A year ago, Democrats across the nation were disheartened by the election of Donald Trump. It was a blow to our efforts to pass the progressive policies that would create more good jobs, improve education, protect civil rights and expand access to affordable health care.
But out of that electoral disaster was born a new wave of activism that refuses to be cowed by the terrible policies being pushed in Washington.
Across the nation, new voices jumped into local and state races. New activists committed themselves to holding townhalls, making calls and knocking on doors to stop the Trump-Republican agenda and elect representatives who will fight for every American. And new voters came out to the polls on Tuesday to cast a ballot for a better future for our state and our nation.
I walked and called alongside many of these new volunteers and candidates – proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who are becoming civically engaged for the first time as well as those who have spent many years working for progressive, Democratic values.
I am encouraged, as many are, with the election results from last Tuesday, both in our state and across America. Connecticut residents are speaking and acting – many for the very first time – because they know how much is at stake.
Now it’s incumbent on all of us, but particularly those who are in positions of leadership, to be worthy of this energy and faith by showing that we will take the steps needed to restore the trust in government that has eroded so much in recent decades.
Today, I’m releasing my proposal to reform elections in Connecticut – the first in a series of policy papers I’ll be unveiling over coming weeks – because I truly believe that to achieve everything we want to (from creating good jobs, strengthening our schools and repairing our infrastructure) we need to start by restoring the bonds between elected officials and those they serve.
First, we should institute early voting and make it easier to vote absentee so that more people can participate in our elections. We must also take the parties out of redistricting for our legislative races because voters should choose their representatives – not the other way around. Then, we must roll back arbitrary, year-long limits to elections ethics investigations because politicians shouldn’t be able to just run out the clock to avoid judgment. We should require dark money third-party groups to disclose the true sources of their funding so they can’t hide behind innocuous sounding committees.
And we should commit ourselves to embracing this new energy and activism. New ideas, new voices and new policies can help us reinvigorate our state and build the Connecticut we know we can be.
My reform package is available on my website – MatteiforCT.com – and I welcome the thoughts and ideas of all residents of our state.
Last weekend, I spent a couple of hours walking with Eric Wellman, a candidate for Simsbury First Selectman. He had never thought he would run for office but after the election of Trump, he didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to step in.
Today, Eric is the highest elected official in the Town of Simsbury. And he will fight for progressive values.
Thank you to Eric and all those who ran, win or lose. Thank you to Action Together Connecticut, The Women’s March CT, IndivisibleCT4, Connecticut Forward, 203 Action and so many other groups of activists who organized and got out the vote. And thank you to the countless volunteers who walked and knocked to make Tuesday possible. Now let’s work to make sure we have a state government that is worthy of you so we can get to work passing the smart policies that will bring Connecticut back.
Chris Mattei, a Democrat, is a exploring a run for governor.