I am Will Haskell and I am running to be your state senator. As the Democratic candidate for the Connecticut State Senate in the 26th District, which includes the town of Ridgefield, I’ve kept a close eye on how our elected officials voted this term, which came to an end this month. I want to share with you how I would have voted on two key bills.

First, I would have voted in favor of Senate Bill 490 and supported municipal collaboration. Rising mill rates and high property taxes are suffocating small towns in Connecticut, discouraging new residents from living here and harming the families that already do. By building economies of scale and consolidating high-skill municipal services like pension administration and public health, Connecticut’s cities and towns will be able to reduce inefficiencies and slow the rampant growth of local property taxes.

Connecticut’s traditions of home rule and small local government are an essential part of our state’s character. Having grown up in Fairfield County, I know that municipal governments play a crucial role in this community. That’s why I’m eager to help local leaders reduce costs and better serve their constituents. I believe that our towns can become even more effective if they share some services and reduce redundancies.

Legislators in Hartford took the first step in encouraging municipal collaboration this session by passing SB 490, which would create a commission to review and approve certain shared services like municipal human resources or animal control departments. Unfortunately, our current state senator, Toni Boucher, opposed the bill and voted against a more efficient municipal government. If elected, I promise to explore every avenue to reduce property taxes and make sure our local governments run more efficiently and effectively.

Second, I would have ensured that a ban on so-called ghost guns made it to the floor for a vote. Thanks to loopholes in state and federal gun regulations, individuals can legally purchase gun parts through the mail and assemble a fully functioning weapon, including an AR-15 or an AK-47, in their own homes. Ghost guns are untraceable and are vehicles for skirting our gun laws. These loopholes allow anyone to bypass the background checks and waiting periods intended to keep Connecticut citizens safe.

Complacency and partisanship in Hartford prevented this bill from receiving a vote. In the weeks since I announced my candidacy, I have heard from countless students and parents in Fairfield County who are calling for more effective gun laws. The residents of our district have made gun violence prevention a priority in their political activism. As a state senator, I would ensure that the ghost gun loophole receives the attention it deserves.

Building a better future for Connecticut requires electing new voices to Hartford, not sending the same representatives year after year and expecting different results. If you’re interested in hearing more about how I would vote on bills in the state Senate, please visit our campaign website, WillHaskellforCT.com, and sign up for our weekly email updates.  

The Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee provides this column.