Fairfield’s 132nd District
MEET BRIAN FARNEN
On January 22, 2020, Brian was sworn-in as the new State Representative filling the vacancy left by newly elected Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick.
When I was first elected as State Representative, I anticipated many long nights and forging new relationships in Hartford to put the interests of Connecticut first. As the State, country and world has changed so much this year, the needs of the residents of Fairfield have also changed. Instead of dealing with committee meetings and the back and forth of the legislative process, I have taken on a more meaningful role than I could ever imagined.
I am helping people with their unemployment claims with an antiquated state bureaucracy that has failed them, fielding questions regarding how a small business can get the much-needed assistance to stay afloat and keep their employees on the payroll or assisting an elderly couple get access to face masks. Instead of coaching baseball and soccer games on the weekends, I’ve spent weekends helping Operation Hope and the Bridgeport Rescue Mission collecting food for our most vulnerable citizens.
Working in the green energy sector, I work with people across the political spectrum every day to find common ground and compromise for the greater good. As a State Legislator, I will continue to work for bipartisan solutions to our budget crisis, police reform and the high cost of electricity. While serving in leadership on the Representative Town Meeting, I had the reputation of someone that has worked across the party aisle to cut spending while always protecting education funding for our Fairfield students.
I am proud to be endorse by BOTH the leading small business association and the leading environmentalist group in the country, the Sierra Club. I was also endorsed over my opponent by the Independent Party, the third largest political party in Connecticut that has a long record of nominating fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates from both the Republican and Democratic Party.
We need more elected officials that move us away from the political polarization in this country and what is needed now more than ever: compromise and bipartisanship. This is what I will continue to do and I hope to earn your vote for a second term.
Rebuild our state economy by helping our job-creators and small businesses to continue to flourish
Solve our multi-billion dollar state budget crisis by preserving our critical safety net without burdening working families with higher taxes
Work to create a long-term plan which prepares us for future public health emergencies
Protect local control of education and providing educators, students and parents with the tools and flexibility to transition back to school this fall
MEET JENNIFER LEEPER
Jennifer Leeper, is a Democratic representative on the Fairfield Public Schools Board of Education in Connecticut. Leeper will be the Democratic candidate for state representative in the 132nd District which includes RTM districts 3, 8, 9 and 10 in Southport and part of Fairfield in 2020.
We need Jenn in Hartford because she isn’t afraid to prioritize good policies over partisan politics. She has spent her career focused on data-driven solutions to the problems we face, and will work tirelessly to rebuild our economy, strengthen education in CT, protect our environment, and invest in desperately-needed mental health services. Jenn will head to Hartford prepared to stand up for our seniors, fight for gun violence prevention, and invest in transportation infrastructure.
Jenn is an independent thinker who believes that we deserve better at this critical moment in time. She embodies strength in character and morals, and is committed to bringing civility and unity back into governance.
➢ STRENGTHEN EDUCATION
Fight for our children and schools, address systemic issues, tackle COVID-related challenges, and build up our most valuable resources.
➢ REBUILD THE ECONOMY
Take decisive action to restore our economy, prioritize small businesses, incentivize companies looking to relocate to CT, and invest in our transportation infrastructure.
➢ STAND UP FOR SENIORS
Champion issues that are critical to the independence and resiliency of our seniors such as: affordable housing, prescription drug costs, property tax relief, and the tax exemption of social security and pension income.
➢ SUPPORT GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Lockdown drills are providing unnecessary anxiety to our children’s lives, anxiety that they don’t even fully understand. The failure of leadership that allowed the gun lobby to put the profits of gun manufacturers above the safety and well-being of our residents is a disgrace. I support common-sense gun reform so that our kids can feel safe at school, and we can all feel safe in our communities.
➢ LEAD WITH DATA AND FACTS
Rely on evidence and science to inform legislation that will support CT’s residents and bring honesty and accountability back into governance.
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – Martin Luther King Jr, 1962
We need leaders to recommit to listening, engaging in difficult conversations, and who will disagree without vilifying one another. This practice is the only way to build understanding and replace fear with compassion. We have become too isolated from one another and it is not serving us.
I believe in data-backed policy over posturing to score political points and grandstanding. Most people I’ve met don’t fully identify with anyone’s agenda and they find all the politicking exhausting. They want someone working on their behalf who listens to them and proposes solutions. It’s not easy or quick work but the objective is simple– leverage our government to improve people’s lives. I promise you that I will never lose sight of this objective. This is the role our elected officials have a duty to fulfill and my commitment to it will not waiver.
Fairfield’s 133rd District
MEET CRISTIN MCCARTHY VAHEY
State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey has represented Fairfield’s 133rd Assembly District since 2014. She is House Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, Coastal Caucus Co-Chair, and has served as the Majority Caucus Chair.
Cristin is a social worker and community advocate. She is the daughter and granddaughter of military veterans and public servants who instilled deep patriotism and a passion for public service and bringing people together. Cristin’s experience includes intensive family preservation in the foster care system, serving as youth minister, and working with kids in juvenile detention. She has held leadership roles in the League of Women Voters, Scouts, and the PTA, and she is co-founder and co-chair of the Fairfield Cares Community Coalition, which works to prevent teen suicide and substance misuse.
In 2005 Cristin was elected to the first of three terms on Fairfield’s Representative Town Meeting, where she served as Minority Leader, and in 2011 was elected to the Board of Selectmen, where she served until she became State Representative in 2014. Cristin received her BA in Economics and Government at the University of Notre Dame and her Master of Social Work at the University of Washington. She and her husband Brian, a U.S. Navy Veteran, have three children, one a 2016 graduate of Fairfield Warde High School and two in Fairfield Public Schools.
Campaign Information / Issues
As the parent of two children in the Fairfield Public Schools, I understand the confusion and uncertainty families are facing about the future of their children’s education. Safety at school, assuring that our students are learning what they need to learn, working in concert with teachers and parents – all of these are necessary for successfully navigating the pandemic as parents. COVID-19 has also brought into relief the impact of social and economic disparities on how children learn. Distance learning is widening the education gap, leaving behind children for whom English is a second language, disabled and special education students, and students who lack access to needed technology. These disparities disproportionately affect students of color. As we continue to live through and later emerge from this pandemic, I will work alongside, community members and colleagues for:
- Accessible and timely COVID testing, contact tracing and public health information
- Economic relief for individuals, families and businesses hurt by the pandemic
- An education system that is safe for children, teachers and staff; supports parents; and offers all children equal access to the quality instruction and technology they deserve
- A robust economic recovery with a responsive and responsible state budget
- Protections for the safety and well-being of seniors, caregivers and other vulnerable populations at home and in group care settings
- Access to affordable healthcare that includes prevention and addresses health inequities in our communities.
MEET JOANNE ROMANO-CSONKA
Joanne Romano-Csonka is the Republican candidate for the 133rd District state representative seat and has been endorsed by Connecticut’s Independent Party.
Growing up and living in Connecticut for a youthful 67 years, I truly understand the real issues facing the average citizens of our state and what can be done to make life more livable for all. I was born and raised in Westport, Connecticut by my late parents Mary E. Hewitt Romano and Joseph A. Romano, who served as a Westport Police Officer. After living in Norwalk for 39 years my husband, Lance M. Csonka, who is a life long Fairfield Resident (Mike & Dot Csonka), and I moved to Fairfield. I have a daughter and son in-law, and two fantastic grandsons, C.J. and Paul!
As a former local elected official I understand what excessive spending has done to cripple municipalities and Connecticut as a whole. I also understand how following party politics and supporting failed policies is not the answer. We need to work together to reduce taxes, support our schools equally across the state, assure our seniors are able to survive in their hometowns, reduce traffic congestion, realistically build affordable and low income housing so it does not impact homeowners and single home neighborhoods and over crowd any one school district we need to make our state business friendly and cut waste.”
Fairfield’s 134th District
MEET LAURA DEVLIN
Laura Devlin currently represents the 134th district as State Representative. As a state representative, wife, mom, former Metro-North commuter, and a small business owner, I am a strong advocate for my constituents and businesses. I don’t shy away from taking on difficult issues important to those I represent, and I know how important it is to consider not just the loudest voices, but all of the voices in making important policy decisions.
I’ve worked hard to pass legislation with bipartisan support that my district backs while fighting against legislation that they oppose – this includes securing our municipal and education funding, stopping tax increases, promoting job opportunity, preserving the environment, helping craft and pass legislation to combat opioid abuse, championing education initiatives, and supporting the health of firefighters, women, seniors, and families.
Most recently, I helped lead the fight against tolls in Connecticut by taking an important policy discussion out of Hartford and bringing it to the people across our state through over 20 forums where residents could get the facts and make their own decisions. This allowed our constituents to weigh in with their legislators about what they felt was right for the state of Connecticut.
I am proud of my record that has earned me endorsements from the CT Realtors, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the CT League of Conservation Voters, the CT Association of Retired Teachers the Trumbull Police Union, the Connecticut State Fraternal Order of Police, and the Police Officers Association of Connecticut. These are groups that recognize what I have accomplished and that is evidenced in their support of my re-election. In addition, I’ve earned an A rating from CT Against Gun Violence.
I care deeply about representing Fairfield and Trumbull, and I’m proud to have earned a 100 percent voting attendance score every year since elected in 2014, and I pledge to continue to fight for the people I’m honored to represent.
Working in NYC, I first moved to Fairfield in 1987 because it was the most attractive and affordable community on the Metro-North line with a tolerable commute. My husband and I were married here, and Fairfield is our children’s hometown. Fairfield is where they were raised, educated, and where they would like to earn a living and raise a family. Our community is special, and I have a proud record of giving back, whether as a volunteer in our local schools and nonprofits or as a member of community organizations.
In 2007, after a successful corporate career, I started my own business and began getting involved in our local government. My property taxes were skyrocketing, and I decided it was time to get off the sidelines. I was elected to Fairfield’s Board of Assessment Appeals and subsequently, the RTM representing what is now District 1 and served as a member of the Finance Committee. In 2014, encouraged by many and concerned about the future of our state, I ran for and was elected to the state legislature, where today I continue to represent the 134th District covering parts of Fairfield and Trumbull.
I was raised in the south suburbs of Chicago and largely put myself through college, earning a B.S. from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana and later, an Executive Master in HR Leadership from Rutgers University.
Priorities and Promise:
The issues that define my campaign are those that are most important to my constituents. In addition to COVID-related health and safety and economic recovery, as I talk to voters the biggest issue I hear is concern about taxes and affordability — whether for young adults beginning life on their own and trying to manage student loan debt, or families trying to balance a “new normal” of working from home and helping educate their kids or seniors who find it increasingly difficult to afford to stay in the state they helped build.
Education is another top priority as our students, educators, and staff have been working to find methods of teaching and learning between distance and in-school and look to the state for resources and guidance. Just as important is ensuring the proper funding for our schools, in addition to the COVID-related costs incurred.
There are several pieces of important environmental legislation that were stalled when the 2020 legislative session was cut short. I am committed to continuing to advocate for our environment and use my leadership position and relationships on both sides of the aisle to see this legislation pass.
Transportation and ensuring appropriate investments have always been a priority. Given the change in commuting patterns from COVID, we need to revisit the state’s transportation priorities and ensure they align with the needs of our residents and that projects are prioritized and funded.
MEET CARLA VOLPE
Carla Volpe is a teacher currently living in Trumbull with her husband Mathias, an Army combat veteran, their two-year-old daughter, Hunter, and their rescue dog, Barry. Carla Volpe is running for State Rep. in the 134th District of Fairfield and Trumbull, CT in 2020.
She grew up in Fairfield with her mother, sister, and Italian immigrant grandparents. They were an unconventional household, but the lessons she learned living with her family were invaluable. After obtaining a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree Carla started her career as an art teacher in Connecticut public schools.
Carla has been deeply involved in every community she joins, from teaching her fellow high school students about AIDS prevention, to raising funds for a non-profit geared to literacy, and volunteering with Autism support programs and Trumbull’s Arts Commission.
Running for state representative is a natural extension for Carla. She will take her volunteerism, experience in Trumbull’s government, and love of helping her neighbors to Hartford.
“My husband, Mathias and I have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter, Hunter. If there is one thing that defines my decision to run for state representative, it is my desire to ensure that Connecticut is the kind of state where Hunter can continue to grow, live, and thrive. My campaign platform in a nutshell is that I want to make sure that Hunter and all the other 3-year-olds living in Connecticut have the resources and the incentives that they need today to ensure them the best life possible for today and in the future. Our children are the future of our country. They need to be supported now to succeed well into the future. Professionally, I have been a public-school teacher for the past 15 years and I find it incomprehensible that just 7 of the current 151 members in the State House are public school teachers. Only 2 of those 7 are currently active in teaching. Education is the single largest expense taxpayers face during these turbulent times and many of the critical decisions being made about this all-important issue (what could be more important than the proper education of our children!) are being made in Hartford. While I will certainly be a freshman legislator if elected, I can assure you that I am not a freshman when it comes to any and all issues surrounding education – locally and statewide. Education touches almost every part of our lives. Those making decisions on policy issues need to have a holistic view of our education system. I have hardcore, substantive “boots on the ground” experience in relation to education and I think that the perspective and passion I will bring to Hartford on all things related to education would help improve the State’s response to the challenges we will face in the next two years – including but not limited to COVID. Finally, besides my educational experiences, I will also bring to my job in the legislature a solid ethic of hard work, a proven skillset for collaboration and my sincere belief in the possibility of formulating creative solutions for some of our state’s most intractable problems.”