We have invited candidates for State Representative for the 102nd District to participate in a five-part Q&A. The seat, currently held by Lonnie Reed, represents five of Branford’s seven voting districts in the Connecticut General Assembly.
Candidate Robin Comey has agreed to participate. Her opponent Robert Imperato has not yet replied to our invitation.
A Brief Biography
Well known in her community, Robin has been a champion for early childhood education, a developer of family programs, and a successful health care policy advocate.
Robin currently serves as representative of the 3rd district on the Branford RTM. She is a small business owner, and a non-profit director. Robin has been a leader in bringing people together to shine a light on the changing needs of her community. She served on Yale New Haven’s Behavioral Health Family Advisory Council, focused on improving the quality of care for patients and family members being served by the Yale New Haven Hospital’s mental health system, and continues to serve on the East Shore District Health Department’s Community Health Improvement Board, the School Readiness Council, the Civic Association of Short Beach and more.
Question: How well prepared is Branford for possible impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, and increased storm activity? As State Representative how will you help local residents meet these challenges?
Branford’s low lying and coastal areas, as we have seen in past storms, is very susceptible to personal loss and devastating damage to our infrastructure. As a member of the Civic Association of Short Beach, I saw the impact on homeowners who were struggling to rebuild with revised FEMA guidelines. Going forward, communication needs to be a priority and ensure we have access to emergency services for all residents. Additionally, we need to make sure that Eversource and other utility companies have a coordinated plan with our town and have available the resources they will need to provide immediate attention.
Question: Do you support streamlining state permitting and environmental reviews to ease investments in infrastructure and transportation projects in Connecticut? Briefly, what are the key obstacles to modernizing Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure?
While I am not familiar with the current permitting process I believe the key obstacle is our lack of funding for projects. Rail projects need continued support and the area needs better access to air travel to attract businesses.
Question: Local government and services are divided in Connecticut between 169 cities and towns. What do you see as the key opportunities and concerns for regionalization over the coming decade?
I support improving opportunities for regionalization. Our economy depends on regional relationships and we should be approaching business development in a regional way. Opportunities for Transit Oriented Development whereas all towns up and down the shorelines would invest and then it would be worthwhile for Shoreline East to expand rail service. We can leverage back office strengths as a South Central area and we need strong leaders to align competing interests.
Question: According to the Greater New Haven United Way, 38% of households in Branford spend more than 30% of their income on housing (the so-called ALICE threshold). What policies or priorities will you support as State Representative to help these residents?
I support $15/hour minimum wage, policies that provide affordable childcare for families. For seniors, programs like the Medicare Assistance Program affects over 350 seniors in our community and I will fight to hold onto funding that helps them. We also need to make healthcare accessible and affordable. I have testified on legislation that provides oversight and transparency to drug manufacturers. I have championed Care4Kids, Husky, School Readiness dollars and more.
Question: Very briefly, what does see as 3 key strengths and 3 key concerns for Branford over the next decade?
Our strengths are our strong fiscal position and the commitment of a forward thinking business community to sensible development of the Branford river area and near the train station. Third strength is our commitment to education.
One concern would be a cautionary approach to an over-reliance on a lot of the same types of businesses in our community. Let’s continue to prioritize some of our roads and adding sidewalks around town that need maintenance. Making sure that our public works department has the leadership and resources to be the best support for our community as possible.
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