ThomasIlir Bajraktari / Stephanie Thomas Stephanie Thomas: Focus on the economy I am a small-business owner who has spent the past 25 years working as a fundraising strategy consultant to nonprofits. This work has taught me how to come up with creative solutions, build consensus, and quickly cut through the politics of various stakeholders with differing priorities. I understand what it takes to grow and maintain a successful enterprise. The pandemic has created untenable conditions for local businesses. As we work towards returning our economy to normal, we need to create a bridge to help them survive. Support for start-ups, access to low- and no-interest loans, Shared Work programs, and working to restore consumer confidence are short-term measures that can help. A concentrated focus on jobs, economic development and long-term planning, including an exhaustive review of our tax code and budgets, are required to move our state forward. It’s always been my priority to be integral in the fabric of our community and in so doing, I can recognize where gaps exist, where pieces of the economy are flagging or where they’re thriving. I am not afraid to ask difficult questions, challenge historical assumptions, or speak my mind - but first, I always listen and investigate where others are coming from so I can be of the most help. From a young age, I was encouraged to find a way to succeed when it seemed hopeless, work harder for the common good, and lead so that others would want to follow. Nearly three decades in the nonprofit sector and my experience as a small-business owner prepared me to solve real economic problems that businesses in Connecticut face, especially now during the pandemic. My goal for the 143rd district is simple — to fight for the values that keep our community safe, productive and thriving. Stephanie Thomas is the Democratic candidate in the 143rd state House district, which includes parts of Wilton, Westport and Norwalk.