MARY GLASSMAN FOR CONGRESS, CONNECTICUT’S 5TH DISTRICT
Every child in the United States should have equal access to a high quality public school education. As the First Selectman of Simsbury, I was proud to serve in a town with one of the best school systems in Connecticut. As a nation, we must commit to fully funding all of our schools to give every student the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
For the past several years, I have worked at the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), an organization that encourages cooperation and collaboration between the school districts around Hartford. CREC’s core principles include a fundamental commitment to educational equity in our region. We see strength in our diversity and work every day to improve the education of all students in the region.
Connecticut has the worst achievement gap in the country between low-income and high-income students. If elected, I will do everything I can improve the proficiency of our low performing students and strengthen our schools across the state.
As part of my work with CREC, I find ways for towns and school districts to spend education dollars wisely and stretch taxpayer dollars by increasing regional collaboration through such measures as cooperative purchasing and economies of scale. Bringing this experience to Washington will allow me to be a strong voice for using our education budget most effectively and directing money to the classroom where it belongs.
As a member of Congress, I will advocate for the full funding of quality pre-school programs. My work at Connecticut Voices for Children cemented my lifelong belief that early childhood education is essential to a student’s success. We must support these programs to prepare our youngest people for a rigorous education. I will also be a strong advocate for technical and vocational education training at the middle school and high school levels. We need highly skilled workers in our manufacturing sector to meet the demands for skilled labor and of changing technology.
Finally, I will pledge to work to make sure that today’s college students are not buried under student loan debt. The rising cost of tuition and the massive amount of student loan debt held by American families are unsustainable. I support efforts to limit this debt and allow students to refinance their loans.
We need a comprehensive energy policy in this country that focuses on sustainable solutions that are good both for the environment and for the nation’s global competitiveness.
First, we must acknowledge that climate change is real and a threat to our national security. Congress must stop denying scientific evidence and find real solutions to this real threat.
Connecticut has been a national leader in reducing carbon emissions and setting clean energy standards. I will work in Congress to continue Connecticut’s leadership in this area and fight hard against Donald Trump’s backward agenda to reward polluters at our expense.
We also must push back against this administration’s rollbacks of Obama era regulations to preserve our environment and make us a world leader on clean energy standards.
I will push to pass into law national energy standards. I will support reduced energy costs to spur economic development, require the Trump administration to rejoin the Paris Accord and will support a national cap and trade policy.
I will fight to crack down on polluters, restore our leadership across the globe on the issue of climate change and invest in clean alternative forms of energy.
Whether in Newtown, Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas or Parkland, mass shootings have become all too common. Congress is complicit in these shootings by refusing to act.
Each one of us has been changed by each senseless act of gun violence, yet Congress has refused to act. If elected, I will be a strong voice to advocate for common sense gun laws. I am so inspired by the young people across this country who have come together to end gun violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting. The tide is turning and I am firmly committed to being a part of the movement.
We must also work to find ways to keep deadly weapons away from violent criminals, terrorists and domestic abusers. In Congress, I will work to expand criminal background checks to cover the existing loopholes for gun shows, internet and private sales. I will work to renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, much like the ban we enacted here in Connecticut. I will also support legislation that protects victims of abuse, usually women, by strengthening the existing laws that prohibit abusers with temporary restraining orders from purchasing weapons.
It is time to take power away from the gun lobby and return to an era of common sense gun laws that protect all of us.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) greatly expanded the number of people insured in Connecticut and across America, but there is more work to do to reduce rising premiums and protect benefits that the current Congress has failed to address. I will work to protect the important gains made in the ACA including protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the ability of young adults to remain on their family plan until age 26, and the expansion of preventative care. We must control prescription drug costs and continue to expand the number of Americans who are covered by health insurance.
I will be a strong advocate for women’s health care in Congress. In my work at Connecticut Voices for Children, I saw the direct correlation between funding for prenatal care and good outcomes for mothers and babies.
I am a firm believer in a women’s reproductive freedom, especially this year when we are seeing an unprecedented number of attacks on this right. A woman must have control over her reproductive choices and the right to make private decisions with her health care provider. Reproductive freedom for women has led to economic freedom. We will never take that freedom for granted and must stay vigilant to protect it.
We have seen the terrible effects of the opioid crisis in our towns and cities across the state. Congress must do more to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for flooding the markets with addictive opioid drugs. We must treat this as an addiction epidemic that requires a national response from the Centers for Disease Control.
Finally, good mental health care is chronically underfunded. I will work to bring back federal dollars to support mental health programs in Connecticut through Medicaid waivers and grant programs. We must continue to support mental health care and provide the funding needed so that all Americans have access to quality care.
I am the daughter of immigrants. My father came to America from Italy, proudly served this country in the Korean War and started a family in New Britain with my mother, the daughter of Eastern European immigrants. My father died when I was only four years old, but my understanding of what makes this country great is rooted in my family’s immigrant story. People come to America because it is a land of promise. They, like my parents’ families, come for a better life.
Our immigration system needs reform.
We must pass a reasonable, practical and fair pathway to citizenship for law-abiding immigrant families –allowing families to stop living in constant fear of deportation and give them an opportunity to play by the rules, eventually becoming legal residents and citizens.
The solution to our immigration problem isn’t to build Donald Trump’s wall. We need comprehensive immigration reform that works. I will work with Democrats and Republicans to find a solution that honors our longstanding tradition of welcoming immigrants to our country.
During my work at Connecticut Voices for Children, we advocated for an early version of the DREAM Act. This bill passed the Connecticut legislature, but was vetoed by then-Governor Jodi Rell. I am proud that Connecticut passed legislation this session to provide limited financial aid at public colleges in the state to undocumented “DREAMers.” In Congress, I will continue to support the DREAMers and their pathway to citizenship.
Many manufacturers say that America’s education system is not geared to meet the manufacturing jobs challenge. In Connecticut, thousands of skilled jobs remain unfilled. In many cases, students do not have access to a curriculum that includes instruction of the computational and communications skills needed for a fast-paced, high-tech work environment.
I will also bring back federal dollars to partner with our community college system for programs in expert precision manufacturing. This is vital, as Connecticut is a key member of the supply chain for the aerospace and engineering industry.
My father, Angelo Messina, was a veteran of the Korean War. To me, the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces deserve our unending gratitude and support. The failure of the Veterans Administration to provide adequate health care for our veterans is unconscionable. We must continue to provide the funding and oversight to reform this system and take care of these brave Americans.
Many of our veterans return home from their service with serious mental health challenges, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. It is our responsibility as a nation to further educate ourselves about the effects of these conditions and to provide funding and care to the men and women suffering from them. We also must address suicide prevention for our veterans.
Our veterans deserve a VA system that works.
Mary Glassman is a lifelong Connecticut resident who was born and raised in the 5th Congressional District. Her service in the judicial, legislative and executive branches of state government – and as a journalist, attorney, first selectman and state leader— are the mark of a public servant who has dedicated her life to the people of her community.
Mary grew up with her three brothers in New Britain, the daughter of Frances and Angelo Messina, and graduated at the top of her class from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. As a first-generation college student, she earned a degree in journalism from the University of Connecticut. While working full-time as a reporter for The New Britain Herald, she put herself through UConn Law School at night.
After law school, Mary clerked for the judges of the Superior Court in Waterbury and throughout Hartford County and went on to private practice. Then public service called. In her first run for office, she became the first Democrat elected First Selectman in Simsbury in 40 years.
Under Mary’s vibrant leadership, Simsbury was named one of Money Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Live in America three consecutive times and was the first town in Connecticut recognized as a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Mary served as First Selectman from 1991-1999 and then again from 2007-2014, always working to bring long term benefits to the community.
Mary's achievements in Simsbury brought her to the Capitol, where she served as Counsel to the first female Speaker of the House and as Chief of Staff to a former Lieutenant Governor, developing policy relating to education, long-range planning, transportation, and mental health issues. In 2006, Mary won the statewide Democratic primary to become the official Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor.
Never afraid to take on tough challenges, Mary became Legislative Director for Connecticut Voices for Children, and worked to improve the lives of children and families through smart public policy, focusing her work on prenatal care for mothers, universal pre-school programs for low-income families, education and children’s health care.
Currently, Mary works for the Capitol Region Education Council helping cities and towns maximize resources to direct funds back to the classroom and students.
Mary has chaired the Capitol Region Council of Governments. She is a trustee of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame and president of Simsbury Community Television.
She has been married to Andy Glassman, an attorney, for 34 years. The Glassmans have three adult children, Amanda, Nathan and Samuel, and a dog named Lily.