May 30, 2012

Wright: Many issues worth fighting for

This is the acceptance speech that 77th District state Rep. Chris Wright of Bristol delivered to the city's Democratic Town Committee on Tuesday night:

Friends, fellow Democrats and fellow citizens of Bristol, it is with great honor that I accept your nomination to be the Representative from the 77th district.  Over the past four years I have worked hard to represent the people of Bristol and can count many successes during this time.  Working with Frank Nicastro, we were successful in stopping Governor Rell’s attempt to close Bristol Tech and in restoring over $2 million in state funding for Bristol to cover the cost of property tax breaks given to the manufacturing companies here in Bristol.  Among other issues, I have supported increases in Connecticut’s minimum wage, a Silver Alert system to locate missing seniors, the Learn Here, Live Here program which helps students of Connecticut colleges and universities save for down payments of homes here in Connecticut and low interest loans to developers who agree to clean up and build on brownfields instead of developing on greenfields.

I have done this with consideration to state spending and taxes.  I have been a strong voice in Hartford for balancing the need for programs which improve the quality of life in our state with the ability of our residents to pay for those programs.  This is why I have supported making our income tax more progressive and will continue my call for reducing the state sales tax, which is a burden on the middle income residents who are the backbone of our economy.
In this election, the people of Bristol have a clear choice.  The Republicans continue to argue for policies that provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% while denying help to working Americans.  The distinction between Democrats and Republicans can be seen in our approaches to the auto industry.  While Democrats fought for modest tax breaks for the purchase of new cars, Republicans still criticize this program, which has been credited by economists with saving upwards of one million jobs in the American auto industry.  I don’t know about you, but if the government is going to do $100,000 in tax breaks, I would rather see five people buy a $20, 000 Chevy than one person buy a $100,000 Mercedes. 
Another choice before the people this year is between a philosophy that is continually looking to the past and one that is looking to the future.  Throughout this campaign, we have heard Republican candidates arguing about which one of them is the most conservative.  Mitt Romney at one point even called himself severely conservative, whatever that means.  When I hear this, I am reminded of Franklin Roosevelt who said that a conservative is a man who is born with two good legs but who never learned to walk forward.  We are constantly urged by Republican candidate to return to the past: to support the Bush tax cuts which are bankrupting our country, to return to the policies of the Reagan 80’s, to bring back the society of the 1950’s.  In that last call, the republicans should be careful what they ask for.  After all, the 1950’s was the period in American history with the smallest income gap between corporate CEOs and workers, and also with the highest percentage of union membership.
Let me mention one more difference in the approach to taxes between Democrats and Republicans.  When President Obama proposed a temporary 2% reduction in the payroll tax paid by working Americans, the Republicans fought tooth and nail to prevent it from happening.  Instead, they are insisting on making permanent the massive tax cut given to 1% ten years ago.  Their argument is that the 1% are the job creators, but after ten years they still haven’t used this money to create any jobs.  Instead, they, like Mitt Romney, simply deposited this money into their Cayman Island and Swiss bank accounts.  In addition, the Citizens United ruling has given the mega rich another place to put their money, Super PACs.  It is estimated that these super PACs will raise and spend literally billions of dollars during this campaign to entrench the status quo and ensure that political influence will remain with the 1% and is kept from the 99%.  The Bush tax breaks were perhaps the largest government enacted re-distribution of wealth in the nation’s history.  The problem is that the wealth was taken out of your pockets and placed into the bank accounts of the 1%, and our economy has been paying the price ever since.
Bristol is wonderful city with a strong history both of blue collar manufacturing and white collar professionals.  We need legislators who believe that the actions we take should not be meant simply to get us through the next election cycle but will have consequences for decades to come.  In order to be competitive, we need to ensure that our children receive the education necessary for the world that they will live in, so I will advocate for a strong education system.  In order grow our manufacturing sector; we need a transportation infrastructure capable of moving goods in and out of our state.  In order to attract employers to Connecticut we need a stable economic footing and a competitive tax structure.  In order to have a healthy population that requires less medical care, we need a clean environment.  These are the things that I believe in and if re-elected these are the things that I will continue to fight for.

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at

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