In her first bid for state office, Democrat Trevor Crow is taking on incumbent Republican Ryan Fazio for the District 36 seat in the State Senate.
Crow said she will work to garner support from unaffiliated voters to win the historically Republican seat in the district, which includes all of Greenwich and northern portions of Stamford and New Canaan.
The 60-year-old Greenwich resident is a Wellesley College graduate with an MBA from Harvard who worked for a securities firm before leaving Wall Street to become a licensed marriage and family therapist.
In 2021 Crow ran for the office of Greenwich tax collector but lost to the Republican incumbent in a Republican sweep of town races.
Crow said she learned from her town race the importance of ensuring voters that they are heard, and she is taking on her state race with that approach.
On the broader issues of the Senate campaign, Crow said, she is letting voters know about her strong stances on protecting abortion rights, preserving Connecticut’s educated workforce to attract employers, maintaining local control of zoning regulation, controlling spending and tax increases in the Legislature, and expanding mental-health programs in schools.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
CTEx: What are the main points of your platform?
CROW: The very first thing is protecting women’s reproductive health, and our right to abortion being taken away. It is barbaric and cruel, and makes women second-class citizens. It’s important that Connecticut passed the safe-harbor law protecting women who come from out of state and the providers of abortion services. Connecticut has to continue to do what it can to preserve these rights.
Second, our state is No. 3 in the country in most educated workforce, which has allowed us to attract aerospace, fintech and biotech jobs. I want to see that continue. Post-graduate technical school and community college should be free. We can train our young people in technical skills, and companies can help by providing kids with apprenticeships. A four-year college degree is not necessary to succeed, and starting life with great amounts of debt is horrible and bad for the economy.
My third area of focus is mental health. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist in practice for 16 years. Many of my clients are reeling – marriages suffered, individuals suffered, children suffered – because people are so affected by COVID. I’d like to see us strengthen mental health programs in schools, and there is more we can be doing with gun safety. I think we should make mental health practitioners red-flag reporters.
CTEx: Where do you see yourself in today’s Democratic Party?
CROW: I am a moderate Democrat interested in a healthy state for our economy. The old-fashioned trope of Democrats being tax-and-spend is on its ear right now. For example, Gov. Lamont’s administration put $5.8 billion into the pension fund, which frees up interest payments on that. It’s money that can be used for mental health in schools. Being Democrats who support mental health and paid family leave doesn’t mean being tax-and-spend. We can do both.
CTEx: Describe your background, what are your qualifications?
CROW: I grew up in Boston. When I was 7 I saw the Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming, and I wanted to skate, too. I spent seven years training. I’m a competitor. I understand falling down and getting back up. I lived in Fairfield for 20 years; I brought my children up there. I was a deacon at the congregational church and did community work, and for a time I had a radio show on WSTC called “Keeping Connected with Trevor Crow.” It was therapists and psychologists who were thinking ahead in my industry. After I got divorced, I decided I needed a fresh start and moved to Greenwich. That was four and a half years ago. Since COVID, ⅔ of my practice is done over Zoom. I have two grown children and two grown step-children.
CTEx: What brought you to politics?
CROW: I worked on a political campaign in Fairfield; it was fun and exciting. Then Trump got elected and I thought, “Now I have to get out in front.” I moved to Greenwich and I ran for tax collector and got to know people in the town Democratic Party. When they asked me to run for state Senate, I was blown away and thrilled. I am honored to run, especially now, when there are such increases in the number of women registering to vote.
CTEx: What sets you apart from your opponent?
CROW: I bring many life experiences – I’ve owned homes, had children, a few careers. I have a financial background from Wall Street and a background as a therapist. I’m good at finding common ground. When a couple comes into my office really escalated, I help them find a place where they can listen to each other. Maybe what we need in Hartford is a trained therapist, someone who says, “We can work together, we’re better than we think we are, let’s make progress.”
CTEx: What should the state’s role be in providing affordability for Connecticut residents? Is there a state level response on inflation for CT residents?
CROW: Governor Lamont and the Legislature did a nice job providing $640 million in tax cuts, free bus rides, paid family leave, no taxes on pensions and annuities for seniors, better paid child-care providers – things that are positive for Connecticut residents. We have to do better at building housing for our workforce because companies coming to Connecticut can’t house their people. But it has to be well thought out, not forced on communities from Hartford. Each town needs to figure out the placement and size of housing projects that works for them.
CTEx: What do you see as the state’s role in providing housing?
CROW: In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, school districts are asking parents to rent rooms to teachers because teachers can’t afford to live there. We don’t want to be in that situation. The towns in Connecticut need to figure out how to do it. I don’t think it’s a partisan issue. It’s an everybody issue – everybody wants young people to come back and stay, everybody wants retirees to be able to stay. No one wants to see single moms getting priced out of the rental market. Everyone is feeling this. We have to work with each other to find ways to increase the supply of housing.
CTEx: Are you satisfied with the state’s balancing of energy goals with the costs of electricity and gasoline – why or why not, what would you do differently?
CROW: Some exciting things are happening with technology. New London is going to be a place on the East Coast to assemble wind turbines, and we will have a wind farm off on the water. Eversource and United Illuminating are using metering to manage their grids. Technology is providing information they need to improve the grid and use it more efficiently. We are getting federal money to install electric vehicle charging stations, and federal money is coming to study how climate change is affecting our coastal areas and what we will have to do to prepare.
CTEx: Is the police accountability legislation effective – are there modifications that need to be made?
CROW: I had a really good conversation with the police chief in Greenwich. He said he likes body cams and dash cams because everybody behaves better. He likes the help with handling mental health calls. But there’s a problem in Greenwich and in other towns that have phased out pensions for police officers. The officers don’t stay. They get trained in the town and then they go to a neighboring town that has pensions. So phasing out pensions is a short-term fix but we won’t be able to keep the recruits we train. I have a great deal of respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line. If a police officer behaves badly, they should pay the consequences, but we should never defund police. We need pensions.
CTEx: Education: what are your key goals and priorities for improving the educational outcomes for Connecticut students?
CROW: One of the most important things is the school itself. There’s a new STEM high school in Bridgeport where kids get in by lottery. The kids who go there see a new and exciting building and they get excited about science and technology. They stand up straight, shirts tucked in. They’re proud. The principal is excited. When kids get there they are behind in reading and math and then they catch up fast because they are happy to be in that school. Coming from Fairfield, where the schools are in good shape because they spend money on them, I didn’t understand when I got to Greenwich and found schools that are not ADA compliant, that a ceiling fell down. It doesn’t make sense that a school board would not invest in the buildings.
CTEx: What are key priorities for improving health care for CT residents?
CROW: I think mental health is incredibly important. The way we manage air quality in Fairfield County certainly needs a lot of work. From COVID we learned about the importance of upgrading HVAC systems in public buildings. And we need to get more electric vehicles on the road.
CTEx: Is the marijuana bill as it’s written adequate? Does it address social equity concerns and are there things that need to change in the regulatory framework?
CROW: It’s good that towns get to choose if they want dispensaries or not. I know they are concerned about giving up tax revenue if other towns have dispensaries and they don’t. As for the licensing and growing, the law is very complex and I need to read more about it. I like the idea of doing it in a way that benefits communities that were harmed by previous policies, but I’m not sure what the best way is to benefit those communities.
CTEx: Are there any other issues you would like to address, or a final statement?
CROW: I am hearing a lot of conversation about critical race theory and that business with Project Veritas involving the assistant principal in Greenwich. Anyone in a school system who has an idea to indoctrinate a child in any form is wrong. I want teachers to know I support them. I believe our school systems do an excellent job. Our kids will need to understand how to be part of a global workforce, and capable of sharing different viewpoints. We need to teach our kids open-mindedness, respectfulness, kindness, and to be curious. I have a deep belief in the beauty of humanity and our capability to know and accept each other.