Saturday, September 30, 2006
District 142: Lex Paulson
Part of an occasional series on challengers for seats in the General Assembly.
From Activist to Candidate
Democratic Challenger Lex Paulson has a long history of volunteering and activism with a progressive bent. Previously he has worked to bring the arts to public schools, organize youth in New Hampshire for the Dean campaign, and help write a bill (House Bill 575) that was passed and signed into law . Through his work on local campaigns he became familiar with State Senator Bob Duff and State Rep. Chris Perone who recruited Paulson to run in the 142nd district.
"Being a candidate is a different kind of service." said Paulson when asked about the difference between working on a campaign and actually being the candidate. "The first time you hand someone a piece of literature with your own face on it is a surreal and humbling experience."
"In addition to thinking big you gotta think small." Paulson said when asked about transportation. "We have to come up with more numerous and creative ways to incentivize public transportation." Paulson would like to see the state's bus systems undergo a major overhaul so that they connect to the state's commuter rail stations. He also stressed the importance of additional parking at Metro North trains, and making long needed improvements on 95 and state roads.
Our conversation about healthcare mainly focused on closing gaps and streamlining existing programs. Paulson pointed out that with so many bills being passed each session in the State Legislature representatives often don't fully understand the details of each and every bill. This can create gaps in the care available and extra paperwork for local families. "To streamline a process you have to understand it in detail." says Paulson.
When asked about the state government's role in Development Paulson emphasized transparency. "To often we look at the development process as something mysterious, that happens behind closed doors, that involves secret deals between developers and political figures. I think that it shouldn't be that way and it can't be that way." Paulson's position is that it's important that all deals be open so that the communities affected by development know the details from the start. He also believes that while tax incentives should be a tool for bringing jobs into CT, the state must hold companies accountable to the promises they make to get those incentives.
Walking Towards Victory
Lex Paulson's main campaign push is a walking tour through his district. He feels that it's important to meet face to face with voters.
"There are lots of ways to communicate with voters and every candidate makes a decision whether they're going to use their time to make phone calls or send mail or spend time knocking on doors. Knocking on doors is the most time intensive, but I decided that this year especially, the only way for a candidate to break through at the state level is to talk to voters face to face."
Lex Paulson's opponent, State Rep. Lawrence Cafero currently serves as the Deputy
Minority Leader. To the best of Paulson's knowledge Cafero isn't going door to door.
Challenging a powerful incumbent takes guts and determination and Lex Paulson seems to have plenty of both. To learn more about Lex and his campaign be sure to check out his website.
This is my first experiment in audio. The following clips are snippets from my interview with Lex Paulson, allowing you to hear directly from him. Thanks to Lex for agreeing to participate.
Three Qualities Every Legislator Needs
On Writing and Passing a Bill.
On Going Door To Door.
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