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State Rep. Pam Staneski Op-ed: Benefits of the Electoral College

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This year the CT House of Representatives narrowly passed a resolution to join an interstate compact calling for the state’s electoral votes to go the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. This is terribly misguided.

The Electoral College (EC) is an elegant institution, chosen by the Founders for a number of important reasons. First, it places a layer of protection between an election and the installation of the president, preventing a truly unfit person from serving. Second, it recognizes the sovereignty of the states (we are The United States of America, not The United People of America!) and prevents small states from becoming insignificant in the electoral process. Without the EC, candidates would entirely abandon small states. California, Texas, and Florida have over 30% of the voting population but only 23% of the Electoral College.

Third, the Electoral College is what primarily preserves our strong two-party tradition, forcing national candidates to the center and requiring broad support to govern. Without the Electoral College we would have dozens of factious parties, leading to presidents without the consensus to lead, and unstable, revolving-door coalition governments. In a large and diverse nation such as ours, the EC prevents single-issue and geographical fragmentation, leading to more truly egalitarian election results, not less. Imagine if the “winner” of the election got 8% of the vote! In last year’s Dutch elections, 28 parties fielded candidates and this in a country of 17 million people!

Fourth, the Electoral College quarantines voting disputes. In 1960, Kennedy beat Nixon by less than one vote per precinct nationally, but the recount was confined to Illinois because of the Electoral College. Similarly, in 2000, the popular votes for Gore and Bush were very close, but the recount was confined to Florida. Without the Electoral College, such close elections could paralyze the government as lawsuits, challenges, and recounts in possibly thousands of jurisdictions turned the election into a nightmare, leaving us without a clear winner long afterwards.

The Electoral College has served us very well, with the overall popular vote winner differing from the Electoral College vote winner only 5 times in 57 elections, and each of those elections was essentially a toss-up. We should be leery of tinkering with the Electoral College.

As always, if you have any thoughts or concerns you’d like me to be aware of, please contact my office direct at 800-842-1423 or email Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov.

Rep. Pam Staneski: New DMV Express Opening in Milford

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I have some good news for Milford residents and other area residents to share. 

In June, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union and the CT DMV will be opening a DMV Express location at 977 Boston Post Road, which will be open six days a week, Monday through Saturday. 

From Monday through Friday, hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Saturdays 9 a.m. until noon. Nutmeg and the DMV Express will be sharing the space. 

This service is available to all CT drivers. License renewals will be able to be completed at the Nutmeg location. 

 This past session I proposed a bill to privatize the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) because as a state agency it was not meeting the needs of Connecticut residents. We can no longer tolerant a shortage of renewal locations, or long wait times for license renewal. 

Although my DMV privatize bill did not get a vote during the short legislative session, I am encouraged the DMV is looking for ways it can streamline services and moving to public -private partnerships because ultimately we need a system that works for the residents of Connecticut. 

As always, if you have any thoughts or concerns you’d like me to be aware of, please contact my office direct at 800-842-1423 or email Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov. I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter so you can get updates and alerts emailed directly to your inbox, just go to my website www.repstaneski.com for news and commentary on the latest happenings in Orange and at the State Capitol.

Reps. Klarides, Staneski & Ferraro Support Compromise State Budget

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Restores Medicare Savings, No Taxes, No Tolls

HARTFORD- House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, State Reps. Pam Staneski (R-119) and Charles Ferraro (R-117) voted to support the negotiated bipartisan state budget plan on the final day of the 2018 regular session.

 

This budget plan does not include any new tax increases and does not bring tolls back to Connecticut roads. And, this legislative body blocked the Governor from using his ‘hold-back’ authority to reduce municipal aid funding at will.

While it did not include some important pieces that were in our proposal, such as a plan to pay down unfunded pension liability, we were able to negotiate numerous provisions from our budget plan into the final legislation, including a hard hiring freeze on new state employees that will save $7 million.

“Republicans made restoring Medicare cuts a top priority so that more than 100,000 seniors will not lose their benefits beginning July 1. We also added money back to support veteran’s health programs and community colleges, all without raising taxes,’’ Klarides said.

“We still believe that our Republican budget plan was the best for Connecticut because it was a broad approach that included paying down the state’s debt and preserving the Rainy Day Fund. But those provision were not acceptable to Democrats and Connecticut needed to have a balanced budget in place,’’ she said.

The plan also includes:

  • Restores $130 million in funding to the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) for senior citizens and the disabled
  • Funds the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund
  • Restores funding for the HUSKY ‘A’ Medicaid program for about 13,500 low-income parents who are “working poor”
  • Contains a hard hiring freeze on new state employees to save $7 million.

Additionally the budget document:

  • Blocks the planned fare increases on buses and trains that are scheduled for July 1
  • All municipal aid, education cost sharing, town aid road, Regional Fire Training Schools, the CT Firefighters Cancer Fund will all remain whole and untouched for 2019

“This budget plan is a product of a lot of hard work and many hours of conversation,” said Rep. Staneski, who is a member of the budget-writing Appropriations committee.

“This budget compromise brings Republicans and Democrats together to save critical funding for our seniors, veterans and to our local communities, “explained Rep Ferraro.  This budget compromise does not do everything we had hoped, however, it does not raise taxes, implement tolls or employ other revenue gimmicks.  Republican proposals that were adopted in our 2017-2018 biennial budget have been carried over and preserved in this budget compromise and are beginning to stabilize our state’s economy.  I hope we can continue to gain support on our vision for Connecticut.”

“Throughout the budget process, I heard from many from Milford and Orange who said they did not want to pay higher state taxes or lose critical education funding, I am happy to report this compromised budget does not punish our towns. The main goal was to preserve the fiscal reforms going forward—a state spending cap, a cap on borrowing, and a volatility cap. We accomplished that without hurting our most vulnerable residents,” said Rep. Staneski.

The budget passed the House of Representatives 142-8 and the State Senate 36-0.

 

The budget now heads to Governor Malloy for his signature.