Robert Pandolfo

Green Party candidate for the 1st District of the State Senate

My goal in this election is two-fold: First, to promote the key values and principles of the Green Party, which I believe reflect the views of true progressives in this state; and secondly, to help the Green Party overcome the barriers that the stateís ballot access requirements impose on minor parties and independent candidates.

Some important issues and my position on each include the following:

- Promotion of Grassroots Democracy in our political system. The election laws in Connecticut, including the recently passed Campaign Finance Reform bill, discriminate against minor parties and independent candidates. This favors a select group of career politicians by giving incumbents from the two major parties a huge advantage in elections. These laws should be modified to encourage ordinary citizens from a variety of political affiliations to run for office.

- More progressive income tax structure. Shift the tax burden away from low-income taxpayers toward those who can more easily afford it. This can be achieved by raising the exemption level (the amount initial annual income that is not taxed) and taxing annual income above $1 million by an additional 1 or 2%.

- Tax on tobacco. Equalize the tobacco tax among all types of tobacco by reducing the cigarette tax and raising the tax rate on "country club" tobacco products such as pipe tobacco and cigars. Our state government taxes cigarettes more heavily than it does with other types of tobacco. This is unfair and disproportionately affects middle and low-income smokers. While I support a tax on tobacco, I believe that it should be applied fairly and equitably.

- Closing corporate tax loopholes. Corporate taxes are an important source of revenue for our state and public services. At a time of record corporate profits, eliminating the escape hatches in the corporate tax law would ensure that profitable corporations pay their fair share of the tax burden. We are expected to fully pay our taxes, the same should be expected of corporations. Connecticut should also consider a tax on "Windfall" profits, similar to the one proposed in the federal government.

- Government Services. The state government has proposed many ambitious public services. Examples include a new commuter rail system, financial incentives for renewable energy usage, and universal health care. I strongly support these services and believe that they should be implemented. However, funding them requires sound tax policies which ensure adequate and reliable revenue sources such as those listed above. There is no valid excuse (not even a war on terror) for any government to be fiscally reckless in a period of economic growth.

I have been a member of the Green Party of Connecticut since 1999. In 2004, I was a state delegate at the National Green Party Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconson.

I am employed by UPS and am a proud member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 671. I served as a union steward for the Teamsters from 1992-1993. I also served a three-year term and co-chaired the City of Hartford Advisory Commission on the Environment. I currently reside in the South Green section of Hartford.

My education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Connecticut. I am currently working on a Masterís in Economics and Public Finance at Trinity College.