Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Audrey Blondin Q&A

Welcome, Audrey, to Connecticut Local Politics.

Everyone who has questions should post them here. I'll be reposting questions that were posted elsewhere, with the name of the writer attached.

Update

Audrey answered all of the interview questions that I sent her here in this forum. For your reference, here are the questions (also, it's just good fun to post that Bysiewicz quote):

1. Most readers don't know very much about you. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, and why you're running for Secretary of the State?

2. What's the first priority you would have as Secretary of the State, should you be elected?

3. There are five other Democratic contenders for the office of Secretary of the State, and at least one Republican. How do you plan to get voters to take notice of your campaign in this large field?

4. The Hartford Courant reported on July 8th that you're far behind current leader Andrew Fleischmann in fundraising. Is this going to significantly handicap your campaign? How do you plan to make up this ground, especially consdering the size of the Democratic field?

5. In her biography of Ella Grasso, current Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz wrote that "As a state's chief elections officer, the Secretary of State had the happy task of traveling around Connecticut urging people to vote. The Secretaryship offered the golden opportunity for high visibility without the liability of controversy … Further, the position had come to be regarded as… a stepping stone to
higher office." ( Do you think that this is still true of the position, or has it changed since Ella Grasso's day?

6. You appeared with Susan Bysiewicz at a Democratic Town Committee meeting in Winsted in April. Has she endorsed or supported your candidacy in any way?

40 comments:

AloneDemocrat said...

Hello, this is Audrey Blondin from Litchfield, one of the Democratic candidates for Secretary of the State 2006.
I'd like to start off by answering the questions from the Open Forum from 7/18/05 if that's ok.
I apologize that we aren't showing my names as Audrey Blondin because our password is not working for Audrey Blondin. We're trying to fix that now as well.

Genghis Conn said...

Audrey,

Certainly. I will be reposting those questions in this forum in just a moment.

Genghis Conn said...

Ebpie asked...

A question for Audrey Blondin, do you support same day registration? If so, how can you ensure the integrity of the vote?

Genghis Conn said...

DeanFan84 asked...

I understand that same day voter registration would not be popular with registrars and town clerks across the state. But it could make the difference in winning the 3 Republican House seats, as well as the governorship. Will you let us know specifically where you stand on this issue?

Also, with the majority of the voters in this state Unaffiliated, what do you think about moving to an open primary system?

Finally, what major reforms would you like to initiate, were you elected??

AloneDemocrat said...

Ebpie asked a question regarding same day registration.
The issue of same day registration is currently being litigated.
I believe the court ruling will be to mandate same day registration.
I know many of the Registrars have concerns about this process, but I believe procedures can be developed to insure that same day registration occurs in a workable manner for all.
Having spent alot of time doing mission work in Nicaragua, & seeing what it's like to live in a dictatorship society, I believe everyone should be able to have the opportunity to vote, even if they don't decide to do so until elction day.

AloneDemocrat said...

Continuing regarding this discussion,
any time you have an opportunity to get more people involved in our democratic process, which would be the case with same day registration, it's a benefit to those running for office.
Currently we have moved to an open primary system where any candidate can petition to secure a spot on the ballot, rather than being endorsed at the convention.

Audrey said...

Here I am now as Audrey-
Sorry for the confusion!!

Genghis Conn said...

I think, based on the context of DeanFan's question, that he may have been asking about primaries that would be open to all voters, instead of just Republicans or Democrats. Several states do this for the presidential races.

Audrey said...

As far as reforms & priorities when I am elected, the first thing that I'm going to do is have a meeting in each county with the Registrars, Town Clerks & Chief Elected officials to talk about the issues & concerns that they have as local elected officials dealing with the SOTS office.
Another priority of mine is continued support for small businesses & corporations. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, & I believe we need to do everything we can to support those that are in business & do business with the SOTS office.

Audrey said...

Chris-
To answer your question, I believe that the strength of our democracy lies in our 2 party system-
The Republicans at one point had primaries where unaffiliateds voted, but ended it & went back to our current sysytem.
I'm always open to anything that encourages more participation in the process, but I think this is an issue where much more discussion would need to take place before taking a stand on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Dear Audrey,
The Help America Act has set aside $33 Million for New Electronic Voting Machines and there has been a recent push to replace all voting machines in the state. What is your opinion on replacing lever voting machines in Connecticut? When the 33 million is gone to do you think the federal and state government will burden the cities and towns in connecticut with the cost...

Audrey said...

Also, Chris-
To continue to answer your other questions-
I'm born & raised in West Haven & Orange, graduated Laurelton Hall 1971 & SCSU magna cum laude in 1975, Temple Law School in Philadelphia 1979, practiced law here in Torrington since 1980-
my resume is at http://www.audreyblondin.com/resume.html if anyone would like to see it.
I practice primarily real estate, will & probate & bankruptcy law-served 3 years as the CT Director for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys-
Have Torrington's oldest woman-owned law firm-
Served 10 years on the Litchfield Board of Selectman-1993-2003-longest serving Democratic woman on the BOS-
Current member of the DSCC-
Ran the 5th CD for Kerry for President

DeanFan84 said...

Hi Audrey!

Money in politics! Two of the men in the race have raised more money than you, on the backs of $1000 and $1500 contributions.

Landino-- http://cfisct.sots.state.ct.us/servlet/com.cfis.control.CFISReportsNavigationServlet

Fleischman--
http://cfisct.sots.state.ct.us/servlet/com.cfis.control.CFISReportsNavigationServlet

What do you think about the public financing of Campaigns? Are you for this reform?

I like that you are reaching out to small dollar donors to fund your campaign, and that you are avoiding the "usual suspects" who tend to have an undue influence on CT politics!

Audrey said...

Great question on the voting machines-
I support putting one electronic voting machine in every polling place across the state to provide for full voting accessibility for all.
I'm glad that HAVA has been amended to allow cities and towns to keep the lever voting machines, which I support.
After the HAVA money has been spent, towns & cities will have to pay for their own electronic voting machines, which will need to be replaced every 5-7 years, at great expense to the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Dear Audrey,

Do you consider yourself the most Progressive Dem in the SOS field?

If so, why?

Anonymous said...

There has been a lot of talk about enimant domain on the Connecticut local politics blog lately. Do you think the state of Connecticut will take any action to help homeowners keep thier property safe from big government and corrupt American? What is your opinion on this topic and do you think the supreme court over stepped its power?

Audrey said...

I am a full & complete supporter of campaign finance reform.
You are exactly right-when you look at the campaign filing reports, you see huge contributions from those on the inside to those on the inside.
It's very rare to see someone successfully run for state-wide office from local government. I intend to change that & make this $$$$ issue a big part of my campaign platform, especially when you say one thing regarding support for campaign finance reform & then do another.

Audrey said...

Regarding being a progressive candidate, I have a long & public record of strong support for working families, both in my work as an attorney & as an elected official.
My support for campaign finance reform is very public-we just released our newsletter today on that topic.
I think my stand on the voting machines is prudently progressive and realistic to the financial needs of the local cities & towns dealing with budgets.

Audrey said...

Regarding eminent domain,IU've been a lawyer for more than 25 years & in my decade of service on the Litchfield BOS, whenever that issue arose, we immediately said NO.
Unless there is an overriding public need for taking someone's land, I don't believe that this should be supported in any way, certaining not so private developers can take someone's home & make a profit from it.

Audrey said...

To answer the question of why I'm running, I decided after a quarter century of involvement in the political process & 10 years of public service on the local level, that it was time for a new & different type of leadership from the SOTS office. I believe our campaign message of bringing state government to local government rather than vice versa is something that will really make a difference in the way this office interacts with our cities & towns.

Anonymous said...

There has been discussion from the current Secretary of the States office over weather to choose DRE Voting Machines or Opitical Scanners. I know John Nussbaum has pledged to fight for optical scanners. The Secretary of States office has only put out a RFP on DRE machines, Because there are no federally certified optical scanners available that are ADD compliant. What is your view on both types of machines? Which is better in your opinion?

DeanFan84 said...

Audrey--

Do you have any more of your famous "flyswatters"?

Genghis Conn said...

Audrey,

(A quick follow-up question from me--)

Do you feel, then, that Susan Bysiewicz has been too distant from local governments during her tenure? What sorts of things will you do to bring the SOTS office closer to the municipal governments?

Audrey said...

We are running a very strong grass roots camapign, with an emphasis on local, personal contact & reaching out to all cities & towns throughout our state.
We've visited over 60 DTCs already & gone to 100's of events.
We have a wonderful website which I feel is a very important tool for outreach & communication.

Ebpie said...

Audrey, if Susan Bysiwiecz leaves the governor's race and decides to run for re-election will you continue to run for Secretary of State or drop out? Are you going to endorse one of the Democrats for Governor?

Audrey said...

Chris-
In no way do I feel that Susan has been too distant.
She has made many, many visits out here to the NW corner & has always been extremely accessible to all.
My focus is just a little more local, having come from local as opposed to state government-
As I said before, when elected I want to meet with the local Registrars & elected officials & continue to communicate on a regular basis & also bring more training out to the local communities.

Audrey said...

Re: Flyswatters-yes-we still have some left-
Please e-mail me & I'll be happy to send you one!!

Genghis Conn said...

All right, we are just about out of time. Thanks to all who posted questions, and thanks especially to Audrey Blondin, who was generous enough to spend her time with us tonight.

I will be posting my interview with Audrey at some point in the next few days.

Audrey said...

I see Susan frequently & at no time has she given any indication that she is changing her mind & returning to SOTS. I'm fully & totally committed to my race & expect to continue moving forward.
I know all of the Gov. candidates well, they are all extremely well-qualified & each & every one of them would make a wonderful Gov. that I would be happy to serve with.

Anonymous said...

I've looked at the campaign finance reports for the SOTS candidates and noted that one or two candidates seem to be getting alot of money from pacs and lobbyists. Do you think this is a problem concidering all of you supposedly support campaign finance reform?

Audrey said...

Thanks so much, Chris-
This was great & I'd be happy to do it again at any time!!
Please have anyone feel free to e-mail me directly-audrey@audreyblondin.com at any time if they have any questions.
If you don't mind, I'll continue for a bit more to answer the rest of your questions.
Thanks again for everything!

Genghis Conn said...

Naturally we don't mind!

Thanks again, Audrey, and you're always welcome to come back and post your opinions here on the blog.

Audrey said...

Re : Optical Scanners
The current RFP does not include optical scan machines because they do not comply with ADA-
I suuport whatever DRE machine will be acceptable at the conclusion of the RFP process.
At the conclusion of the RFP process, the selected DRE machine will be previewed in the Fall throughout the state.

Audrey said...

Regarding the campaign finance reports & large pac donations-
as I said-I feel very strongly that if you talk the talk, you should walk the walk-
It's difficult I believe, to stand up there & say how much you support campaign finance reform & meanwhile receiving huge donations from the very sources you're talking against. I think my approach coming from local government & moving forward accepting mostly small donations is a better way to do things.

Anonymous said...

Audrey, you are my hero!

Audrey said...

RE: SOTS office "high visibility w/o the liability of controversy..."
Ahh....how times have changed-take me back to the pre-Katherine Harris days!I think it's obvious that since 2000, the SOTS office has changed tremendously & that the issues of voter participation and the accurancy & counting of every vote make this position one of extreme importance & visibility.
Re: Stepping stone to other office-
That's an excellent question & I want to make it clear that I am running for the Secretary of the State because I WANT TO BE THE SECRETARY OF THE STATE and serve the citizens of the State of Connecticut in the best way that I can in this very important office.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Blondin-

I am a Republican so I'm probably not inclined to support you. But thanks for your willingness to answer the questions tonight. It shows a degree of respect and class.

Just one critique: On your website you mistakenly link to the DAS website rather than what is supposed to be the SOTS site.

Best of luck in your primary.

Audrey said...

Last question-Appearing with Susuan at the Winchester DTC meeting.
Both Susan & I appeared & were endorsed by the DTC for the offices we are now seeking.
As I said, I know all of the candidates running for Gov. very well & each & every one of them would make a wonderful Gov.
It will be 20 years next year 1986-2006, since a Democrat was last elected Gov. of CT. An entire generation has been born & grown to adulthood w/o the benefit of strong Democratic leadership her in CT.
Any of the current Democratic candidates for Gov. would be an outstanding choice to lead our state for the next 4 years.

Audrey said...

Thank you for your nice comments & comment re website DAS/SOTS-we'll check it out-thanks again!

Audrey said...

I would again like to thank you, Chris & everyone for this great opportunity.
I appreciate it very much & look forward to keeping in touch & speaking with you again soon!
Regards,
Audrey