On the Campaign Trail: Boucher, Lavielle

State police endorse Boucher

The Connecticut State Police Union announced it has endorsed state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) for re-election. The union said she is one of “the few elected state officials” to receive its official endorsement.

The union cited Boucher’s support for public safety and trooper safety.

Boucher, Lavielle get environmental nod

The bipartisan Connecticut League of Conservation Voters has endorsed state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) and state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) for re-election on Nov. 8.

The league bases its endorsements on candidates’ positions, records, and plans for protecting the environment. It also will endorse only candidates who have responded to a league survey.

Boucher and Lavielle said they would support a state Constitutional Amendment that would protect state conservation lands from being sold, swapped or given away without a public hearing and a two-thirds vote by the General Assembly.

They also agreed to:

  • Oppose legislation that undermines traditional drinking water protections, such as a proposal earlier this year that would have allowed rock mining on what are known as Class I and II lands, which are recharge lands for reservoirs and wellfields. “Water is a scarce natural resource that I believe we must carefully conserve and protect,” Lavielle said.

  • Support a permit requirement on new, supersized water diversions, for all new and existing customers asking for an additional 500,000 gallons per day above current use.

  • Regulating sales of public drinking water supplies to private for-profit water bottling companies. These two items arose from a regional water utility’s agreement in 2015-16 to sell 1.8 million gallons per day to a water bottling company. The customer was given a discount to encourage large purchases while household rates increased, with no provision for prioritizing supply in droughts.

  • Support a take-back program by car tire manufacturers.

Boucher said she would support enabling legislation that would allow municipalities to establish a limited conveyance fee on transfers of real estate to provide dedicated local funding for land conservation and to fund land stewardship efforts. Lavielle checked that she was uncertain.

Regarding support on a statewide ban on plastic bags similar to the ban in Westport, it was Boucher who was uncertain, while Lavielle said yes.

Expanding on her answer Lavielle said, “I would support this provided that all stakeholders have been allowed to contribute input. I represent part of Westport, and its program provides an excellent example of what communities can do when they are allowed to pursue their own local conservation and environmental protection efforts.”

The survey also asked “What environmental concerns are you most passionate about?”

Boucher responded, “open space protection, rail transit, clean water and clean air.”

Lavielle highlighted “‘land conservation and open space, water quality, sustainable agriculture and locally grown food, transportation, pesticides, GMO labeling, energy.

They were also asked their environmental priorities in their district.

Boucher listed: mass transit upgrade and expansion, open space acquisitions, protecting DEEP and funds dedicated for conservation purposes from being raided, protecting our parks and farm land.

Lavielle listed:

  • Transportation — mass transit improvements, traffic congestion, complete streets and bike safety, condition of roads and bridges

  • Preservation of open space

  • Materials used on school and municipal  fields (concern about crumb rubber and pesticides)

  • Helping both residents and businesses conserve energy to reduce energy costs

  • Preserving municipalities' ability to make local decisions on certain environmental matters (for example, imposing local restrictions on pesticides that are stronger than those imposed by state law)

  • GMO labeling and support for locally grown food producers.

She also expanded on those priorities. To read her full comments and view the complete survey, visit ctlcv.org/2016-endorsements.html.