The 2019 legislative session ended on June 5th. Despite the challenges we faced, we accomplished many of the goals we identified to help Connecticut residents.
My appointment to the House of Representatives came late in the session, and I hit the ground running to represent you, and live up to the legacy of the man I succeeded – State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago.
There is ample opportunity to improve Bridgeport and the state of Connecticut. While we made great strides in the 2019 session, our work has only begun. I look forward to continuing this session’s momentum to address issues such as substance abuse, education equity, and making our state a more attractive place to do business.
Your input is valuable, and I hope you will reach out to me about how I can better serve you and our community. I appreciate your feedback about the issues that matter and I look forward to having these conversations. Please do not hesitate to reach out by phone, email or social media.
Keeping People in Their Homes
We extended the state’s Foreclosure Mediation Program to help families stay in their homes during tough times. Created during the 2008 recession to help those impacted by the housing market crisis, it requires mortgage lenders to use mediation to avoid foreclosures.
Foreclosures have affected many Connecticut homeowners from wealthy communities to inner cities. The program has assisted nearly 30,000 homeowners reach settlements with their lenders, allowing them to keep their homes.
This bill also formally names the program after the late Representative Ezequiel Santiago of Bridgeport, who fought to continue the Foreclosure Mediation program. PA 19-145
Our biennial budget was delivered on time, under the constitutional spending cap and includes important advancements like a plan for debt-free community college and the social security income tax exemption.
The budget provides fiscal stability with no increases in income tax rates, broad-based sales tax rates, and no cuts to municipal aid. It is balanced now, and protects taxpayers into the future. We are protecting our most vulnerable citizens, investing in the middle class, and encouraging economic growth for all of Connecticut.
Some of the highlights that will benefit Bridgeport residents include:
- Maintaining the tax exemptions for Social Security income and the phase-in of a tax exemption on pension income
- Increasing education funding and protecting the Care4Kids program
- Re-opening highway rest stops
- Increasing access to health care
- Providing a tax credit to craft beer breweries
- Protecting the Medicare Savings Program, and increasing funding for Meals on Wheels.
- Establishing the Partnership for Connecticut to strengthen public education system
- Establishing a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Health and Human Services Network PA 19-117
Connecticut families will have more economic security as the state’s minimum hourly wage gradually rises to $15 by June 1, 2023. This legislation will help over 300,000 Connecticut workers who make less than $15 an hour. The wage will increase on October 1, 2019 to $11 an hour, followed by incremental increases over the next 4½ years until $15 is reached. PA 19-4
This legislation will:
- Combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders
- Stimulate our economy
- Index future minimum wage increases
Minority Teacher Recruitment
We passed legislation which creates an annual hiring goal of 250 new minority teachers and administrators across the state. It is important for the minority students in our state to have more teachers who not only look like them, but understand the challenges they face in our society. PA 19-74