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Senator Maroney:  An ‘Independent Voice’

Senator Maroney:  An ‘Independent Voice’

State Sen. James Maroney currently represents the 14th Senatorial District encompassing Milford, Orange, and a slice of southern Woodbridge and western West Haven.  In the upcoming election he is seeking his third term.  He is cross-endorsed by the Connecticut Independent Party as well as the Working Families Party.

“Now, more than ever, we need to put our differences aside and get things done for people,” he was quoted in campaign literature.  “That’s been my focus.”

In the most recent legislative session, Maroney served as co-chair of the General Law Committee and the Legislative Regulation Review Committee; also, vice chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and member of the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee, as well as the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee and the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.

His signature piece of legislation in this legislative session was to help pass strong consumer data privacy laws, the Act Concerning Personal Data Privacy And Online Monitoring, which had bipartisan support.  The statute grants consumers the right to access, correct, delete and obtain a copy of personal data, and to opt out of the personal data mining for the purposes of targeted advertising, certain sales of personal data.

Maroney also points to tax cuts in the 2022 state budget benefitting families, namely a $250 per child tax rebate for up to three children.  The budget also increased the property tax credit and the number of people eligible for the property tax credit.

Despite the tax cuts, the budget also made “historic investments in student mental health, and early childhood education, protecting the environment, and more,” he wrote.

Maroney supported legislation benefiting both state police and veterans.  For the troopers, he supported a pay increase and health coverage for on-the-job post-traumatic stress for all police officers.  He also supported a $1million student loan forgiveness for police officers throughout.

For veterans, the budget provided for continued funding for veterans to attend manufacturing certificate programs; providing families up to $1,800 for funeral expenses; and extending benefits to individuals released from service with any other than honorable discharge.

On the environmental front, he supported measures to move away from tail pipe emissions by making electric vehicles and e-bikes more affordable through rebates; providing more charging stations; and creating a grant program to switch school buses from diesel to electric.  There is also a push underway to update traffic signals to reduce emissions from idling.

He has helped channel state funds to the towns he represents, namely West Haven:  $193,000 to the police department for the purchase of body cameras, dash cameras and video storage devices; Milford:  $277,000 for the Bureau of Aquaculture for repairs and renovations; $600,000 for Bridges Healthcare Inc. to purchase a new HVAC system; $67,000 for the police department for body cameras and dash cameras; $750,000 to construct a walkway along the Wepawaug River; and Woodbridge:  $2.3 million to convert the Old Firehouse into a community center.

Looking forward, he is hoping to continue his work in the areas of data privacy, early childhood education, workforce development and the cost of higher education.

Data Privacy:  Senator Maroney plans to continue his work on data privacy and he is working with other legislators from around the country to develop controls for AI and Algorithmic Decision Making.  This is a topic that impacts us all, as AI is now making decisions related to who to grant interviews to, insurance rates, healthcare, housing, and more.  Further, he plans on looking at healthcare data that is not protected by HIPAA, yet still often extremely sensitive.

Early Childhood Education:  During the pandemic, Connecticut has lost 20,000 childcare slots, he stated, and there are tens of thousands of children who are in need of quality early childhood education.  As a consequence, many parents have been unable to return to work.  Investing in early childhood education is therefore “an investment in both Connecticut’s short term and long-term workforce.”

Workforce Development:  Last session Sen. Maroney worked with Senator Fonfara on a pilot program to create an Income Share Agreement to help increase the number of CDL licensed drivers in the state.  They developed a pilot program to include other areas of workforce shortage that are critical to the state’s economy.

Cost of Higher Education:  Maroney is looking for ways to reduce costs for college.  He will look at some of the drivers of the cost of education, such as energy costs, and also look at other creative methods of reducing college tuition.

James Maroney graduated from Jonathan Law High School then attended Yale University.  In 1999, he founded First Choice College Placement, a college placement service.  Maroney has served as president and founding member of the Milford Education Foundation and also served on the Milford Board of Education.

By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent

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