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As Secretary of the State, I want to make it easier to vote, and easier to do business in CT.  

If elected, I will:

Bring Early Voting to Connecticut

Bring early voting to CT by funding a robust voter education campaign on the constitutional amendment to allow it.  So the CT Assembly must do its job and pass the amendment between now and May 4th. 

 

  • Connecticut is one of only 6 states in the country that does not offer early voting of any kind.  By the end of my first term, I will bring early voting to CT

 

  • Before we can change the law to allow early voting or ‘no excuse’ absentee ballots, CT General Assembly must pass a Constitutional amendment during the current legislative session that would allow CT voters to approve it in the 2024 Presidential election

 

  • Once this is passed, the amendment will appear on the ballot in November 2024.

 

  • As Secretary of the State I would spearhead an effort to raise significant funds – both public and private funds – to mount a comprehensive voter education campaign to advocate for passage of this constitutional amendment in 2024. 

 

Restore trust between local election officials – Registrars and Town Clerks – and the Secretary of the State’s Office

Trust has broken down between the Secretary of the State’s office and our vital local election officials – our Registrars of Voters and our Town Clerks.  We need to restore that trust by working in partnership with, not dictating to local election officials. 

 

  • There are too many new requirements the state is imposing on local election officials – often without a way to pay for these new mandates. 

 

  • As a Local Health Director, I am a municipal leader with extensive experience especially during the pandemic managing the worst crisis to hit our state in partnership with local officials as well as state and federal agencies.

 

  • No one needs to educate me about how important the partnership is between the state and local election officials who administer elections, implement state and federal laws in a constantly shifting landscape,  and yet make voting possible every year. Often, with plenty of unfunded mandates and new costs.

 

  • We need to restore that trust and set up a way for the state to fund local election costs.

 

  • As Secretary of the State I will form a working group commission of Registrars of Voters and Town Clerks to study what type of early voting or no excuse absentee ballot system will work best for our state.

 

  • This commission will begin work in early 2023 and it will be responsible for assessing everything we can do to improve the voting experience in Connecticut, and make recommendations for legislation to implement these changes and early voting as early as 2025 with a goal of enacting these changes for the 2025 municipal elections.

 

  • The Commission will also recommend a realistic budget for what all these changes will cost taxpayers, and come up with a funding system using state revenue to fund not only all of these one-time changes, but also come up with a funding mechanism for the state to properly fund election costs for towns on an ongoing basis.

 

This includes regular maintenance and upgrades to optical scan voting machines, hiring of poll workers, and training of Registrars, moderators, and other poll-workers.

Improve Business Services by restoring fiscal autonomy to the SOTS office – Restore the CRD Fund

The Secretary of the State’s Office was once fiscally autonomous and funded its operations through the nearly $40 million it collects every year in business registration fees.  That was taken away by the Governor and General Assembly more than a decade ago and it needs to be restored.

 

  • The quality of services offered to businesses has suffered and created many problems for business transactions all over the state. 

 

  • In addition, towns and cities all over Connecticut struggle to finance upgrades to election equipment and hire and train poll workers to administer elections. 

 

  • As Secretary of the State, I will lead the charge to restoring the fiscal autonomy of the Secretary of the State’s office by introducing legislation to fund the office directly through the collection of business registration fees and turn over whatever surplus funds to the CT General Fund.

 

  • I will not only introduce this legislation, but also work with partners in the General Assembly and the Governor’s office, as well as advocates in the business and legal community to make sure this change is passed and implemented, and that people understand how critical it is that the Secretary of the State’s office have the autonomy it needs to make the technical and personnel upgrades it needs to keep business and elections running smoothly in Connecticut, without political interference from the CT General Assembly.

 

  • The office needs to control those funds without political interference from the General Assembly to properly maintain the commercial recording business services division, make needed technology and personnel upgrades, reduce backlogs and improve customer service. 

 

We should also use this same pool of funds to create a fund for election technology upgrades for our towns. So the state can fund towns to replace aging optical scan machines, enhance election security, other equipment upgrades, training and personnel. 

Restore the SOTS small and minority business unit

The Secretary of the State’s Office needs to restore its small and minority business unit that led a very successful and robust program educating small business entrepreneurs – especially women and minority owned firms – helping them network, and connect them to services available by state and federal government agencies to help them grow and create jobs. 

 

  • As Secretary of the State I will restore this unit and make it very active and impactful.

 

  • 90% of all new jobs in Connecticut created in the last decade were created by firms of 50 people or less

 

  • 75% of all registered business entities in Connecticut have less than 10 employees, so small business is BIG business in CT.

 

  • The Secretary of the State’s office once led an active network of more than 1,500 small business entities in Connecticut – many of them women and minority owned firms.

 

  • These entrepreneurs regularly attended conferences, business showcase events all over the state, and events put on by federal agencies such as the Small Business Administration or the US Commerce Department Trade Office in Middletown connecting local small business entrepreneurs with training and introductions to overseas markets through exportation.

 

  • There is no other state agency with any office or unit that focuses on small, women owned and minority owned businesses. 

 

  • This unit needs to be restored so the Secretary of the State’s office can partner with other state agencies, federal agencies, business organizations, local chambers of commerce, municipal economic development agencies and regional councils of government to focus efforts to help small, women owned and minority owned firms succeed and create jobs. 

 

This can have an enormous impact on economic development, particularly in urban and rural areas where the Small and minority Business Unit can partner with schools and community colleges to prepare the workforce of the future to take thousands of jobs in healthcare and high-tech manufacturing that will be needed in Connecticut for at least the next 30 years.

Why Maritza can get it done:

Maritza Bond is the ONLY candidate for Secretary of the State with significant government executive management leadership experience.  She has also advocated for major policy changes in Connecticut over the last 20 years and has successfully implemented new government initiatives.

 

Both as a leader in community based nonprofits focused on health education, and as the top municipal public health official leading health departments in Connecticut’s two largest cities, overseeing dozens of staff and budgets of millions of dollars during the world’s worst public health crisis in a century.  Efforts to educate the public in New Haven and Bridgeport on how to stay safe during the pandemic, get tested and get vaccinated saved hundreds if not thousands of lives.

 

Maritza Bond has also advocated for many significant legislative and policy changes with our state legislature and implemented those policy changes at the local level.  Often times, those changes included advocating for traditionally marginalized communities and fighting for inclusivity and equity in our healthcare system.  These issues include:

 

  • Implementation of culturally and linguistically appropriate standards in healthcare

  • Making interpreter services available and covered under Medicaid in CT 

  • Advocating at the State Capitol for state funding for Eastern CT Area Health Education Center in Willimantic

  • Currently advocating for tougher standards and enforcement measures to reduce lead poisoning particularly for children living in urban areas in older building with lead paint

  • Implemented the state’s first local ordinance banning the sale of any tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 in Bridgeport.  The state later adopted a similar ban statewide, but Bridgeport under Maritza Bond led the way.

  • Years of experience in New Haven advocating for Health department budget with city board of aldermen, negotiating labor contracts