Summer break will start soon, which means that those of you who read the Daily Campus opinion section regularly will have to go without our razor sharp political insight for the next several months (barring one or two articles we might put up online). So I thought it best to end this year with a quick column talking about the elections coming up in Connecticut because 90% of UConn is from CT (didn’t check that statistic but I think I’m in the ballpark).
To start with the basics 2018 is a midterm election. This means we don’t get to elect a new president of the United States, although we do get to elect a new “president” of Connecticut. Dannel Malloy is retiring, and everyone is happy about that even though a lot of you are unsure why you hate him so much except that it has something vaguely to do with taxes. He wasn’t a spectacular governor, sure, but he got dealt a pretty bad hand in terms of the economy and actually made some good progress on issues like criminal justice reform and gun control. We’re not one of those states that can’t keep their schools open 5 days a week or pay their teachers adequately because Republicans lowered taxes too much and killed revenue.
So that’s some stuff you should keep in the back of your mind when looking at the gubernatorial races. Because you can bet Republicans will attack Malloy for his handling of our state’s economy and talk about how they will be fiscally responsible despite the fact that their national party is driving the deficit over a trillion dollars to give tax breaks to the rich.
To tell the truth, I am not too familiar with many of the gubernatorial candidates, so I have homework to do over the summer (as I’m sure many of you do) educating myself on them and their policy positions. I have interacted with a couple of them, and I believe they are both candidates whom people should seriously consider for governor.
The first is Jonathan Harris. He has a wealth of experience from various government positions, and when I heard from him in a meeting he seemed like a very intelligent person. He was very strong on the environment, something I like to see, and talked about modeling his plan for aiding the economy based on what has worked in some of his other positions. His stances on education were also quite good, or at least that is what my friend who is very knowledgeable on such matters told me (she was especially impressed he didn’t have to be prompted to talk about certain components of education policy). While I only met with him once, he came across as someone who I thought could be quite successful.
I saw him give a talk on how misinformation (“fake news”) can often lead countries into war, and like Jonathan he was clearly a very intelligent person. He champions a number of progressive policies, from raising the minimum wage to strengthening gun laws, and I think he could be quite successful as well. Personally, I have to do more research on the policy positions of these two candidates in addition to the others, but they will definitely be strong contenders.
Both parties have their primaries on August 14th for all positions up for election, from governor to U.S. House to state house/senate seats. If you want to vote in a particular party’s primary you must me a registered member of that party. Additionally, you should double check your voter registration as many of you may still be registered to vote in Storrs and have to either drive back up here or change registration to your hometown to participate.
While the gubernatorial elections may be the most high profile, the other elections being held are also of high importance. State House and State Senate elections will be especially relevant this year, as control of both chambers is very close between the two major parties. On a more local level, school boards and local judges will also be up for election come November. These are not “flashy” elections, but the officials who are elected will have a great degree of impact on your community and you should devote adequate time to researching the candidates and making informed decisions on whom to vote for.
Jacob Kowalski is opinion editor for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.