During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life: people living with a behavioral health challenge in New Haven, people with children in Bridgeport, and people who qualify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Waterbury.
In this first installment, we asked a group of University of Connecticut freshmen in Hartford the following question: What is the most important thing government could do to make a difference in your life, to enhance your community, or to improve the state?
Here are their responses, edited for length and clarity (See earlier responses here):
Abdul Rafay: If the government stopped thinking of the “trickle-down effect” and put the funding not in upper and lower classes, we would have higher satisfaction rates, better living conditions, and less poverty because the middle class not only carries the state, but cares and helps the ones who are less fortunate.
Hussein Mohamoud: Invest in mental health funding to help the epidemic of the thousands suffering from mental illness.
Ishtua Alicea: The best thing government could do to enhance Connecticut would be to create more economic development opportunities.
Abrar Bhura: The biggest footprint the new governor can leave in the history of the state is to make healthcare a guarantee for each and every person. Every citizen, no matter their income or status or political background should be given the guarantee of being covered with healthcare for free.
Why is it I’m forced to live a lifestyle I never had the chance to have a say about? Growing up in foster care your voice is taken away. For those of us in foster care, give us back our voices.
Cindy Pan: Connecticut has the highest income inequality in the country. In order to reverse the trend of a diminishing middle class, the government should focus on creating jobs to lower unemployment and reduce residential segregation through integration of different races and classes in schools and neighborhoods.
Idehel Liverpool: The healthcare system should not only provide quality service to those who can afford it when there is a world full of people who cannot get the same amount of care due to their financial circumstances. Make sure that everyone gets the same amounts of care regardless of their financial status.
This initiative was made possible through funding by Universal Health Care Foundation and Solutions Journalism Network.