By Jim Jinks
I’m Jim Jinks and I’m running for state representative in the 90th District (Cheshire, Wallingford.)
The reason I’m running is that I love this community. My wife of 21 years, Marie, and I have chosen to raise our four kids here. I have a successful career in the ad agency business, have been active in my church, school, and youth sports community. But public service is a big priority for me. I currently serve my community in several ways — on the Cheshire Town Council, the School Modernization Committee and Cheshire’s Sustainability Team. I also founded an award-winning nonprofit called Bike Cheshire, which operates a popular community bike share, runs Bike-to-School Days and other group ride events and we’re working on improving biking and street safety for everyone in Cheshire. I have previously served on the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Youth Services Committee in Cheshire.
Many people have asked me why I’m running for state representative and why now? Truth is I had no intention of running for the 90th District seat. Then, in late May, things changed. I received calls, emails, and messages from dozens of people asking me to consider running. Their reason? Their state representative did not represent the people and the values of this great community. At all.
At the exact moment that so many in our community were reeling from the death of George Floyd, my opponent retweeted what can only be described as a racist meme. While I found this inflammatory and horrifying, in my busy life of work, raising a family, Town Council business, I initially thought little would come of it. Then the calls, emails, and messages, asking me to run, moved me and made me fully realize the depth and extent of the pain caused by his racist retweet.
I heard from constituents of the 90th (and beyond) — women, people of color, religious minorities and LGBTQ people in our community. People that feel like the person that is elected to represent them should actually represent them, and not diminish or belittle them. I teach my kids to stand up to bullies. I had an obligation to stand up for those who needed a voice.
These are undoubtedly challenging times. I know and love these communities. Cheshire and Wallingford are so much better than the messages we've recently seen scrawled on one of our elementary schools in Cheshire, the racist and hateful signs we’ve seen anonymously posted around Wallingford in recent weeks and my opponent’s retweet. These episodes don't reflect the values of the vast majority of residents in our communities. I'm running for state representative because now is the time, as ever, to affirm our values, to make progress and to move forward together. We need and deserve leadership that can bring people together, build consensus and make good things happen. I sincerely promise to do everything I can to make Cheshire and Wallingford proud.
My campaign is about what comes next. I want our communities to be the best they can be for all our residents. We need to be working on building a stronger local economy, better schools, affordable health care, lowering energy costs and improving public safety. The single most pressing issue facing our state is our stagnant economic growth.
To grow our local economy we need to address affordability in housing, energy and transportation. In doing so we'll attract more young workers, families and seniors as well. In Wallingford, in particular, the new train station presents an opportunity to build on the present and stake a claim to our future. I'll work with local and state officials to put a plan in place for revival and recovery of the downtown rail district.
We also need to invest in workforce development and educating our kids for the advanced manufacturing and hi-tech jobs that CT-based employers are increasingly offering. We need to keep pushing to lower health care costs and better leverage our open space and farms to attract more eco- and agri-tourism.
Lastly, we need to invest in computing and tech infrastructure. I’m optimistic we can tackle our challenges and realize our full potential. We have a bright future if we work toward it and leave this moment of partisanship and extreme divisiveness behind us.
Democrat Jim Jinks is a candidate for state representative in the 90th District.