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Op-Ed: New Year, New Resolutions for Connecticut

Kate Farrar. Photo credit: Cara Pauik (we-ha.com file photo)

On the eve of her swearing-in as the representative for Connecticut’s 20th District, West Hartford’s Kate Farrar offers some thoughts.

By Kate Farrar

It is a new year and we can make new resolutions to chart Connecticut’s future out of this crisis. Through the months of this pandemic, every day can seem like the same. But our lives have changed tremendously through immense uncertainty and loss.

Our state has lost over 6,000 of our own, our seniors, families and businesses are in economic crisis, and essential workers risk their lives every day to keep us safe.

Although the legislative session will look different, as elected officials, we could not be serving our community at a more critical time. The cost of maintaining the status quo is too great. Our shared future prosperity depends on a recovery that addresses inequality through fair taxation, supports essential workers, and invests in the education and job training, healthcare, and housing necessary for a strong economy in Connecticut.

A couple months ago, I spoke with a mother unable to afford health insurance for herself and her daughter. Unfortunately, she is not alone. Like many other women facing high unemployment and loss of income, more and more families cannot afford insurance and are going without it – which is especially alarming during a pandemic. We can meet the needs of her, her daughter and many other families that live in fear of unforeseen illness and crippling medical bills by expanding Medicaid and creating a public option that opens up more affordable healthcare for workers.

To rebuild a fair economy, we can’t continue to ignore our regressive tax system. Working- and middle-class families pay a larger percentage of their incomes in taxes than the wealthiest in our state. If you make less than $53,000 a year, you pay an effective tax rate that is more than triple that of the wealthiest who make over $680,000 a year. To do right by middle- and lower-income families, we can expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and diversify our state revenues where the wealthy pay their fair share.

The unsettling reality of our dual pandemics – of COVID-19 and racial injustice – did not disappear as we turned our calendars to 2021. The negative health and economic effects of COVID-19 disproportionately affect our Black and brown neighbors, friends and family. Beyond immediate federal aid and unemployment, a more equitable future depends on a comprehensive approach for access to education and job training opportunities to enter Connecticut’s high-wage and high-growth industries – including manufacturing companies in our own community.

As I get sworn in as the new State Representative of the 20th District, you might see me virtually or wearing a mask, but my role remains the same – to get to work for you and follow through on our collective resolution to create a better and more fair future.

Kate Farrar is State Representative-Elect for the 20th District. Rep. Farrar has been appointed to the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, and Insurance and Real Estate Committee. She has over 20 years experience as a nonprofit advocate and active community volunteer championing working families, women and girls. Rep. Farrar serves as a board member of the Betty Knox Foundation and volunteers for the Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls and Foodshare. Kate can be reached at [email protected] or on Facebook and Instagram at @KateforCT

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