aging infrastructure is affecting everything; driving our children to school, commuting longer hours to work, spending more time in the car then doing family activities. It’s a complex issue, but we first have to tackle the obvious, its a regional issue that starts with taking a hard look at why our trains are overcrowded and our buses empty in Fairfield County. We need to manage truck traffic better. We don’t talk about how the laws we have influence our traffic and it is time that we start doing that.
We have a revamped regional planning agency called regional council of governments. This will enable us to qualify for more federal support on infrastructure projects. But that’s just scratching the surface, we need to work harder at looking at our transportation grid as a regional network, and go as far as explore an alternative rail system for intra-Connecticut.
If elected, what is your position on state spending and the state budget?
As a freshman representative I will be looking at the budget line by line to find ways to make possible cuts or ways to strengthen our returns. We also need to realize that there are untapped revenues sources from out of state. There should be a better marketing push for tourism and a frank discussion for a possible new "Easy Pass" toll system for out of state vehicular traffic.
We as citizens see wasted resources on a daily basis. By communicating with our citizens, employees and contractors, We will discover many easy solutions in saving our tax dollars.
What is another top issue or priority in your town or district that you would address in office?
Education funding is also a priority for our community. It is unfortunate that the current "ECS" formula that the state uses for financing education is flawed and will not be resolved in the very near future. In the meantime we need to be responsible with the funding we do receive and concentrate on programs and initiatives that will help our students now.
I believe one of the answers is to focus on Early Childhood Education and Universal Pre-K programs that already exist. If we are to close the gap or raise the test scores this is the place to start. Giving every child the opportunity to the basics of knowledge, of social skills or identifying a child's' disability as early as ages 3 to 5 years old, will greatly benefit us all in the long run and save future costs.
Why should people vote for you?
I have been a representative of this community for many years now, whether it was the Town Clerk, PTO Council, or the numerous other community organizations here in Fairfield County. I believe I can continue that same dedication service on a much broader scale. I will be the conduit between our city and the state legislature for ideas and results. I have a proven record of listening to problems and finding solutions.
Like every other resident, I, too, pay taxes and I want to be assured that my hard earned contribution is being well spent. I’m running because I want to change how we shortchange Fairfield County when it comes to transportation initiatives and other policies.
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