Gaudiano: No cards left on the table
For the past year, Ashley Gaudiano’s life has resembled a Robert Frost poem. She’s had many promises to keep and, in a few more days, will finally get some sleep.
“I’m excited to be in the final few days,” said the Trumbull Democrat, who began her campaign for the 134th District seat in the state House of Representatives just weeks after successfully winning a seat on the Town Council. “No matter the outcome, on November 7, I’ll sleep in, then hang out with my husband and children.”
Gaudiano and her supporters have knocked on more than 7,000 doors since May, and spoken with thousands of potential voters.
“There’s nothing we didn’t do, no cards left on the table,” she said.
In her campaigning, Gaudiano said she was struck by the sense of frustration voters have felt with national politics.
“They’re upset and they have no issue sharing that with you,” she said. “But people are also willing to talk about the issues facing our state.”
The underlying theme of most concerns about the state centers on affordability, Gaudiano said. Whether it is college students wondering if they can afford to live in the state, seniors worried about retiring on a fixed income, or families worried about school budgets, money is at the root of their concerns, she said.
Growing the economy is the key to answering those concerns, Gaudiano said.
“When you can’t grow your tax base, you have to start talking about raising taxes, which is just not something I’m willing to do,” she said.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont has proposed instituting property tax credits, but it remains unclear how they would be paid for, Gaudiano said.
“It’s an interesting proposal, and I would love to see it, but we haven’t seen where the money would come from,” she said. “
On the other hand, eliminating the income tax, as proposed by GOP candidate Bob Stefanowski, is unrealistic, she said.
Getting anything done, though, requires a majority vote in the General Assembly and the signature of whichever candidate wins the governor’s race, Gaudiano said. Given the close split between the political parties, there is going to have to be some cooperation, she said.
“Regardless of who wins, it’s going to be close,” she said. “We’re going to need to be able to work across the aisle.”
Should she win her race against incumbent Republican Laura Devlin, Gaudiano said she hoped to work on protecting family medical leave legislation and improving access to affordable health care.
Protecting education funding also would be high on her agenda, she said.
“That’s what draws people to our state, even though we have higher taxes,” she said.
Implementing early voting is also important as a way to increase voter participation, she said.
“Across the board, data shows that early voting increases turnout versus having to go vote on a specific day in a specific place,” she said. “We should be doing whatever we can to get voter participation as close to 100% as we can.”