State Sen. Mae Flexer, D-29, and Rep. Greg Haddad, D-54, were re-elected to their respective offices in the Connecticut General Assembly on November 8.
Flexer and Haddad both attended “Rally for the People,” a UConn student-organized protest against Trump’s presidency Wednesday afternoon. Flexer said she is excited to continue advancing issues around higher education and to work with student organizations on campus to increase safety at the University of Connecticut.
Flexer also said that she wants students to know that, despite the outcome of the presidential election, their voices matter.
“It was amazing, the turnout at the rally today, and frankly it was therapeutic. I’m incredibly grateful to have won re-election and I’m deeply sadden by the results in many other aspects today, so to be there with UConn students and hear the fear that students have really affected me,” Flexer said. “I’m going to do everything I can to try to alleviate those fears, to make sure we’re putting in policies to make those students feel safer.”
Flexer said she looks forward to working with student organizations on campus to address issues surrounding undocumented students, LGBTQ+ rights and changing the culture around sexual assault. A shift in the Connecticut State Senate’s makeup from 21-15 in favor of the Democratic party to a possible 18-18 split, according to the Hartford Courant, could present new hurdles, however.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Flexer said. “We’ve made great progress on those issues over the past couple years and I don’t want to see any of that rolled back, and that’s what I view my role as.”
The election also shifted the balance of Connecticut’s House of Representatives from 86-64 to 79-72 in favor of the Democratic Party. Haddad, who said he received about 75 percent of the vote in his district, also said it doesn’t change his priorities in terms of what he’d like to accomplish.
“What good elected officials do is bring their ideas to the capital and we bring all of our ideas to the table,” Haddad said. “We’ll continue to do that no matter who is in the majority, whether people call themselves Democrats or Republicans.”
One idea with bipartisan appeal is the possibility of a tax deduction for interest paid on student loans, which has been discussed in the Higher Education Committee for several years, Haddad said.
Haddad said he would also like to build on Connecticut’s decision to extend in-state tuition to undocumented students in 2011 by allowing students to receive financial aid regardless of immigration status.
It remains to be seen, however, whether enough colleges can be convinced to support the idea, Haddad said.
Haddad said he expects to have a better idea of how President-Elect Donald Trump’s policies will impact Connecticut after his State of the Union address.
“I think the country elected somebody who is a real wild card last night and I don’t pretend to know what he intends to do as president of the United States. We will deal with whatever comes our way,” Haddad said.
Kimberly Armstrong is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.