We have invited the incumbent State Sen. Paul Formica, and his challenger Martha Marx, to answer five questions which we believe are critical in the coming years for residents of the 20th Connecticut Senate District, which includes Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford.
Both Paul Formica, and Martha Marx have agreed to participate. We begin with Martha Marx, with Paul Formica’s answers to follow shortly.
A Brief Biography
A former New London City Council member, Martha led the Public Works, Finance, and School Buildings/Maintenance Committees. She worked with business owners, local organizations, and residents of every political stripe to strengthen the community. Martha listened to a wide range of constituents before making decisions that improved public health, affordable housing and home health care in the area.
As a visiting nurse for patients throughout southeast CT, Martha advocates fiercely for her clients so they get the highest quality care possible. She will bring the same passion to representing her district.
In her first year on the council, Martha was responsible for ensuring that money was appropriated in the capital budget to get the pedestrian bridge over Route 32 repaired. Martha enabled the funding of mattress covers to prevent bed bug infestation for all 436 units of the New London Housing Authority. She provided the leadership for the funding decisions our council had to make. Martha changed funding around in a revenue neutral way (i.e., the program did not require an increase in revenue) to tackle both a public health and housing issue at the same time, and convinced all her fellow counselors to vote for it as well.
Martha was instrumental in determining which sidewalks got repaved in New London. Martha is especially proud of ensuring that Connecticut Avenue, a major thoroughfare into the city, was repaved, which greatly enhanced the appearance of the neighborhood. Martha was the only counselor that passed legislation, as council liaison to the Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which dealt with an ordinance to address snow clearance on sidewalks.
Martha started a bulky waste program, which is being implemented now. Martha got new funding to build the new high school. Sat in countless meetings, asked important questions, which led to a better process and outcome for the school project. Martha saved the New London’s Human Services Position from being cut. The Human Services Director has done a lot to combat the opioid crisis. Martha worked with the Human Services Director to implement a panhandlers’ education program for downtown businesses and business-goers about how to handle panhandlers.
Martha helped draft legislation for the certification of sober houses. When too many units were proposed to be built in a housing development on the Edgerton school property, Martha voted against it. Due to that vote, they are now putting in fewer units and it is no longer too dense.
Martha also served as the first female chair of the New London Democratic Town Committee, president and vice president of AFT Local 5119, and District 3 Campaign Manager for Joe de la Cruz’ successful 2016 State Representative campaign.
Raised in Waterford, Martha Marx graduated from UConn and raised her four children in New London.
Question: Do you support the reintroduction of tolling in Connecticut? How do you weigh the potential positives and negatives for residents of southeastern Connecticut?
I support the reintroduction of tolls in Connecticut to help fund the rehabilitation of our aging infrastructure. With the state in need of billions of dollars for repairs and improvements to our transportation and highways, our options are limited. Tolls could raise between $750 million and $1 billion a year, according to a Department of Transportation study and other studies.
While no one wants to add the cost of tolls to CT residents’ or small businesses’ transportation expenses, there simply are not many other realistic courses of action for our state to properly maintain our transportation system and infrastructure. Funding for large scale construction and repair projects is critical to address congestion on our highways, attract businesses and jobs, strengthen our economy, address environmental challenges, improve rail and other mass transit systems, and keep our young people and families living in Connecticut.
Question: Residents in Old Lyme and Waterford are currently embroiled in lengthy and contentious approval processes for 8-30g affordable housing developments. Do you believe such disputes are inevitable, and how as State Senator could you help improve this process and outcomes?
I understand the many considerations that must be taken into account during development projects. For instance, as a New London city councilor, when too many units were proposed to be built in a housing development, I voted against it. Due to that vote, the developers are now putting in fewer units, and it is no longer too being too densely built.
Given the many factors at play – the substantial benefits that affordable housing brings to our communities, the need for pedestrian, traffic and fire safety, and others – we must come together as a community to meet the needs of all constituents affected by this and other developments.
Conflicts and disputes in society are undeniably a continuous part of our lives, especially in these contentious and media-saturated times. I believe that as State Senator, I can play an important role by listening to all constituents and valuing a wide range of voices from our community. My skill as a listener and mediator can help to improve the process and outcome, by ensuring that many perspectives are considered and incorporated into projects like this.
Question: What do you see as the key obstacles and opportunities for the Orsted-Deepwater Wind Project off New London? As State Senator what policies or priorities will you emphasize to help achieve the best outcomes for residents of southeastern Connecticut?
The Orsted-Deepwater Wind Project will enable the delivery of clean energy to seven states on the east coast of the United States, establishing Connecticut as an important player in America’s offshore wind industry.
We have a valuable opportunity to harness the economic power of renewable energy. For example, Kansas is actually a U.S. leader in renewable energy, with 36% of its total power generation coming from wind. As a conservative state, Kansans are often motivated less by a concern for climate change, and more by the financial benefits that pay off as they invest in energy from renewable sources. Wind off CT’s shores is as strong as in Kansas, and we are closer to major metropolitan centers. Tapping into sustainable assets like our offshore wind energy is the right thing to do for both our economic and environmental goals. Our district’s vital resources, including UConn Avery Point, Electric Boat, and New London’s deep port, well position our region for leadership on sustainable energy.
That being said, there are challenges with any large scale energy project. Some matters that must be addressed for any wind power project include viewshed protection, noise concerns, the large number of undersea transmission cables needed to bring wind power ashore, and potential vulnerabilities to terrorism.
Therefore, as State Senator, I will prioritize using our always-limited funding dollars to invest in a healthy, forward-looking range of renewable energy projects from a variety of sources – a combination of wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small-scale hydro. Massachusetts recently adopted a new commitment to achieve 50% reliance on renewable technology by 2045 – we don’t want to be left behind. Through clever investments in various forms of renewable energy, CT can be a leader in the development of sustainable energy that will both reap significant financial rewards and mitigate future costs to the economy, citizens and environment.
Question: Do you support the development of a State Water Plan for Connecticut? Do you support or oppose the formal designation of water as a public trust? Why or why not?
Yes. Every state should have a State Water Plan. A water plan helps planners, regulators, and lawmakers make consistent, science-based, forward-looking decisions for water management.
The public trust policy has been a successful statute in CT for 40 years. I definitely support this policy, because it recognizes the public’s inherent right to clean air, clean water and a healthy environment.
Question: What do you see as the key opportunities and concerns to regionalizing government services across the 20th Connecticut Senate District – Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford?
Considering that many municipalities face fiscal challenges, we all must commit to improving regional efficiencies. The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments has done a comprehensive study of the opportunities and challenges for regionalization in our area. They have assessed which services are already shared between the council’s 22 municipalities and which could be further regionalized.
Potential opportunities to further regionalize services may be found in transfer stations, information technology, administrative services (e.g., purchasing, finance), records management, public works, and other areas. Any move toward regionalization must be done with sensitivity and intelligence, since each municipality is different. There may be concerns that sharing a service might force one community to adopt another’s level of service and cost. I will be a champion for ensuring that the process of regionalization includes extensive input from members of our communities and all stakeholders.
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Interested in finding out more about Martha Marx? Click Here.