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    Tuesday, March 05, 2024

    Green Party candidate running for 2nd Congressional District seat

    Cassandra Martineau, the Green Party’s candidate for the 2nd Congressional District. (Courtesy of Cassandra Martineau)

    While the Green Party is often characterized as having radical views out of touch with mainstream politics, Cassandra Martineau, the party’s candidate for the 2nd Congressional District in Connecticut, said her campaign is focused on access to affordable health care, the environment and income inequality — “bread and butter issues” that resonate with a majority of those living in the sprawling district.

    The 54-year-old from Willimantic said most politicians don’t devote enough time to addressing these issues despite their broad support, which is due in large part to corporate influence and lawmakers "not working in the best interest of the citizens.”

    A transgender woman who describes herself as a lifelong social justice activist, Martineau has been involved in local politics, but this is her first time running for federal office. She is a member of the Windham Zoning Board of Appeals, an executive officer with the Windham/Willimantic branch of the NAACP and the founder of Willimantic Rainbow Connection, an LGBTQ+ group.

    She said her campaign is an extension of that work.

    "There are a lot of issues not being discussed that are vital to our everyday living," she said. "When I see all the fear mongering and very little discussion of the issues, it gives me grave concern."

    As a Green Party candidate, Martineau said she does not accept contributions from corporations, lobbyists or political action committees.

    “We can’t have legitimate government until we have candidates who are noncorporate,” said Martineau, who was endorsed by the Green Party on July 12 at a regional nominating convention.

    Martineau criticized Joe Courtney, the Democrat who has held the 2nd District seat since getting elected in 2006, for supporting federal budgets that increased military spending benefiting the submarine manufacturing industry and other defense sectors in Connecticut.

    While Martineau said she recognizes the “economic value” of the Naval Submarine Base and submarine builder Electric Boat, she called for “much broader economic opportunity” across the district, citing the large income gap in Connecticut. She is in favor of redirecting funding from the military to support education. She worked for 15 years as a teacher's aide in Connecticut, during which time she said she saw the public education system change from "much more student-oriented learning" to "teaching to test and high-stakes testing" and diminishing cultural and extracurricular activities.

    Martineau also would like to see more federal funding directed toward the environment. Giving one example, she envisions providing grants to municipalities to create their own locally controlled power systems to make them more energy independent and efficient.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for a national single-payer health care system, Martineau said, like the "Medicare for all" proposal put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Courtney is in favor of expanding Medicare to allow those aged 50 to 64 to buy into the program.

    Martineau and Republican Justin Anderson, a lieutenant colonel in the Connecticut National Guard, will face off against Courtney in the general election on Nov. 3.


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