Hello Ridgefield. My name is Julie Kushner. I’m running for re-election to a third term representing the 24th Connecticut Senate District. Newly drawn district lines will include Danbury, part of Ridgefield and part of New Fairfield for the upcoming election.
I am very pleased that I will be on the ballot in November 2022 for Ridgefield, so I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself.
Upon taking office in 2019, I was immediately named chair of the Labor Committee and have been privileged to work on important legislative initiatives. As of Jan. 1, two of my top priorities produced real benefits — Paid Family and Medical Leave and an increase in the minimum hourly wage, in steps, to $15 by 2023.
I am also vice-chair of the Public Health Committee, as well as a member of five other committees: Environment, Housing, Education, Executive and Legislative. My work encompasses state-wide issues, locally focused legislation and constituent services
A few important statewide legislative issues that my colleagues and I have enacted include:
- COVID control and relief: Telehealth was established early in the pandemic and has helped workers and seniors to secure safer, easier access to health care. We will advocate to extend this valuable service beyond the current crisis. We’ve worked with the Governor to improve access to testing, vaccination and health services. We’ve worked with the Dept. of Economic and Community Development to help businesses and non-profits that were hit hard by the pandemic. We enacted legislation that will provide for our frontline heroes with $34 million into the Essential Workers Covid Relief fund for those who risked their lives and those of their families
- Equity issues: We passed the CROWN Act ending discrimination based on how you wear your hair. We declared racism a public health crisis. We passed pay equity legislation.
- Health Care: The costs of Insulin and other life-saving drugs have been capped. We’ve banned the “forever” chemical carcinogen – PFAS – from firefighting foam.
- CT state budget improvements now include:
- increasing the rainy-day fund to the legal maximum of $3.1 billion
- support for nonprofits with $110 million
- a $1.6 billion pay-down on long-term debt.
Local legislative issues that my colleagues and I have passed include:
- securing 80% state reimbursement for a new 6-12 Danbury public school
- bringing in an additional $2.5 million in municipal aid to Danbury
- environment investment – $30,000 to attack invasive species in Candlewood Lake, $3,000 for Ball Pond, and $25,500 for Lake Kenosia. Bonding for the Marjorie Trail and Bonding for the Squantz Engine Company volunteer fire department in New Fairfield.
- We’ve updated our recycling laws
Constituent services have been a particularly critical part of my responsibilities during this pandemic. Much off my everyday efforts as state senator have been helping constituents gain access to benefits like unemployment and rental assistance and food security. We’ve worked hard to facilitate access to testing and vaccines and health care.
We cannot take our eyes off pandemic containment. As tired of it as we are, it’s still with us – even spiking. For most of last year, Connecticut was one of the safest states to live in during Covid, and we now have to work even harder to keep it that way.
I believe in science and medicine, just as I believe in safely supporting business and economic opportunity.
I ran for office to tackle the big challenges working families in Connecticut face, and to make a difference in our diverse community. While we’ve done a lot, there’s much to do to ensure that the recovery from the pandemic is a recovery for all. We need more funding for schools. We need affordable housing. We need a health care system that is affordable, effective and accessible. We need tax fairness.
I have been part of the Danbury community for nearly 30 years. My husband Larry Morgan and I have raised our three children here. We now have four grandchildren – all in Connecticut. Before running for senate, I retired as the Regional Director of the United Auto Workers where my life was dedicated to bringing workers together for fairness on the job. I found effective solutions to real-life problems and I am proud to continue applying that skill as state senator.
I stand ready to meet challenges on behalf of our community and the state. I am excited to have part of Ridgefield now within that community and have already begun discussions with local officials, the town committee and resident friends. There has been a very warm welcome from all.
I am deeply honored to represent the 24th District and look forward to meeting you all virtually and – hopefully soon – in person. I want to earn your confidence and support for my re-election.