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Bob Stefanowski for governor

Bob Stefanowski grew up in a family like many of us are blessed to have.

His roots are on Dixwell Avenue in New Haven, where his family lived in a three-family home. Having his grandparents on the first floor meant lots of stories about how his family came to America through Ellis Island from Poland. Bob’s great grandmother shucked oysters in Fair Haven, he’s always been proud to have a family history in some of the world’s finest oysters!

Eventually, Bob’s parents saved up enough to move his family to North Haven. Bob’s dad worked his way up from the mailroom at SNET (Southern New England Telephone) and ended up working in management, while his mom worked as a unionized clerk. She took time away when he and his sisters were little, only to go back into the office to help put them through college.

Bob learned the value of a dollar and the importance of hard work from his parents who both worked multiple jobs to save up and provide for their family.

Bob attended Fairfield University and after graduation started a job as an auditor at Price Waterhouse Cooper, working at the Gold Building in Hartford, where he met the love of his life, Amy. Since then, Bob has built a career rooted in accountability, leadership and humility; and a family grounded in faith, honesty and respect.

Bob is both a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Analyst. He received his Master’s in Business Administration from Cornell University, and served as a Wharton Business School Fellow, taught as an adjunct faculty at NYU Stern Business School, London Business School, Cambridge University and as a visiting professor of management practice at Oxford University.

Bob’s experience spans the globe and includes positions as Chief Executive of some of the world’s largest companies, including General Electric, formerly based in Connecticut, and UBS.

Bob’s financial expertise is exactly what Connecticut needs to root out waste, fraud and abuse, and make sure every dollar that is paid by taxpayers is spent with respect for the hard work that went into earning it.

As an executive and global business leader, Bob has taken on tough assignments, reforming business practices to create a culture of transparency, fairness and accountability. Bob is not afraid to make unpopular decisions if it means doing what’s right.

When Bob took over as CEO of a global company, the first thing he did was move out of the corner office sending a message that Bob didn’t feel he was better than anyone else. Then he got rid of the lavish company cars and raffled off his company car, a perk he felt sent the wrong signal to employees and shareholders.

Bob is going to do the same in state government. Bob is going to get Connecticut working for the people again, not political insiders.

Beyond his business experience, Bob has been involved in community organizations throughout Connecticut for decades including his service on the Board of Directors of the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport.

In 2020, Bob and Amy co-founded and launched “Masks for Heroes”, in an effort to help the state fight COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic when PPE was in dire need.

Through a network of volunteers and donors across the state, this grassroots initiative would provide more than 1.6 million masks for hospitals, first responders and nursing homes in Connecticut who were desperate at that time for any protection.

They went on to also co-found Masks for CT and organized over 14 mask distribution drive-up events across CT to ensure anyone still unable to obtain a mask who wanted one had one. At its height, the organization would oversee three events per week with countless volunteers helping to give away up to 60,000 masks per day!

Bob oversaw product sourcing, procurement and receiving as well as event promotion and marketing with event partners. Amy oversaw distribution, event planning, marketing, event and sponsor logistics and volunteer coordination.

In the summer of 2020, Bob and Amy co-founded Masks 4 Schools and hosted 4 Youth mask give-away events with washable youth size cloth masks for children, teachers and bus drivers to make sure families and teachers felt ready to head back into the classroom!

The Masks for CT initiatives earned Bob and Amy an NAACP Award from the Waterbury NAACP Youth Council and a Citation from the City of Torrington in appreciation of their efforts.

Bob is a proud dad to his three daughters who are a daily reminder of what’s most important in life.

MEET AMY Stefanowski

Amy Stefanowski is a driven and dedicated business owner and tireless advocate.

With more than 30 years of experience and a long track record of success, Amy has proven herself to be an outstanding leader and a proud resident of Connecticut.

Amy, like Bob, grew up in North Haven and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, and went on to study business from Bryant University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree.

Amy spent nearly a decade working within the world of corporate finance. She began her career as a senior auditor with Price Waterhouse Coopers, which also happens to be where Amy and Bob first met at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford.

Three years later, she took a position in Corporate Audit at Corning Inc, in Corning, New York. Amy and Bob moved back to Connecticut where she joined the Corporate Accounting department at Pitney Bowes in Stamford and remained there for six years.

In 1998, Amy made the transition into real estate and began her career as a realtor.

In January 2016, founded her own home remodeling and staging company, Sound Homes, where she serves as its CEO.

In 2019, Amy was elected to the Republican State Central Committee of Connecticut and was also elected to serve as the Chairman of the Madison Republican Town Committee, her hometown where she proudly oversaw the revitalization and expansion of a very dedicated town committee.

In 2020, Bob and Amy co-founded and launched “Masks for Heroes”, in an effort to help the state fight COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic when PPE was in dire need.

Through a network of volunteers and donors across the state, this grassroots initiative would provide more than 1.6 million masks for hospitals, first responders and nursing homes in Connecticut who were desperate at that time for any protection.

They went on to also co-found Masks for CT and organized over 14 mask distribution drive-up events across CT to ensure anyone still unable to obtain a mask who wanted one had one. At its height, the organization would oversee three events per week with countless volunteers helping to give away up to 60,000 masks per day!

Bob oversaw product sourcing, procurement and receiving as well as event promotion and marketing with event partners. Amy oversaw distribution, event planning, marketing, event and sponsor logistics and volunteer coordination.

In the summer of 2020, Bob and Amy co-founded Masks 4 Schools and hosted 4 Youth mask giveaway events with washable youth size cloth masks for children, teachers and bus drivers to make sure families and teachers felt ready to head back into the classroom!

The Masks for CT initiatives earned Bob and Amy an NAACP Award from the Waterbury NAACP Youth Council and Citation from the City of Torrington in appreciation of their efforts.

Amy was awarded the Helen Krieble Award for Leadership in Action by the Charter Oak Leadership Program.

Amy is a proud mother to her daughters and now grown foster son, loves her chickens, her old pup Archie, and her suppressed desire is to have a small farm with donkeys, alpaca, bees, and fruit trees. She also is wildly supportive of her husband’s dedication to making Connecticut a place their grandchildren will be raised, and her children can work and afford to live happily in – preferably next door to her and Bob.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Residents, parents, teachers, community leaders and law enforcement are all concerned about rising crime in Connecticut and have begged Governor Lamont and Democrats to do something about it. Sadly, those cries for help have gone unanswered.

I’m running for Governor because residents have a right to feel safe in their homes and communities.

During one of the deadliest years in Connecticut’s cities in recent history last year, the answer from the Governor and Democrat leaders in charge of state government wasn’t to invest in our law enforcement and give them the tools to do their jobs, it was to maintain the status quo. You deserve better.

We need serious reforms to address early intervention and accountability. We need to establish intervening programs for arrests associated with drug and alcohol addictions and help people. Violent and repeat juvenile offenders need to know there are consequences for their actions. The Governor has ignored the pleas of victims, parents, guardians and community leaders. The denial of reality from this Governor has resulted in clear and present danger to the people of Connecticut..

Law enforcement keeps all our communities safe so that they can thrive. We must roll back the broad-brush approach to criminal justice reform that makes it harder for the good officers to do their jobs while ensuring we root out bad cops who give their brothers and sisters in blue a bad name.

Not only is Governor Lamont ignoring residents, parents, victims and community leaders and the violence against young people of color, but he compounds his error by the lack of confidence from his own state police force, with 97% of state troopers expressing zero confidence in his ability to lead them and their refusal to endorse him for re-election

I will advocate for a holistic approach to reform, not limited to the scope of criminal justice, but all-inclusive. We cannot wish these serious problems away nor can we ignore crime that we either see for ourselves or read about every day. We need local law enforcement, working with parents, and community leaders to tackle rising crime and evaluate their own police departments, and if there are problems, then we work together to fix them.

AFFORDABILITY

I don’t need CNBC or a poll to tell me that it’s hard to afford life in Connecticut. As I travel across the state I hear it every day from families, people who have retired on a fixed income and even those fresh out of school. People love Connecticut and don’t want to leave, but many simply can’t afford to live here anymore. As a result, United Van Lines reported that there were only three states that had more people move out in 2021 than Connecticut.

What’s frustrating is that politicians in state government throw up their hands and refuse to do anything about it.

Inflation is hitting Connecticut residents especially hard. Prices are surging – the highest rate in almost 40 years – and the State of Connecticut is raking in millions on the backs of hard-working residents who are begging for a break.

I refuse to accept that the people of this state have to put their own dreams aside because the money they work so hard to earn doesn’t go as far as it should. To put it simply, the state government doesn’t do its part to live within its means and protect every single penny they get from the people of this state and be accountable for every expense. When I’m Governor, it will.

I’m running for Governor because we need elected leaders in our state who work for you, to change the status quo and make Connecticut more affordable.

As a kid growing up in North Haven, my family was probably a lot like yours. We never had a lot, but we always had enough. My Dad worked his way up from the mailroom at The Southern New England Telephone Company and rose to management; – while my mom was a unionized clerk who went back to work to help put us through college.

Today, the sad reality is that the dream my parents worked so hard to fulfill and to provide for my sisters and me, is almost entirely out of reach. Even though some state politicians don’t seem to recognize that, we all live it every day.

As a businessman, I know what it will take to get this state back on track.

Our state is so expensive that $100 is only worth $92.59. This ranks us, the fifth most expensive state in the nation. Electricity prices are the highest in the continental United States and the cost of childcare is the fourth highest in the country. We have the second-highest state and local taxes, – currently at a rate of 12.8%- and every family in Connecticut is feeling it in their wallets.

To be blunt, nearly everything in our state is more expensive than the rest of the country.

So how are we going to make Connecticut more affordable?

We’re going to take a holistic approach. The problems are too big to solve with one tax, or one budget cut.

JUMP-START IMMEDIATE TAX RELIEF: There’s no doubt that Connecticut needs a tax overhaul. The system we have isn’t working for residents and job creators, and they need immediate relief.

  • Did you know that of the 340 taxes the state collects, the bottom 200 only generate 0.22% of the state budget, some even cost more to collect than they generate in revenue? I’m going to eliminate these taxes on day one, directing my Tax Commissioner to stop collecting them.
  • I’m calling on the legislature and the Governor to immediately cut the sales tax, the gross receipts tax on gas and eliminate Ned Lamont’s new tax on restaurants and prepared foods to address soaring inflation; if they fail to act, I will. Inflation is higher now than at any point in the last 40 years. People are paying too much already, and the State of Connecticut shouldn’t be profiting off a national economic disaster while people are struggling.
  • Lower taxes from the bottom-up. We’re going to address property tax reform, and it starts with reducing government spending to provide relief to residents paying more and more taxes each year on their cars and home.

ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING: I will immediately direct state auditors to begin the fiscal root canal Connecticut desperately needs. An audit of all state government and quasi-public agencies will root out waste fraud and abuse, and make sure that every dollar paid in taxes is being maximized. People know Connecticut is expensive, but they need to trust that every penny they send to the state government is spent wisely.

TAKE ON UTILITIES: Connecticut residents and job creators pay the highest utility rates in the continental United States. The average electric bill in Connecticut is $197.70 per month. This is crushing working families, seniors on a fixed income, and small businesses. This is outrageous.

  • We need a new regulatory team and a new approach. The first step will be assembling a team of industry experts, and consumer advocates to identify immediate reforms that will lower rates and create accountability and transparency. We need to especially rethink electricity generation and delivery.
  • I will separate PURA, the state’s utility regulator, from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and have new appointees to both agencies whose mission will be affordability, accountability and safety.
  • My new appointees will not rubber-stamp high profits for utility monopolies that are making your life harder. A utility’s companies profit, and management compensation will be based on performance, not guaranteed by the state government as it currently is. Utility executives should not be making millions of dollars while consumers are waiting days, or even weeks for their power to come back on after a major storm.

ACCOUNTABILITY

We need to elect leaders in state government who value every tax dollar they spend as much as you – the person earning it – does. Too often politicians in state government treat your hard-earned income like it came from a board game and not the product of your blood, sweat and tears.

I’m running for Governor because we need state government working for you, not well-connected, political insiders.

One party Democrat rule of the state has created a culture of complacency and leniency for politicians and political insiders to run amok. Making excuses for insider dealing, rather than calling it out will only lead to a continuation of the status quo. Changing the culture of any organization starts at the top. It begins with accountability and transparency. Here’s my plan:

All state accounts, starting with the billions of dollars spent by state and local governments in COVID-19 relief funds, and including quasi-public agencies need a thorough review. We must target waste, fraud and abuse and cut it out. Our state needs a fiscal root canal. State government needs to maximize every single tax dollar – you work hard to pay your bills and the bills for the state of Connecticut – the State should do whatever it can to prove they’re doing that too

Strengthen Ethics Laws. We must prohibit conflicts of interest and ensure that politicians and their family members can never profit from the positions they hold. I will strengthen the state ethics laws and restore funding and staff to the state contracting review board that was gutted by Governor Lamont.

Promote Tax Transparency. How many times have politicians in the state capital told you they were going to spend your money one way and then turned around and done something totally different? You – the taxpayer – have a right to know how every dollar is being spent and the justification for why. In today’s internet age, that information should be a click away.

Eliminate Political Perks. As a business leader, one of the things I prided myself on was cutting perks for executives. Expensive cars, corner offices, and other fringe benefits sent the wrong message to employees and shareholders that top executives could play by a different set of rules. I’m going to do the same in state government. Whether it’s the $2,100 taxpayer-funded leather chair that Governor Lamont settles into each morning, the $80,000 in COVID relief money he used to produce videos of political speeches or privileged parking spots for politicians, we are going to send a message to everyone that the reward of holding public office lies in the service, not the perks.

STRONGER CONNECTICUT CITIES

People are looking for leadership, not excuses. If rising crime, the highest unemployment in the nation, massive education achievement gaps and lack of affordability are acceptable public policy outcomes, the political system and those who control it have failed.

I’m running for Governor because the status quo is crushing Connecticut’s largest cities and I want to provide a safer environment, a better quality of education, and a more affordable cost of living to return our cities and the rest of the state to prosperity.

Connecticut’s major cities experienced one of the most violent and deadly years in recent history last year while the people elected to serve these communities largely made excuses and looked the other way. Children afraid to go to school, teenagers committing heinous crimes, parents and community leaders left without the tools to make it stop.

We need to make our schools centers of excellence, that serve the whole community and empower students and their parents to achieve their highest potential. If local schools are failing local students, we need to give parents the choice to find a school that works for them.

Our cities need to be affordable for job creators and residents alike. High unemployment in our largest cities is exacerbated by the high cost of living. We must make our cities compete for residents and employers to grow healthy, sustainable cities that thrive.

We need to eliminate the economic “cliffs” that limit people from achieving their potential. We need everyone to know their worth is whatever their dreams are, and we will help them to fulfill those dreams. We need to let people in our urban centers have “self-determination” defined by their aspirations and not be held back by arbitrary rules.

If we continue with the same policies that have failed our cities and their residents, the outcomes will not change. Connecticut deserves better.

ENVIRONMENT

Connecticut’s natural beauty and diverse geography is one of our state’s unique assets. From miles of coastline to numerous lakes, endless hiking trails, and more — Connecticut’s landscape offers a little bit of everything. Public lands, beaches, Long Island Sound and parks are a great source of pride for our residents, and I plan to keep it that way.

I’m running for Governor because when we say we’re going to protect the environment, our word should mean something.

The General Assembly created a Passport to Parks program that would allow for a fee collected by DMV to go directly supporting the state’s 140 state parks and forests. Providing predictable funding, maintenance and improvements so Connecticut residents and visitors can enjoy the beauty our state has to offer. To nobody’s surprise, the General Assembly, with the support of the Governor, raided that fund, taking the money people thought was going to support parks and spending it to plug budget holes. Not only does this eat away at the trust our residents place in us, but it strips funding from our natural resources.

In prior years, millions of dollars were from energy efficiency programs to fill gaps in the budget due to inefficient budgeting. Our environment must be protected, and lawmakers should not be using dollars reserved for environmental purposes to make up for budget shortfalls.

Our state parks are a great tourism asset and give visitors a reason to visit Connecticut. From hiking to swimming, fishing, to cross-country skiing, and everything in between, these parks offer the opportunity to leverage our assets and provide opportunities for small businesses to thrive. Long Island Sound creates billions of dollars in Connecticut and we need to do a better job protecting this valuable resource. We can balance environmental sustainability and economic growth by working together with private partners and making sure that environmental regulations exist that make sense and not just a few extra cents.

TRANSPORTATION

I’m running for Governor because Connecticut needs a reliable, modern and affordable transportation system.

Connecticut residents already pay some of the most expensive transportation costs in the country and the Governor and Democrat leaders think you ought to pay more. Their proposals through tolls, taxes and fees add more to your already increasing transportation costs.

Voters took the Governor at his word during the last campaign when he said he wouldn’t toll cars. But within weeks of taking over as Governor, he went back on that promise and proposed adding nearly 82 toll gantries and $1 billion in new costs to commuters to pay for transportation and infrastructure.

Today, Connecticut residents are paying among the highest gas prices in the country. Public transportation isn’t working for those who need it most. And the only answer from the one-Party in charge is to bankrupt the special transportation fund, take needed funds away from infrastructure while asking residents to pay more.

Luckily thanks to grassroots supporters and strong-willed Republican lawmakers, the Governor didn’t get his tolls. But he hasn’t given up on adding more costs to residents and businesses and succeeded in passing a new tax on trucks that experts say will add an average cost of $500 to family food budgets that are already out of control.

I’m going to make sure every penny intended for the Special Transportation Fund is used to improve our transportation and infrastructure. We need to hold true to the promise to taxpayers that we’re going to spend transportation funds on infrastructure, not salary costs and fringe benefits that were moved into the STF to hide those costs from the public. We must prioritize projects based on imminent needs and take a holistic approach to modernize infrastructure in a new commuter environment.

PARENTS, TEACHERS & STUDENTS

I believe quality education is one of the greatest opportunities that we can provide any child and their family. All Connecticut kids are constitutionally entitled to an equal opportunity to quality education. And parents should absolutely have a say in their children’s education.

I’m running for Governor because we need to get Connecticut schools working for parents, teachers and students.

My parents worked incredibly hard to make sure my sisters and I were able to thrive in our local schools and have the opportunity to attend college. And the rest was up to us. I have had the opportunity to teach and learn in some of the greatest academic institutions in the world like Cornell, Oxford and Cambridge, but none of that matters if we don’t get the basics right for all of Connecticut students.

One of the greatest assets in Connecticut has been our local schools. But while some of our schools and students thrive, others are left behind. In order to ensure our children’s future, Connecticut’s school districts should remain local and we should give parents more choice as to where and how their children are educated. Connecticut children should have every opportunity to attend a school that can provide them equal opportunities to their peers.

We need to focus on workforce development – employers are asking for it. While for some kids a four-year college degree is the right path, for others it’s not. We need to add resources to local trade schools and give kids the skill they need to succeed. That’s the only way to make sure that Connecticut and our residents compete for the jobs of the future in a healthy, local economy. Our schools need reform to teach certain basics to create a job training pipeline.

JOB CREATORS & JOB GROWTH

I’m running for Governor to get Connecticut working for you, to grow jobs, and a healthy economy.

Connecticut is home to some of the brightest minds, hardest workers and successful entrepreneurs in the world. We need to roll back Governor Lamont’s job-crushing agenda that hurt small businesses the most. Connecticut’s economy must be built by inspiring people to start small businesses and create jobs in communities across Connecticut.

We can only grow a strong, healthy economy if we do it from the bottom-up, empowering small business owners and job creators to invest and grow; not by empowering politicians and insiders to make decisions from the top-down that only serve their purposes.

Right now, small businesses from restaurants to manufacturing can’t find enough workers, while unemployment numbers still lag the rest of the country. We need to focus on workforce development, not only in our schools but across our community as a whole. Connecticut lost around 120,000 jobs in the Great Recession. It has been 10 years and we have only recovered around 90,000 of those jobs.

Private-sector employment in Connecticut was at 1.38 million in August. New data shows that we are bringing our current employment rate slightly above where it was in January of 2011. Connecticut businesses, especially small businesses are struggling.

Our state consistently ranks as one of the 5 most expensive for doing businesses. The labor market has been hard hit not only by the pandemic but by onerous, one-size-fits-all policies.

Imagine the power that small businesses in Connecticut could have, growing our economy from the ground up, if we invested COVID relief funds in our state’s small businesses, who have taken the hardest hit during the pandemic.

If the Governor funded the unemployment insurance fund it would relieve a $1 billion tax burden on small businesses and immediately grow our economy.

The Governor says Connecticut has our “mojo back”, he is right if you accept mediocrity as success.

But I believe we are better than that. I believe Connecticut can come back to lead this nation with one of the top economies in the country.

Government policies should not hand-pick winners and losers top-down by politicians in state government, but from the bottom up with entrepreneurs and small businesses. From Igor Sikorsky to Charles Goodyear this has been the heritage of Connecticut.

VETERANS

We have over 200,000 Veterans in Connecticut. Each and everyone deserve a government that values their sacrifice and works to serve them and their families in every aspect of their lives.

I’m running for Governor to make sure that the men and women who have served our country, along with their families, are given the best treatment here at home.

  • Healthcare

I will work with federal partners to expand access to private healthcare through programs such as the VA Choice Program. This will allow Veterans to seek healthcare outside of the VA hospital system in underserved areas. In rural areas, this program saves hours of time spent traveling for basic medical services. Today’s Veterans continue to struggle with PTSD and other mental health issues which have only become worse with the COVID pandemic. We owe it to these heroes to create access to healthcare that is as stress-free and hassle-free as possible.

  • Employment

Veterans have developed skills that are needed in both the private sector and the government. Partnering with businesses and state agencies, my administration will make sure that Connecticut’s brightest military leaders become our smartest CEOs, job creators, and innovators. My administration will also work with the private sector to encourage the hiring of Veterans and their spouses – who are often discriminated against in the job market due to multiple moves and gaps in employment.

  • Education

I am committed to providing affordable higher education for members of our armed forces. With degrees from Connecticut educational institutions, our Veterans will continue to succeed.

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