By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent
For the second time, Woodbridge resident Aldon Hynes has put his name into the hat to represent the residents of the 114th District at the state level. “I am not running just because I want to, I am running because it is important work that needs to be done,” he said when he accepted the Democratic nomination back in May.
Having done this before, he knows he’s facing an uphill battle against long-time Republican incumbent Themis Klarides. But in terms of name recognition, Aldon Hynes says his quest to join the Legislature representing the 114th District is going very well. “Definitely people are much more engaged,” than two years ago, he said in a telephone interview. “They know who I am and what I stand for.”
Much like his opponent, Hynes is campaigning door–to–door in all three communities that make up the 114th District – his hometown, Woodbridge, and parts of Orange and Derby. And increased notoriety also means more volunteers to help spread the word to friends, family and neighbors.
“The biggest issue facing the state is job creation,” he said, adding that the questions we need to ask ourselves is whether we are creating good jobs and what can be done to address employment issues such as transportation, energy costs and workforce development. How can it be that a majority of college graduates in Colorado want to stay and work in Colorado, which they say is due to the quality of life, while most Yale graduates end up somewhere else, he wondered. “What are we doing that would make people stick to the area?” he asked. “What are the strengths Connecticut has that could make it attractive to young people to hang around?” He doesn’t have all the answers, but has thought these things through.
“We do have a strong tradition of manufacturing ingenuity,” he said. Workforce development and retention are part of the challenge of creating a business-friendly environment, he said. These are issues he deals with in his professional life and which he would like to take to the legislative level.
Hynes is social media manager at Community Health Center, Inc in Middletown. He deals with health care issues every day, and is trying to do his part to improve health care accessibility and outcomes. Last year, he was named a fellow with the CT Health Foundation and co-chair of the communications committee for the CT Multicultural Health Partnership. In all of these arenas, he is already dealing with health-care related issues and taking them to the Capitol. “I’m already involved with the issues, he said. “Being a legislator can take it to the next level.”
Asked whether he agrees with the notion that Connecticut has a hostile business environment he said the talk about a hostile business environment is “part of a negotiating position,” and one “that does not serve the business community or the state well”. “We need to all be working together,” he said. “Connecticut is well positioned to be a leader in the 21st century healthcare industry, and in the energy industry. We need to move toward real collaboration, he added. “That will really build businesses.”
Aiming for efficiency
A business friendly environment does not necessarily mean a state free of regulation, he said. Rather, the concept that he comes back to again and again is efficiency. Regulatory efficiency, work flow efficiency, organizational efficiency, processes that prevent waste. Instead of doing things the same old way, we need to think about ways to make processes more efficient. Questions like how to deal with Medicaid will need to be answered. Even if Medicaid is only 1% more effective, it can make a big difference, he said.
Aiming for innovation
As social media manager at Community Health Center, Inc., Mr. Hynes was invited to participate in the Google Glass Explorer and became one of the first people in Connecticut to use and develop for Google Glass. People will recognize him for what looks like a little camera on his classes. It even got a lengthy write-up in the daily paper.
But Google Glass is not, as many people tend to think, a camera snapping pictures for social media. Instead, it serves as a “wearable computer” – it keeps certain information in his sightline and can be called upon at any time. For a health care provider, that technology has the potential to reduce cost, while improving quality and outcome, he said. “You can also use it for telemedicine,” he said. If a patient comes in with a complicated medical issue, the doctor can integrate a specialist right then and there, which may be beneficial especially for the underserved populations. “The closer you are to the information the less likely you are going to miss something important,” Hynes said.
He will continue working with Google Glass until new and better technology comes along. “I will continue to use the best form of wearable computing technology,” he said. In his acceptance speech back in May, he made reference to the Google Glasses. “Some people are bound to give me advice about how I should change my looks. I should lose some weight, I should cut off my beard, I shouldn’t wear those dorky looking Google Glasses,” he commented. I feel too much of politics is based on looks, personality, and popularity. We should be spending campaign funds on talking about the issues, not buying giant pictures of ourselves. If I try to be more popular or better looking than my opponent, I have less of a chance of winning, not only the popularity contest, but also the more important goals of talking about the issues and giving the voters a real choice.
“When I ran two years ago, I received 36% of the vote, yet when people asked me the outcome of the election, I told them that I had won. I hadn’t gotten elected, but I had won. I won by giving people a choice. Over 4,000 people voted for me last time, and I want them to have someone to vote for this time.
I won by discussing the issues. And I am going to win again this fall, whether it be with 56% of the vote, or 36% of the vote.