Elections Government Politics

Rep. Derek Slap Announces Re-election Bid for 19th District

Derek Slap. Submitted photo (we-ha.com file photo)

Rep. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford, Avon, and Farmington) will seek re-election in the 19th House district.

By Ronni Newton

State Rep. Derek Slap, a West Hartford resident whose 19th District also includes parts of Avon and Farmington, announced Thursday that he has filed his paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission and plans to seek re-election to the General Assembly.

Slap said that this is a critical time for Connecticut, and his top priorities for the upcoming session include strengthening the economy as well as protecting West Hartford’s education dollars.

“We have to balance the budget, create a sustainable budget,” Slap said in a phone interview Thursday. “And strengthening the economy plays a big role.”

There has recently been some positive news about the state’s economy, and some positive statistics including a recent report by the Brookings Institute listing Hartford as the no. 4 “higher-tech advanced industry center.” in the country.

“There’s some momentum, but we’re not where we need to be strengthening the economy in the region,” Slap said.

During the 2017 budget impasse, the legislature did not accept the governor’s proposals, which slashed education dollars – funding which Slap feels is critically important to protect.

“We found common ground with the Republicans. It’s great when you can get a bipartisan agreement,” he said. Although the budget took far to long to finalize, and is not perfect, he said it was great that the legislature could stand up to the governor. He said he hopes the process has led to a new paradigm.

It will be important to take action to have a balanced budget, Slap said, and actual revenues will determine the need to make further cuts or could possibly resulting in restoring some of the education dollars.

Decisions will also need to be made regarding the Medicare Spending Plan which had its funds restored but will create a more-than $50 million hole in the budget.

Transportation funding will also be an important priority for the legislature, Slap said. “I think we need to have an honest conversation about our needs for transportation infrastructure.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy this week outlined a proposal to stabilize transportation funding through several measures, including electronic tolling, an increase in the gas tax, and a $3 per tire fee on tire purchases.

“I have concerns about tolls without a guarantee that the revenue is safeguarded for transportation,” Slap said, but he and his colleagues also have concerns about the idea of borrowing billions of dollars to pay for transportation investment, something he said many Republican legislators support.

A referendum regarding a “lockbox” for transportation funds will be on the ballot this fall for voters to consider.

Slap noted that he is proud of what he has accomplished in the 13 months since he took office.

He introduced the first law passed during the 2017 legislation session, which established an independent consumer advocate for Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) consumers to provide oversight and ensure transparency. The legislation also prevents the MDC from requiring member towns to make reserve payments, action that saved West Hartford and its taxpayers from a potential $2 million obligation.

Slap has been named a legislative champion by the CT League of Conservation Voters for his work on water conservation, and an ARC Angel Award for his advocacy for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Slap has lobbied strongly for pay equity, and said he is excited and confident about the prospects of legislation ending gender wage discrimination passing the House, as well as the Senate where it is being supported by State Sen. Beth Bye of West Hartford.

The legislation aims to eliminate the pay history question from the job application process, something Slap said was recently done in Massachusetts with unanimous legislative approval and is important to ensure that Connecticut can compete for workers. “Price the position, not the person,” he said.

Slap is vice chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, and also advocating for legislation that would protect Connecticut consumers and small businesses from the Trump administration’s decision to roll back net neutrality rules.

In announcing his re-election, Slap said, “I believe lawmakers need to continue to work together to find common ground. We must strengthen our economy, protect our public schools, support our seniors, and safeguard our water. These are our values and priorities –  and together we can make great progress.”

He said has enjoyed walking every neighborhood in the 19th district, listening to concerns, and engaging in dialogue about strengthening the community.

In a statement, West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor lauded Slap’s work in the legislature. “With our current budget crisis threatening major cuts to our town’s state funding, we are fortunate to have such a strong and effective representative in Derek Slap. The budget proposed by the governor [in 2017] would have been extremely detrimental to our education and public services. Rep. Slap worked incredibly hard to find a bipartisan solution that restored much of our funding and protected the families in our town.”

Slap will hold a campaign kickoff and fundraiser at Mayor Cantor’s home at the end of February.

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