Friday, October 13, 2006

State Senate 22: Robert Russo



Part of an occasional series on challengers for seats in the General Assembly.

Bridgeport Born and Raised
Republican challenger Robert Russo was born and raised in Bridgeport. "I come from a long line of doctors and I thought I was going to be a doctor too." Russo explained, but after just two weeks of attending Georgetown University he changed his mind. While in college Russo interned with Rep. Chris Shays, beginning a political relationship that continues to this day. He has held positions as Shays's assistant, and headed Gov. Rell's Bridgeport office. Additionally he recruited Rick Torres to run as Mayor of Bridgeport. Russo ran against his current opponent Bill Finch in 2004, losing by just under 8 points. Currently he lives in Bridgeport and has his own law practice.

A Call For Oversight
Russo would like to see the creation of a GAO for the state of Connecticut. "I think we've got a waste issue, and I think what we need to do is something along the lines of what the federal government has done. The federal government has a General Accounting Office. They are essentially some really mean lawyers and accountants that are constantly combing through the government for fraud and abuse."

The most interesting aspect of Russo's vision for a GAO is that in addition to overseeing how money is spent at the state level, it would also look into the spending of towns and cities. "We need better financial oversight not on a state level so that it can save us money as state tax payers, but on a local level so that we can make sure that the state money is going where it's supposed to go."

The Car Tax
Russo supports the repeal of the car tax as a first step in property tax reform. "The bottom line is that it is too expensive to live in Connecticut. And people do need relief. The car tax is the first major piece of property tax reform ever proposed. And it was proposed by Governor Rell." When asked about the skepticism from several local communities about the car tax Russo suggested that concerns could be addressed in the bill. "You've got to make sure when the bill is written that it's written fairly." he said. He also pointed out that Rell's car tax plan would take the burden of collection off of communities. "No town collects 100% of its car tax, but under the Governor's plan they're going to get paid for 100% of their car tax."

Transportation
"I totally support the Governor's 1.3 billion." Russo said when asked about transportation. He believes that Rell is on the right track in regards to mass transit and as a State Senator would follow her lead.

Expressing disdain for transportation studies, Russo would like to see a more direct approach to fixing Connecticut's traffic problem. "I'm actually dying to find the reporter who'll take the time to figure out how much money in the last ten years this state spent on transportation studies. For awhile it seemed like every year there would be two or three." Russo also has an idea for combating gridlock on I-95. "Let's close just half the entrance ramps just during rush hour. At non-peak times we can open them up. And let's see what happens. It'll cut out people like admittedly me who are using the highway to go short distances when they should be using the town roads."

Healthcare
Expressing support for programs like Husky and Connpace, Russo said that access to affordable healthcare was indeed an issue for Connecticut. He argues that the biggest obstacle to keeping healthcare costs down are malpractice suits. "We need to get the trial lawyers out of the hospitals and out of the doctor's offices. Medical malpractice rates in Connecticut are through the roof and it's driving doctor's out." Russo wants non-economic damages for malpractice suits capped at $500,000 and more scrutiny for Doctors who are accused of it. "You really want to punish a doctor? Take away their license. They're not trained to do anything else. My father wouldn't make a decent gas station attendant. He's only trained to be a doctor."

There's no denying that Robert Russo is a passionate guy who cares deeply about his district. If you'd like to learn more about Russo and his campaign, be sure to check out his website.

Are you a challenger for a seat in the General Assembly? Contact us!

21 comments:

Shadow said...

Regarding a General Accounting Office:

Something along the lines of what the federal goverment has done? Accountability is always good, but pointing to the federal goverment as a place where lawyers and accountants "are constantly combing through the government for fraud and abuse" without adding any criticism is very alarming, when our current federal goverment is the worst bastion of waste, fraud, and abuse in the history of the world. It's not enough of a differentiation to say "something along the lines"; if we're to expect a state GAO to be effective, it needs to also be pointed out how it will attain a better track record than its counterpart in Washington.

cgg said...

Shadow, remember that this is only a profile and not a detailed analysis of Russo's plan. It's actually one of his more interesting proposals (not saying I agree just that it was interesting) and I suspect we could have spent the entire hour just talking about a GAO.

Shadow said...

cgg - I understand that, but if I was going to articulate a few sentences summarizing the concept of a state GAO, and that summary included the statement "something along the lines of the federal goverment", it would also include at least six or seven words differentiating the proposed office from the federal model on which it would be based. Accomplishing this would only take half a sentence, and is too fundamental to the basic function and purpose of such an office to omit, even in a brief summary; it's not the kind of minute detail that should only come to light in a one hour debate, as anything that could ever potentially be accomplished by this proposal is contingent on it.

Anonymous said...

Russo is going to win this one-- he has knocked on thousands of doors and he and Finch are about equally matched in terms of fundraising.

I think this is the closest race in the CT State Senate this year-- the one to watch!

Anonymous said...

There is no Republican party in this state.Rell has absolutely no coattails because of that.Everything in the Republican party in CT is decided by Lisa Moody and then approved by the cults leader and accidental Governor Jodi Rell.

I use to be a CT Repblican but today I'd be embarassed to say I was a member.

Anonymous said...

Don't know much about this guy, but anyone has to be better than Finch. He will steal your home for at his dayjob for "development" and then vote against eminent domain reforms at his "part-time" gig in hartford. Then, for good measure, will celebrate by drinking at UConn and getting into bar fights with college kids.

Anonymous said...

This guy, Russo, is a bore.

Anonymous said...

My father wouldn't make a decent gas station attendant. He's only trained to be a doctor Yeha OK but his daddy is a big player in the real estate business in the area. Maybe kid Russo who looks like all he has evr done is work for a politician should go out and get a job in the real world before he runs for political office.

Anonymous said...

How does the creation of a state GAO reconcile with the state comptroller and auditors we have now?

Anonymous said...

hey anonymous 11:49, it says in the first paragraph that he has his own law practice. isn't that a job in the real world?

Anonymous said...

Finch is a crook just like Joe Ganim, Ernie Newton and John Fabrizi. When will Bridgeport voters wake up and smell the corruption?

Anonymous said...

Kinda off subject but I received a mailer from Bill Kiner yesterday in the mail. It was a nice piece so I decided to check out his website, www.billkiner.com, today.

Upon looking at his website, i looked under his bio and it was "under construction". Same thing for where he stands on the issues. So based on what I now know, Bill Kiner is a man from enfield with kids that was a teacher who is running for State Senate but doesn't really know who he is or what he stands for yet.

Timm Knibbs said...

The repeal of the car tax is a bad idea because the state does not fund it current oblgations. PILOT is funded at about 70% of the amount called for by law. Eliminating the car tax without fully funding PILOT and cost sharing programs will only raise taxes on real estate, becaus this to will not be fully funded.

Anonymous said...

What kind of law practice does Bobby have and how long has he had it? And what does he do since he's never done much law since graduating from law school? Bill collections for daddy Russo might be his speed?

Anonymous said...

Both Finch and Rell with Russo running her Bridgeport office continued the Ganim/Rowland legacy by insisting on putting the damn kids jail on the waterfront in Bridgeport. Screw 'em all, I am writing in Con Filardi.

Anonymous said...

If I understand his comments right, Russo beleives that non-economic damages are about punishing a doctor but that's not the case. Punitive damages would punish a doctor and they are rarely in play. Non-economic damages are about compensating the doctor's victim which was injured by the doctor's negligence. What kind of law does Russo practice? The license issue is about whether or not the doctor is competent, not punishment.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Kiner Anon 2:34. His campaign treasurer totally bothched the front page of his latest filing. How can you have less money in the aggregate than you do for this period? I can see someone screwing up an address, but the front page? All you have to do is read the directions. Sloppy work Mr. Kiner!!!

Anonymous said...

Right after Bobby graduated from UCONN Law he ran for State Senate in 2004 and lost. Rell then gave him a job running her Bridgeport office. He left that so he could legitimately run for State Senate again and so now he says he has his own law practice. Sure.

Anonymous said...

Rob graduated from Fordham Law. He strongly opposed the plan to put the jail on the river in Bridgeport. If you're going to take shots at him, get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bowsza.. you're days are numbered. You're no war time operative.

Anonymous said...

If he opposed the kids jail on the waterfront then why didn't his boss, Jodi, listen to him? I guess she was still listening to Rowland from his jail cell.