Tim Herbst’s Responses

Herbst Circle

Tim Herbst, of Trumbull, qualified for the primary at the Republican convention in May.

Responses are posted below exactly as provided by the candidate to our Create the Vote 2018 Questionnaire

1. Your Personal Connection to the Arts

We’ve all had defining moments in our lives. Is there a personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity that has had an impact on your life and your view of the community? And, if so, please tell us about it.

Arts have impacted me throughout my life, from listening to music, to local art festivals that I’ve enjoyed over the years. However, my most profound experience with art was in elementary school. I had a wonderful art teacher that not only taught us about the different art mediums, but emphasized how art has evolved historically and how history is reflected through art. I learned form an early age that in appreciating art, in many instances, you’re also appreciating history. Now, as an adult, understanding the inherent historical progression of art though time makes me appreciate all the mediums even more significantly.

2. Arts + Economic Development

From April 1, 2018 Hartford Courant, Arts and Culture Are Key Contributors to CT’s Economy: “As an industry, arts and cultural events and productions pumped $9 billion into Connecticut’s economy in 2015, generating more money than utilities and construction, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce.” This same article noted that the arts and culture sector accounts for 3.5% of Connecticut’s total economy.

As governor, how would you recognize the importance of arts and culture in economic development and the revitalization of our cities?

As the former First Selectman of Trumbull, I saw the economic impact art had on our community through the Trumbull Concerts on the Green series and the Trumbull Arts Festival. These local programs drew residents from all over town as well as from neighboring communities. Not only do these types of events create a vibrant community, but they boost our economy, because people are staying local, eating at Trumbull restaurants, and gaining exposure to our community.

3. Arts Education + Programs for our Youth

Students with arts instruction are 3x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, less likely to be absent, 5x more likely to graduate, and 44% less likely to use drugs.

Do you support arts education as a statewide priority? If so, how will you champion arts education for our youth?

As a former municipal leader and as a Connecticut resident, I not only support arts education, but all other extra curricular programs for our students. It’s imperative that we offer students an array of programs that promote better, more socially responsible, creative, and cultured students. I believe that enrichment programs are the key to making sure that students become good citizens and stay out of trouble, away from drugs, and on the right path. In Trumbull, we always had a great art program, something I’m very proud of.

4. Arts + Attracting/Retaining Talent

People want to live in culturally vibrant cities, and the arts and cultural scene influences in which city skilled workers want to work. They want to go to festivals, attend arts events, listen to live music, eat great food and meet interesting people. It’s a main reason why, according to a study by City Observatory, the number of college educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers is up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.

How do you see the role of arts and culture in Connecticut’s effort to attract and retain a talented workforce?

It’s no secret that vibrant cities with cultural art programs attract and retain a talented workforce. When you look at neighboring states like New York and Massachusetts, their major cities have incredible art culture and are thriving. Connecticut is lucky to have world renowned museums in New Haven and I do believe that New Haven’s art culture has been one of the reasons the city is now attracting younger professionals, not only to work, but also to live within the city. I believe we can do the same other other Connecticut cities, like Bridgeport and New London, which to me, offer a blank slate of opportunities to create vibrant communities by attracting skilled professionals.

5. Arts + Return on Investment

The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $80 million in revenue to local and state government. Yet the state recently allocated only $4.2 million for arts and culture in next year’s budget, which represents a 60% decrease since 2009.

Will you support increased state arts funding building on this return on investment? If so, at what level and from what funding source?

As a state, we need to ensure that we are promoting arts in urban centers—cities that are easily accessible by highway, rail, and boat—for example I would focus on cities like New London and Bridgeport. To me, promoting art culture in New London and Bridgeport would provide an economic driver that these two distressed areas desperately need. By way of example, New Haven has done an amazing job promoting and embracing the arts.

6. Arts + Tourism

Each year arts and cultural events attract 10 million attendees with 15% coming from outside the state and 59% of those tourists coming specifically for arts and culture.

Beyond featuring arts and culture in marketing efforts, how would you further capitalize on the arts as a cornerstone to CT’s vital tourism industry?

In my opinion, arts and tourism go hand in hand. When you promote the arts; whether it be music, theater, painting, sculpture, or any other medium, it will draw people to your state. The arts industry and tourism are mutually beneficial to each other. We have proven with our investments in tourism, for every one dollar that we spend on tourism, we get back three dollars in economic return, which is a tremendous return on investment. By investing in both arts and tourism, and recognizing the synergies between the two, we will get an even greater return on investment in our state.

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