March 6, 2014

Martin declares intention for state Senate run

Republican city Councilor Henri Martin declared his intent this week to run for state Senate. Here's the story.
Here is a copy of his prepared remarks for the Tuesday evening event:
Why did I decide to run for State Senate?
I’m running because I want to help put the state back on a path of prosperity.  As we all know, the state is still struggling to recover from an economic downturn that began over six years ago and is still affecting our economy. 

As a real estate broker I come across individuals and couples regularly who are under a considerable amount of stress from this downturn. You probably know friends and family members and business owners who are having a hard time too.

I wish the state did more to help stimulate our economy. But they don’t.  Despite the spin we hear from the Governor’s office about a surplus, the facts show we have one of the weakest economies in the country, our job growth is well below the national average, and our financial outlook is so fragile that businesses and people are moving out faster than any other state in the country.  According to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Connecticut Department of Labor, Connecticut was the ONLY state in the country that saw a decline in its Gross Domestic Product in 2012.  And this was the second year of decline in a row, again the only state in the country with that record. 

Many people are still looking for work.  And many have to leave the state to find work. In 2008, the state lost 121,000 jobs. In the past six years we have recovered only 52% of those jobs, while the rest of the country has recovered nearly 80% of its lost jobs. 

Job growth in Connecticut has been stagnant since 1990. That’s over 2 decades. During the same period, the number of jobs in the U.S. grew by over 20%. Put another way, if Connecticut had kept pace with the rest of the country the state would now have 350,000 additional jobs.

Another contributing factor of these challenging economic times is the reality our state has a $66 billion deficit made up of debt service and unfunded pension and health care obligations.  With a state population of 3.6 million, the per capita dollar value of $66 billion in unfunded obligations is $19,000 for every man, woman and child living in the state.  If you compare this to the bankrupt city of Detroit, their per capita obligation is $25,000.  Lurking ahead, Connecticut also faces a $2 billion deficit in the next two fiscal years.

One has to ask: how did this happen?  We have the best and most productive workers in the country, we are well educated, our location is exceptional and our quality of life is second to none.  But all these advantages are being drowned out by government overspending, massive debt and policies that reduce our business competiveness in the national and global market.  Simply, we need to go in a different direction – and fast – and that is why I’m running for State Senate in the 31st District.

We must do better and the people of Connecticut deserve better from their elected leaders in Hartford.  This problem didn’t happen overnight and will take a while to fix.  It’s been growing for years and the responsibility belongs with the past and present Executive and Legislative branches of the state government, us who elect them and special interest groups who support the elected officials for their own gain at the expense of our future. 

The current leadership in Hartford has had free rein over state policy and spending for several years.  They have abused their majority position and have put our future at risk and damaged our state’s reputation badly.  I am fed up with bad decisions and bad policies being rammed down our throats like the outrageously expensive bus way between Hartford and New Britain.  Nobody needs a $600 million dollar bus way, and nobody wants it.  Yet it was forced on us and they spent a lot of money we need to improve roads, bridges and rail lines.  This is unacceptable to me, and the fiscal irresponsibility, raising taxes and unsustainable spending has got to stop if we want our state economy to improve.

Further, I don’t believe the solution to Connecticut’s lackluster economy, being proposed by our Governor in an election year, is to raise the minimum wage and give everyone $55, while claiming we have a budget surplus that everyone knows is just an accounting shell game.

The facts are clear, communities and states with higher economic growth are the ones with less government spending and lower taxes that attract people, businesses and jobs.  We have already lost one seat in Congress because of our shrinking population and we are well on our way to losing another if the flow of people leaving the state doesn’t stop.   We need to offer our children opportunities to stay here in Connecticut and raise their families as we had when we were starting out. 

There is no easy solution to turning these problems around.  But it is obvious the direction the Governor and the Democratic majority in Hartford is taking us is not working.  The numbers speak for themselves, and have for several years now.  Albert Einstein said it best, “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.”  But that’s exactly what we will be doing if we re-elect Governor Malloy and another Democratic majority in Hartford.  If we want to avoid what happened to Detroit and put Connecticut on the right path to economic growth we’ll need to face the situation with eyes wide open and make some hard decisions.   We cannot keep doing what we are doing; passing bad financial decisions and wasteful spending on to future generations. 

For Connecticut to find its path to economic growth and prosperity, and retain its jobs and skilled people it is going to require hard working and concerned citizens to elect leaders who will advance policies that will reduce taxes, minimize government spending and take the initiative to address our looming debt obligations.

With your help in electing me, I’ll work to help refocus our state government on things that matter most:  economic growth, long term job creation and fiscal responsibility.  And that is why I’m running for State Senate and why I’m asking for your support and your vote. 

If elected I’ll take to heart the words of Rudy Giuliani – “It would be an obligation, on my part, to perform honestly and effectively.”

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