FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield Daily Voice sent five questions to each of the candidates running for statewide office this fall. The following responses are from Brenda Kupchick, a Republican running for re-election as state representative from Fairfield’s 132nd District.
Kupchick is serving her first term as state representative. Before being elected in 2010, she served on Fairfield’s legislature, the Representative Town Meeting, from 1999 to 2003, and on the Board of Education from 2003 to 2009. She was also the school board’s representative on the Parks and Recreation Commission from 2004 to 2009. She also worked on the staffs of U.S. Rep. Chris Shays and state Sen. John McKinney.
Professionally, she has co-run Peter Kupchick Heating and Cooling, Inc. for 20 years. She and her husband, Peter, have one adult son.
Kupchick is running against Democratic challenger and Board of Education member Sue Brand. The district covers Fairfield’s southern portions. It stretches along the shoreline from the Westport border to Ash Crek, and extends as far north as Mill Hill Road and Samp Mortar Reservoir in some areas. (To see a complete map of Fairfield’s districts, click here.)
1) What are the biggest issues facing your district?
Fairfielders have the same concerns as most people in Connecticut. They want to decrease spending, fight high taxes, improve our schools and make our government more honest and transparent. During my first term, I’ve advocated for and offered proposals to get our state back on track and reduce out of control spending, including straightening out the state’s unemployment compensation fund, hiring more investigators to reduce social services fraud and privatizing some state services.
2) What were your biggest achievements?
Proposed a balanced budget to support our social safety net and education reform without raising taxes. Supported bipartisan jobs bill. Supported bipartisan legislation to empower small business growth. Worked with teachers and parents on education reform. Introduced legislation to require money used from rail and bus fare hikes only be used for mass transit improvements. Supported shoreline preservation and a study of innovative coastal land management techniques. Co-authored stronger penalties for those convicted of repeated animal abuse. Passed stronger anti-bullying legislation for our students.
3) Is Connecticut going in the right or wrong direction?
Simply put, our state can’t continue to spend more money than it takes in and can’t borrow more than we can afford to pay back.
It’s time to get serious about making the decisions that will help get Connecticut residents out of the hole one party government has dug us into to. A balanced legislature that works together benefits all residents who are desperate for a break from the crushing tax burden and red tape that’s a barrier to entrepreneurship, job growth and prosperity.
4) What would you do to involve your constituents in your decision-making process?
I entered public service as a local RTM member because my neighbors and I felt ignored by elected officials. I firmly believe my job is to listen, learn then lead on issues that are important to my district. I’ve held town hall meetings and legislator on your corner forums to provide extra ways for constituents to share their concerns with me. I send out weekly newsletters, always respond to email from constituents, attend all the public hearings for my legislative committees and regularly meet with constituents who seek change. I established a small business council made up of a cross section of Fairfield business owners and together we are identifying harmful mandates and government practices so I can develop legislation that helps small business owners.
My most important job is to work together with my constituents to find and work to implement common sense solutions to our state’s challenges.
5) Why should people vote for you?
I have a track record of bipartisanship, straight talk and giving voice to people who feel their government doesn’t listen. I’ve worked hard on the issues Fairfield cares about, from shoreline preservation, school bullying, teen suicide prevention, education reform that’s inclusive of all stakeholders including teachers, food labeling, animal welfare, reducing Connecticut’s high taxes, ensuring transit fare hikes are used for mass transit improvement, reducing unnecessary mandates, honest budgeting and reducing wasteful spending.
Though small businesses are the engine of our state economy, there are very few small business owners serving in our state legislature, and I believe our voice is important in the process. I am honored to represent the people of Fairfield and Southport and hope I’ve earned your trust for a second term.