Meet the Candidate: Derek Slap

Derek Slap. Submitted photo

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running for election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Derek Slap. Submitted photo

Derek Slap. Submitted photo

Compiled by Ronni Newton

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to “Meet the Candidate” – designed to help them get to know the local candidates running for office in the Nov. 8, 2016, election.

Identical questionnaires have been sent to all major party candidates, and each profile received has been submitted directly to We-Ha.com by the candidate or the candidate’s campaign management. The responses have not been edited but have been formatted to match our publication style. Questions left blank have been deleted.

As profiles are received, they will be published on We-Ha.com under the “Government” tab. We-Ha.com is not making endorsements of any political candidates but we are publishing this information in order to assist West Hartford voters in being informed and prepared when they go to the polls on Nov. 8.

If you are a candidate and wish to submit a profile, please return it by email to Ronni Newton at [email protected] ASAP.

Name: Derek Slap

Age: 42

Party, position seeking: Democrat, State Rep. 19th District

Family information: I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Alex. We have three children, Maggie (12), Zoe (10) and Charlie (4).

Other occupation, if applicable: I am the Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications at the UConn Foundation. I’m also a lecturer of Political Science at Yale University.

Political experience: I have never run for office before.

Other relevant experience: I was a broadcast journalist for approximately ten years – the bulk of which was at NBC Connecticut, as a news anchor and reporter. After leaving journalism I worked in local and state government – most recently serving as Chief of Staff for the State Senate Democratic caucus.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for three reasons: Maggie, Zoe and Charlie. They’re my three children but they represent all the children in the 19th District. I want them to be able to keep attending some of the best public schools in the nation. I want them to be able to find jobs in Connecticut when they graduate and I want them to be able to afford a home here as well. Should they choose to retire here, I don’t want them priced out of their community. Furthermore, I want them to see Connecticut as a progressive state that takes care of its environment, helps its less fortunate and constantly innovates to create a dynamic economy that works for all residents.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus?

Protecting our public schools from harmful cuts, holding the line on property taxes and growing jobs.

A few words on how we accomplish each:

First, Connecticut needs a balanced, affordable and sustainable budget. Spending cuts will need to be made but we cannot target our public schools – doing so will drive up property taxes and diminish the great quality of life our families enjoy. We should look to make government more efficient wherever possible. An example is reducing energy costs at state buildings, an initiative our current State Rep. Brian Becker started and I’m committed to expanding.

Second, West Hartford must receive adequate and fairer state funding for our schools if we are to hold the line on property taxes. We should also consider reducing the income tax on social security payments, as some other states have done, to help make Connecticut more affordable for retirees.

We must grow high quality jobs and we can do that by making smart investments in transportation infrastructure (high speed rail), reducing bureaucratic red tape wherever possible, and enacting a balanced budget.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today?

West Hartford was just ranked one of the nation’s best communities in which to raise a family. So, we must protect this great town and that starts with schools and property taxes. Our schools are some of the best in Connecticut and that’s because we partner with teachers and parents to ensure students receive a top-notch education. I’m committed to fighting for our schools, which benefit all families, and serve as the bedrock of this community.

Second, we have to ensure families and seniors don’t get priced out of West Hartford. Adequate funding from the state for public education is essential. Eliminating the income tax on social security payments would also help. I will also advocate for smart and targeted investments such as helping to bring Jackson Labs here, which creates good jobs, adds to our tax base and leverages our competitive advantages – our highly skilled workforce.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position?

While I haven’t run for office before, I have been able to assemble a great team of families, business leaders, environmentalists, teachers, and public servants who are supporting my candidacy. For example, I’m pleased that the bipartisan League of Conservation Voters believes that I’m the best choice to protect our water and natural resources. Likewise, I’m gratified that the group representing more than 1,000 teachers and educators in West Hartford says I’m best positioned to protect our schools. I’m also grateful that former Mayor Scott Slifka and current Mayor Shari Cantor – both of whom are incredibly devoted to this town – have endorsed my candidacy and want to partner with me to help families in West Hartford. I understand change isn’t accomplished my one person- it’s a team effort.

(Optional) Anything else you would like to share?

My father was a minister and my mother is a nurse. I was raised to believe in hard work, honesty, and public service. Government, at its best, can help bring people together to solve problems, and if I’m fortunate enough to be elected I will work with folks from every party and every background to find solutions to our challenges. I believe in our goodness and potential – and reject the divisive politics we’ve seen too much of at the national level. I’m ready to get to work on your behalf.

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