Matt Lesser, State Representative
- Why do you support paid family leave?
“So many working families are teetering on the edge of financial insecurity – an accident or an illness can knock many families right out of the middle class. As a younger legislator, I see people my age not having kids because they can’t afford to take even a few weeks off of work. That’s silly and frustrating because there’s an easy, low cost way around all of that – paid family leave.”
- How did you become aware of paid family leave?
“I’ve traveled a lot and seen what a difference paid family leave makes elsewhere in the world. I was thrilled when I heard that Connecticut was setting up a task force to study the issue and wanted to get involved.”
- Why is this issue important to you?
“Regular people should have access to the same benefits we politicians have ourselves. When I was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, it was the last thing I expected. Fortunately I was able to take off the time I needed from the legislature to be treated and today I’m cancer free. As a state legislator, I had the ability to go on paid leave. Fighting cancer was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do – I can only imagine how difficult it is for families who have to choose between treating a serious medical condition and a paycheck.”
- What do you wish all people knew about paid family leave?
“That almost everybody will need it. Whether you’re taking time off for a parent, a grandparent, a child or for yourself, practically everybody will need to take family and medical leave at some point. Too many people say “I’m not planning on getting pregnant so this doesn’t matter to me,” but it’s so much more than that.”
- How will paid family leave change Connecticut?
“It will provide working families with a little more economic security and a higher quality of life. But after it passes, I think a lot of folks will be scratching their heads and wondering what the big deal was about. Our sister state Rhode Island and California and New Jersey have already joined the rest of the world in adopting paid family leave and found that it’s a simple straightforward way to give ordinary people a little more security and control over their lives.”