Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s main campus is located at 282 Washington Street in Hartford, Connecticut.

Meet the Candidates Who Are Running in the 2020 Election

We asked the candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives to answer a few questions about their perspectives on children’s health and how they would address key issues if they were to be elected.

Candidates were asked to provide an overview about themselves in 75 words or less, and to answer five questions in 100 words or less. All responses have been unedited.

Jump to a candidate to view their answers:

John Larson (D)

Candidate – 1st Congressional District 

john larson headshotBiography:

East Hartford born and raised. Product of public housing, public schools, and public service. Former high school teacher, athletic coach, small business owner, Board of Education, Town Council, State Senate, and am now proud to represent the 1st Congressional District. Leslie and I have three beautiful children.

Questionnaire Responses:

The average time between the onset of behavioral health illness symptoms and the start of treatment is 7 years for Connecticut’s kids. There are many reasons for this including stigma, insufficient community resources, and an inadequate supply of mental health practitioners. How would you improve child and adolescent access to mental health prevention and treatment services?

I have fought for and will continue to fight for programs like CHIP and Medicaid, and to develop a stronger pediatric workforce in Connecticut. Congress must work with local providers to educate parents, teachers, and communities on recognizing children in need before they are in crisis. That is why I previously introduced the City Youth Violence Recovery Act to help vulnerable youth who have been impacted by violence get additional counseling and support.

Across the country, most academic medical centers receive Graduate Medical Education payments from Medicare to support their programs that train tomorrow’s physicians. Since independent children’s hospitals do not receive any funding from Medicare, Congress created the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program. CHGME supports the nation’s 58 children’s hospitals, which together train approximately half of the nation’s pediatricians. In Connecticut, one out of every six pediatricians were trained at Connecticut Children’s. What changes, if any, should Congress make to the CHGME program?

I am a strong supporter of the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Center Education program that is critical to training the next generation of pediatric physicians and ensuring a strong pediatric physician workforce at places like Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. I was proud to cosponsor the CHGME Support Reauthorization Act that was signed into law in 2018 and reauthorized this critical program through 2023. I have fought previous attempts to cut CHGME and will continue to push for enhanced funding, especially for pediatric subspecialties.

What changes, if any, should Congress make to the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act has been enormously successful in expanding access to affordable health care for families in Connecticut and across the country. In particular, the ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility for children and increased funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We must protect and improve the ACA. That includes increasing premium subsidies, allowing those younger than 65 to buy into Medicare, and lowering prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to directly negotiate for pharmaceuticals. Additionally, I will continue to fight back against attempts to repeal and undermine the ACA, including its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Going forward, how should Congress take action to help kids and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 (economically, educationally, etc.)?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented health and economic crisis that has fallen especially hard on low income families and children. Congress has enacted relief measures to help families weather the economic downturn such as direct cash payments to most Americans and expanded unemployment benefits. This has been a lifeline to so many, but more must be done. I voted for the HEROES Act, currently stalled in the Senate, which would extend these measures along with providing much needed funding for education, childcare, and direct measures to help children such as nutrition assistance and an enhanced child tax credit.

How can Congress help ensure that kids across Connecticut have equal opportunities to grow and learn, regardless of where they live?

It is a clear and unfortunate truth that students in our state and country have very different experiences in education depending on where they live. We need to invest substantially in order to address the impacts of decades of underfunding and do much more to stop the racial and economic segregation of student populations. I am a strong supporter of legislation like the Rebuild America’s Schools Act and my own America Wins Act. These bills would invest billions of dollars in our schools, concentrating on the areas where the need is most pronounced.

Mary Fay (R)

Candidate – 1st Congressional District

Biography:

Did not provide a biography.

Questionnaire Responses:

Did not respond to the candidate questionnaire. Learn more at maryfay4congress.com

Joe Courtney (D)

Candidate – 2nd Congressional District

Biography:

Joe Courtney represents Connecticut’s 2nd District. Courtney is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces and is the first known member from Connecticut to lead a naval oversight panel in the House of Representatives since 1873. As a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, he serves on the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions subcommittee, as well as the Higher Education and Workforce Training subcommittee.

Questionnaire Responses: 

The average time between the onset of behavioral health illness symptoms and the start of treatment is 7 years for Connecticut’s kids. There are many reasons for this including stigma, insufficient community resources, and an inadequate supply of mental health practitioners. How would you improve child and adolescent access to mental health prevention and treatment services?

Nationwide, there are more than 15 million children and adolescents in need of mental health treatment, but fewer than 10,000 Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. In Congress, I have introduced legislation to increase the number of pediatric psychiatrists and other pediatric subspecialists through the National Health Service Corp program. In the short term, I have also supported efforts to improve access to behavioral health through School Based Health Centers, and fought to expand the use of telehealth for HUSKY patients in CT. Telehealth can help overcome barriers to behavioral health care such as stigma and transportation access.

Across the country, most academic medical centers receive Graduate Medical Education payments from Medicare to support their programs that train tomorrow’s physicians. Since independent children’s hospitals do not receive any funding from Medicare, Congress created the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program. CHGME supports the nation’s 58 children’s hospitals, which together train approximately half of the nation’s pediatricians. In Connecticut, one out of every six pediatricians were trained at Connecticut Children’s. What changes, if any, should Congress make to the CHGME program?

Children’s Hospitals, through the CHGME train an outsized portion of our nation’s pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. The most important way to support this important work is to fully fund the CHGME program each year to ensure that all medical residents seeking an education in pediatrics can receive the expert training they need to care for our nation’s children. While President Trump has proposed eliminating the CHGME program, I routinely support full funding for CHGME through the annual appropriations process.

What changes, if any, should Congress make to the Affordable Care Act?

Congress should start by significantly expanding upon the ACA to ensure more families are eligible for financial assistance to pay for premiums and cost sharing and make that financial assistance more generous. We should finally fix the “family glitch” that prevents some children from accessing affordable coverage, and we should fund state reinsurance programs to help bring down the cost of coverage for everyone. I voted in support of these changes when the House passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425) in June of this year.

Going forward, how should Congress take action to help kids and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 (economically, educationally, etc.)?

Congress should pass the Heroes Act, to ensure that school districts have the resources to safely educate students either in-person or virtually, including providing necessary technology and hiring additional staff to make up for lost learning. The Heroes Act also includes an increase in the federal funding states receive for Medicaid, and supports families by providing emergency childcare funding, increasing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and providing more funding for the School Nutrition Program. The bill also helps replace families’ lost income through an extension of the expanded Unemployment Insurance program.

How can Congress help ensure that kids across Connecticut have equal opportunities to grow and learn, regardless of where they live?

Our nation’s federal program to supplement local education funding, close the achievement gap and ensure quality education for all students regardless of their zip code falls under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In 2015, the Committee on which I serve, the Education and Labor Committee, passed landmark legislation to update this program called the Every Student Succeeds Act. Unfortunately, since then, the Trump Administration has sought to undermine the program’s goals. Further, the program is routinely underfunded. To ensure equal learning opportunities for all our children, Congress should fully fund the Title I grant program.

Justin Anderson (R)

Candidate – 2nd Congressional District 

Biography:

Justin Anderson’s professional experience includes serving with the Connecticut Army National Guard across multiple decades. He has ranked as a Lieutenant Colonel and served as an instructor and commander at officer candidate school, as the Connecticut State Planner and Leader of the Homeland Response Force, and he also worked for twenty years as a correctional officer in a maximum-security prison. During his time with the National Guard, he earned his Combat Infantry Badge.

Questionnaire Responses:

Did not respond to candidate questionnaire. Learn more at www.justinandersonforcongress.com

Rosa DeLauro (D)

Candidate – 3rd Congressional District

Biography:

Rosa DeLauro is serving her 15th term as a Congresswoman for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District. Rosa serves as Chair of the Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education. Rosa was an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and is the leader on universal healthcare, the child tax credit, food stamps, gun safety, paid sick days, infrastructure, public education, paid leave, climate action, and equal pay for women.

Questionnaire Responses:

The average time between the onset of behavioral health illness symptoms and the start of treatment is 7 years for Connecticut’s kids. There are many reasons for this including stigma, insufficient community resources, and an inadequate supply of mental health practitioners. How would you improve child and adolescent access to mental health prevention and treatment services?

An immediate first step would be to increase reimbursement rates for providers, whether it’s HUSKY or private health insurance, and reduce bureaucratic hurdles like prior authorization. As Chair of the Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, I have ensured robust funding for the Children’s Mental Health, the Pediatric Mental Health Access, and Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health programs at SAMHSA, School-based Health centers through HRSA. Long-term I wrote the Medicare for America Act, which will increase reimbursement rates for the average rates of primary, mental, and behavioral health care by at least thirty percent at the outset.

Across the country, most academic medical centers receive Graduate Medical Education payments from Medicare to support their programs that train tomorrow’s physicians. Since independent children’s hospitals do not receive any funding from Medicare, Congress created the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program. CHGME supports the nation’s 58 children’s hospitals, which together train approximately half of the nation’s pediatricians. In Connecticut, one out of every six pediatricians were trained at Connecticut Children’s. What changes, if any, should Congress make to the CHGME program?

I proudly supported the Dr Benjy Frances Brooks Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act, which reauthorized the CHGME program through 2023 at $325 million a year. In the FY2021 bill that I had the privilege of writing, I included $340 million ($15 million above the authorized level) in funding for this critical program that trains half of our pediatricians. Further, during the pandemic, I have fought to ensure the independent children’s hospitals receive their fair share from the Provider Relief Fund, which for Connecticut Children’s was $8.7 million. I will keep fighting for relief for our children’s hospitals.

What changes, if any, should Congress make to the Affordable Care Act?

We should eliminate the cap on eligibility for premium tax credits, which are currently set at 400 percent of the federal poverty line, and increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets. We should eliminate the family glitch, ensure outreach and navigator programs that help people sign up for plans that work for them and their families are affordable and robustly funded. We also must reverse the Trump administration’s rule allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions by offering plans that provide limited benefits and little financial protection from health care costs.

Going forward, how should Congress take action to help kids and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 (economically, educationally, etc.)?

The National Academies of Sciences found that of all policies they recommended to cut child poverty, a Child Tax Credit would have the greatest impact on reducing child poverty This poverty reduction is associated with better health, more learning, and higher lifetime earnings. I first introduced a fully refundable Child Tax Credit in the House Budget committee in 2003. The American Family Act would cut the child poverty rate by two-fifths (and the black child poverty rate by half) by fixing the current system, whereby tax credits are based on earnings—so those who earn less get less.

How can Congress help ensure that kids across Connecticut have equal opportunities to grow and learn, regardless of where they live?

We must do all we can to strengthen public education by enhancing social and emotional learning, community schools and afterschool programs. I believe that now is the time we must be doing more than ever before to defend our public schools, teachers, staff, and students. We must be defending them from COVID-19, from the coronavirus pandemic, and from the Trump-DeVos Department of Education. The future of our young people and their educators is not up for grabs, not up for debate, and not up for auction. But, it is up to us. And, I take that responsibility as seriously as any in my role as your elected official.

Margaret Streiker (R)

Candidate – 3rd Congressional District 

Biography:

As a mother to four, three of whom have anaphylactic food allergies, I have a deep appreciation for the pediatric profession and the resources needed to ensure the well-being of American children. Having worked with FARE on national access to epi-pens in schools, and the Yale-New Haven System to increase telemedicine, I appreciate the needs of our communities to ensure 21st century medicine is brought to all of our communities.

Candidate Questionnaire:

The average time between the onset of behavioral health illness symptoms and the start of treatment is 7 years for Connecticut’s kids. There are many reasons for this including stigma, insufficient community resources, and an inadequate supply of mental health practitioners. How would you improve child and adolescent access to mental health prevention and treatment services?

As a federal representative, I would be a strong advocate to allocate federal funding aimed at improving both the physical and mental health of our children and youth. We must work with schools, guidance counselors, and the medical community to implement programs that encourage children to be open with their feelings in order to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues and provide the necessary care and attention our children deserve.

Across the country, most academic medical centers receive Graduate Medical Education payments from Medicare to support their programs that train tomorrow’s physicians. Since independent children’s hospitals do not receive any funding from Medicare, Congress created the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program. CHGME supports the nation’s 58 children’s hospitals, which together train approximately half of the nation’s pediatricians. In Connecticut, one out of every six pediatricians were trained at Connecticut Children’s. What changes, if any, should Congress make to the CHGME program?

The specific issue involving CHGME is new to me, and as Representative I would welcome the input of all key stakeholders to this nuanced issue before making an informed decision to ensure all of Connecticut’s children are adequately and professionally treated.

What changes, if any, should Congress make to the Affordable Care Act?

Regardless of whether it is the ACA or a different system in the future, we must ensure that there is affordable and adequate care for all, especially our expecting mothers and children. As Congresswoman, I would be keen to encourage funding in vitally important preventative care, particularly at the initial stages of life, as the physical and emotional well-being of our youth set the foundation for America’s future.

Going forward, how should Congress take action to help kids and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 (economically, educationally, etc.)?

An unfortunate reality is that we all have been impacted by the effects of COVID-19 and its surrounding adverse impact on our economy and our systems. Our children and youth may well feel the mental and emotion effects of COVID-19 for years to come more impactfully than any other segment of our population. As our Federal Representative in Congress, I would strongly advocate for resources to be allocated which address the mental and emotional effects upon children, including aiding in the safe reopening of sports and community facilities and programs.

How can Congress help ensure that kids across Connecticut have equal opportunities to grow and learn, regardless of where they live?

COVID-19 has exacerbated the disparities faced by economically disadvantaged and regionally remote children, who are left with fewer alternate options and less access to important resources in the pandemic. Congress can help ensure that children across Connecticut have equal opportunities to grow and learn by ensuring that our schools and resources are opened safely and swiftly, that we continue to work diligently towards a vaccine and, once available, that the vaccine is rolled out equitably such that all are able to partake, with priority given to at-risk populations.

Jim Himes (D)

Candidate – 4th Congressional District

Biography:

Jim Himes provides thoughtful, independent representation to Connecticut’s 4th District. He continues to fight for economic opportunity, focusing on transportation, infrastructure and improving our schools. Himes works to ensure healthcare remains affordable and accessible, protect civil rights and voting rights, combat gun violence, address climate change and keep our country safe. He serves on the House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee and resides in Greenwich, CT with his wife and their two daughters.

Questionnaire Responses:

The average time between the onset of behavioral health illness symptoms and the start of treatment is 7 years for Connecticut’s kids. There are many reasons for this including stigma, insufficient community resources, and an inadequate supply of mental health practitioners. How would you improve child and adolescent access to mental health prevention and treatment services?

Mental health and treatment services are crucial to development adolescents. At the federal level we need to fund pediatric research through the National Institutes of Health and ask the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a strategic plan to address, diagnose and treat behavior health illness. Schools and community centers also need funding for mental health practitioners. There should be a greater focus from the local level to the federal level on mental health and reducing stigma. It starts with having those tough and open conversation and moving forward with plans to address and treat symptoms.

Across the country, most academic medical centers receive Graduate Medical Education payments from Medicare to support their programs that train tomorrow’s physicians. Since independent children’s hospitals do not receive any funding from Medicare, Congress created the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program. CHGME supports the nation’s 58 children’s hospitals, which together train approximately half of the nation’s pediatricians. In Connecticut, one out of every six pediatricians were trained at Connecticut Children’s. What changes, if any, should Congress make to the CHGME program?

The White House needs to request more funding for CHGME, that has not happened since 2018. House and Senate appropriations also need to approve more funding for CHGME. This program should have a mandatory funding base from the White House budget every year. To sustain the crucial pediatric training programs at children’s hospitals across the country, Congress needs to full¬y fund the program at higher levels to ensure a strong future for all children’s health.

What changes, if any, should Congress make to the Affordable Care Act?

Millions of people across the country now have access to health care thanks to the ACA. Personal bankruptcies in the U.S. have been cut in half since the Affordable Care Act since it became law. Thousands of Connecticut residents now have health care coverage that includes coverage for pre-existing conditions. The ACA is not perfect and should be improved, not repealed. Right now, we need to lower prescription drug prices, look into a single-payer health care system, hold insurance companies accountable, lower insurance rates, stabilize the insurance marketplace, expand and improve Medicaid and extend enrollment periods.

Going forward, how should Congress take action to help kids and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 (economically, educationally, etc.)?

Congress needs to come together to pass another bill, like the HEROES Act, to provide assistance to families, kids, first responders and workers. The HEROES Act would provide $7 billion for childcare programs and assistance. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act required employers to provide paid sick and family leave. We also need to expand unemployment benefits and food assistance programs. A second round of direct cash assistance pay is needed for families and businesses struggling through this crisis. We need to send money to those most in need who have lost their jobs, closed their businesses and struggled with childcare and affording basic necessities.

How can Congress help ensure that kids across Connecticut have equal opportunities to grow and learn, regardless of where they live?

Too often, a child’s zip code will determine the quality of their public schools, the caliber of their extracurriculars and their chance at earning a degree. Congress has both an opportunity and responsibility to right this wrong by providing funding to districts most in need and investing in students starting day one. That’s why I introduced the Total Learning Act and Supporting Early Learning Act to expand access to and improve the quality of early education programs. Students are the best investment we can make, and I’ll continue fighting to ensure every child has an opportunity to succeed.

Jonathan Riddle (R)

Candidate – 4th Congressional District

Biography:

Did not provide a biography.

Questionnaire Responses:

Did not respond to candidate questionnaire.

Jahana Hayes (D)

Candidate – 5th Congressional District

Biography: 

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes represents the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut. Elected in November 2018, she is the first African-American Congresswoman from Connecticut, and this is her first public office. A high school teacher, Hayes first garnered widespread notoriety when she was named National Teacher of the Year in 2016 by President Barack Obama. Congresswoman Hayes now serves on the Education and Labor and Agriculture Committees in the House of Representatives.

Questionnaire Responses:

The average time between the onset of behavioral health illness symptoms and the start of treatment is 7 years for Connecticut’s kids. There are many reasons for this including stigma, insufficient community resources, and an inadequate supply of mental health practitioners. How would you improve child and adolescent access to mental health prevention and treatment services?

I have advocated to provide mental health and behavioral health supports for children by increasing trauma-informed services in schools, reducing the mental health crisis and the opioid epidemic, and increasing suicide prevention efforts. I am a strong supporter each year of the Mental Health Block Grant, and am a member of the Black Youth Suicide Task Force. Lastly, I introduced H.R.4835 which would better prepare schools to address and treat students facing trauma – including trauma from parental addiction. This bill was included as part of H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which passed the House.

Across the country, most academic medical centers receive Graduate Medical Education payments from Medicare to support their programs that train tomorrow’s physicians. Since independent children’s hospitals do not receive any funding from Medicare, Congress created the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program. CHGME supports the nation’s 58 children’s hospitals, which together train approximately half of the nation’s pediatricians. In Connecticut, one out of every six pediatricians were trained at Connecticut Children’s. What changes, if any, should Congress make to the CHGME program?

The CHGME program is absolutely essential to training the nation’s pediatric workforce. The program was last authorized in 2018 and expires in 2023, and required reauthorization five times since its inception. I would support longer term or permanent authorization of the program, and increased funding in order to address medical vacancies in underserved parts of the nation.

What changes, if any, should Congress make to the Affordable Care Act?

Because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million people have gained health insurance. However, even before COVID-19, 187,000 individuals in Connecticut remain uninsured, and many more struggle to pay premiums, copays, and for their prescription drugs. Specifically, I voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, which would increase the 2010 health law’s subsidies that help people afford their premiums and add more federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

Going forward, how should Congress take action to help kids and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 (economically, educationally, etc.)?

The Senate and the President should pass the HEROES Act, the only piece of legislation that provides the necessary resources to states and municipalities, hospitals, nutrition programs, small businesses, and workers. Specifically, it is crucial that Congress provide essential workers with hazard pay, assist renters and homeowners, extend unemployment assistance, and coordinate a national PPE, testing, and contact tracing strategy.

How can Congress help ensure that kids across Connecticut have equal opportunities to grow and learn, regardless of where they live?

Congress must ensure all students have equitable access to quality education and opportunity. The Senate and President must pass H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, to close digital divides exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and repair dilapidated school buildings. Additionally, a diverse teacher workforce is critical to ensuring the success of students of color. I introduced the Teacher Diversity and Retention Act to support diversification of the profession. Lastly, students can not learn if they are hungry or have untreated trauma. I have fought attacks on the National School Lunch Program, and introduced legislation to provide trauma-informed services to students.

David X. Sullivan (R)

Candidate – 5th Congressional District

Biography:

Did not provide a biography.

Questionnaire Responses:

Did not respond to candidate questionnaire. Learn more at www.davidxsullivan.com.

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