Issues

Jobs & The Economy

Click here to learn more about Chris’ Jobs Tour

Chris believes in common-sense ways to grow businesses and get people back to work in Connecticut.  He developed his approach by listening to Connecticut’s employees and employers:

1. Simplify the tax code: We must reform the tax code for individuals and businesses to encourage growth and to get rid of loopholes that put small businesses at a disadvantage

2. Promote and strengthen American manufacturing: Our economy can’t survive unless we make things here - and our government should support this effort

3. Reinvest in our transportation infrastructure: We can rebuild our roads and rails while putting Americans back to work

4. Make education a priority: We won’t be the cheapest place to build things, so we must be the smartest

5. Lead the way in renewable energy: Renewable energy is the next big global industry, and we must work now to ensure those jobs stay in the U.S.

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Buy American Laws

Manufacturing has made the American economy the most vibrant and successful in the world.  American manufacturers are known throughout the world to have highest quality goods, made by the best workers.  These manufacturing jobs are the back bone of the American middle class, and have provided an economic ladder to millions of American families here in Connecticut.

Since World War II, manufacturing jobs have declined from 40% of domestic employment, to just 11% today.  One of the reasons for this decline is the continued reliance on foreign firms, who exploit their workers and destroy the environment in the name of cost-savings.  We can not allow the American worker to be caught in a “race-to-the-bottom” where we sacrifice our values and way of life.

(Video included when you click the link below)

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Health Care

I support health care reform because I believe that quality, affordable health care coverage should be a right, not a privilege available only to those who can afford it. I truly believe that a national system of health care can insure every American and cost us less than our current bloated and inefficient “sick care” system.

As the former Chairman of the Connecticut Public Health Committee, I have made the fight for increased access to health care for the people of Connecticut my defining mission as a public servant. In the State Senate, I wrote and passed legislation banning smoking from the workplace, ending overly aggressive bill collection practices by health care providers, and investing in low cost prescription drug programs. In 2005, I authored Connecticut’s landmark Stem Cell Investment Act - making Connecticut a leader in the push to find new cures for some of our most debilitating diseases.

(Video included when you click the link below)

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Education

I believe all children deserve an opportunity to attend quality public schools and to be taught by quality teachers. A sound system of public education is not only America’s promise to its citizens but the foundation of its economic prosperity.

We need to be able to compete in a global economy. In recent decades, we have been witness to the rise of the Asian economies, enormous global capital transfers, and the increasing internationalization of production. To create the highly skilled workforce required in this environment, our education house must be the very best in the world.

None of the things I’ve talked about will happen if Republican-led efforts to cut support for K-12 and higher education come to pass. At a time when the middle class is most vulnerable and education has never been more important, it’s critical to ensure that Connecticut elects a champion for public education.

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Women’s Health and Equality

Despite all the successes achieved by the fight for gender equality during the last 100 years, social conservatives have now renewed their fight to roll back gains made for women’s health and economic equality. The right to choose is under attack, access to affordable quality healthcare and reproductive services is out of reach for a growing number of American women, gender-based violence persists, and women are still paid less than their male counterparts. That is why I have stood up for women and fought to correct injustices that still exist in our society.

With the unwavering belief that our nation’s Constitution protects the right to privacy and a woman’s autonomy over her own body, I have a voting record and moral compass that is unequivocally pro-choice.

In addition to fighting against efforts that chip away at Roe v. Wade and deny access to a safe and legal medical procedure, I also am a firm supporter of comprehensive sex education and family planning services, including for low income women, to help prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place. In the face of the current egregious attacks and misinformation campaigns by the Republicans, my commitment to using my position to stand-up for choice and protect women’s health is as strong as ever.

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LGBT Rights

Let me be clear and simple: LGBT rights are human rights. Marriage equality and nondiscrimination in the military, workplace, classroom and healthcare system, based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, are civil rights that must be protected under law.

In fact, I wear as a kind of badge of honor my inclusion as a member of the so-called, “Terrible Ten” - the first ten Connecticut state legislators to sign on as co-sponsor of the civil union bill that passed through the General Assembly in 2005. I am thrilled that today in Connecticut same-sex couples can legally marry, as they also can in five other states and the District of Columbia.

I will continue to support efforts to make equality the law of the land, and stand up against Republican-led attacks to deny personal civil liberties to members of the LGBT or any other community. It is not the government’s place to tell Americans who they can and cannot love.

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Energy

It’s clear that our haphazard and conflicting federal energy policies have failed – whether it’s the see-sawing price of gas at the pump, electrical bills, or the cost of home heating oil, we’re surrounded by signals that America needs a new and bold energy strategy. That’s why we need to move beyond partisan talking points when it comes to energy solutions – there’s no one-stop, silver-bullet solution to this problem. It’s going to take a smart, diverse approach on several fronts – more investments in renewable and alternatives, responsible development of homegrown energy supplies, and commonsense policies that will help us use power smarter and more efficiently.

That’s why I support a national standard to drive development of renewable power technologies like wind, solar, fuel cells, and alternative fuels – a policy Connecticut and dozens of other states have already passed on their own. I’ve also fought hard for landmark climate change legislation that will drive private sector investment in the clean energy systems of the future.

(Video included when you click the link below)

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Environment

Decades from now, I know that our environment will be viewed as one of the defining questions of our time. At the moment of crisis, were we willing to confront the challenges facing our natural world? Were we willing to protect the lands that provide our drinking water and grow our food? Were we willing to keep the air we breathe healthy and clean? We were able to enact the policies necessary unshackle us from the yoke of polluting, dirty energy? Or did we yield to the skeptics and the naysayers when their voices grew loudest and shrillest? I believe that my record in office and the depth of my convictions speak to belief in those basic principles.

It was environmental advocacy that first got me interested me in politics. As a 24-year-old member of my local Planning and Zoning Commission, I got involved in a movement to oppose the placement of a new power plant on fragile community wetlands. My neighbors and I called on our State Representative to assist us in our fight, but he wouldn’t listen. So, I decided to run an uphill battle for the General Assembly myself. I challenged that State Representative, and when I won, the first bill I introduced was legislation empowering local governments to have a say when it comes to the development of wetlands. It’s that commitment that’s driven me throughout my time in public office.

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Government Accountability

Restoring the public’s trust in government was a principal reason I decided to run for Congress in 2006, and it continues to be my driving force as I serve the Fifth Congressional District.

I believe that government can have a positive influence on people’s lives. Unfortunately, the culture of cronyism that prevailed in Washington for much of the last decade alienated many and created a collective skepticism about government. I am committed to shaping a government that all of America’s middle class can believe in again—one that works for them.

That is why I have been a strong advocate for ethics reform in Congress. In 2007, I organized over 20 freshman members to voice support for an independent, citizens ethics panel to vet, initiate, and conduct investigations. Despite tremendous resistance from the powerful Washington status quo, a bill that I championed establishing an independent ethics panel passed the House - representing a major victory in the fight to cleanup Washington.

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Foreign Policy

The war in Afghanistan has taken a turn for the worse in recent years, largely because of a lack of attention by the previous administration which instead turned its attention to Iraq.  Insurgent activity has surged and suicide bombing - a tactic previous unheard of in Afghanistan - have taken its toll on the war effort and the hearts and minds of the Afghani people. Once thought vanquished in the wake of the coalition invasion, the Taliban has since regrouped into a powerful and canny insurgency, launching record numbers of attacks on foreign troops.

I believe we need to refocus our efforts in Afghanistan to stifle the drug trade, work with tribal leaders to suppress the insurgency and help bolster the country’s flagging economy.  On a recent trip to Afghanistan, I was told by an Afghani official that a truck transporting agricultural goods from northern Afghanistan to the border with Pakistan will be stopped, on average, 27 times by bandits and government officials seeking bribes. This is unacceptable, and has to change in order for Afghanistan to become stable.

(Video included when you click the link below)

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Veterans

We have made a promise to our veterans, and I will always uphold my part of fulfilling that promise. This nation has sworn, as Abraham Lincoln said: “to care for him who shall have borne the battle.” Therefore, no veteran should go a night without a bed or a day without the best medical care, and I have spent my time in Congress focusing on exactly that. My office has helped hundreds of Connecticut veterans get the benefits they earned by working diligently with the state and federal Departments of Veterans’ Affairs. Whether it is helping to navigate a disability claim or recover a lost or stolen medal, I am always ready to use my office as an advocate for Connecticut veterans.

One of my first actions in Congress was to reaffirm my commitment to adequate veterans funding. I immediately helped pass the largest funding increase in the 77 year history of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), reflecting our commitment to increasing access to healthcare, improving benefits and streamlining case management.

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