Representative Patricia Widlitz is currently serving her 10th term in the General Assembly, representing the towns of Branford and Guilford. She is the House chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, a voting member of the State Bond Commission and a member of the Public Health and Banks committees.
Pat is proud to have led the debate and passage of legislation authorizing Connecticut’s investment in Jackson Laboratory, a leader in the field of bioscience. The investment is projected to create 7,000 jobs over the next two decades and is solidly linked to Connecticut’s tradition of supporting innovation and emerging industries. The legislation was approved during the October 26th special session.
During the 2011 legislative session, Pat also led the effort in the House to approve creation of a program to increase the recovery of post-consumer paint while saving municipalities the cost of that disposal. Pat negotiated the legislation, which has been signed into law and will save our towns money, cost less than the current hazardous waste collection process and ensure the proper disposal and recycling of unused product in an environmentally appropriate manner.
In addition, Pat had a major role in negotiating one of the most important pro-business initiatives for the 2010 legislative session. Working with the Governor’s Office, CBIA, DEP, environmentalists and legislators from both parties, she championed passage of PA 10-158. This important initiative streamlines the permitting process for economic development without rolling back environmental protections. It also establishes a Business Ombudsman in DECD which will help to make CT more business friendly. It passed moments before final adjournment.
Pat has a long list of legislative accomplishments with a special focus on environmental issues. She has been the recipient of many awards and recognitions for her work. As a former chair of the Environment Committee, Pat was responsible for the passage of several pieces of landmark legislation. Among them: Indoor Air Quality in Public Schools (PA 03-220) in response to adverse health effects among students and teachers, banning MTBE as a gasoline additive -a proven groundwater contaminant (PA 03-122), Long Island Sound Protections (PA 03-263), the Clean Cars Act (PA 04-84) achieving stricter vehicle emissions standards, and the Climate Change Act (PA 04-252) which required our state to develop a long range plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Later, as an assistant majority leader she followed up with the Climate Solutions Act (PA 08-98) which, among other things, set up working groups to address the likely impact of climate change and make recommendations as to how to assist municipalities in adapting to those changes.
Rep. Widlitz is a dedicated supporter of the Shoreline East Commuter Rail Service (SLE) and has worked over the years not only to save SLE from elimination, but to expand the service her constituents enjoy today. She is a strong proponent of clean alternative energy and has worked with the solar industry to ensure that qualified people do solar installations. Pat also supports bio-diesel as an alternative fuel.
Throughout her legislative career, protecting the natural resources of the Long Island Sound has been a top priority for Pat. She worked diligently with state and local officials to oppose the construction of the Islander East Gas Pipeline which would have decimated the shellfish beds of Branford, and joined the bi-state coalition to defeat the controversial Broadwater LNG project.
Pat enjoys a challenge and negotiated the “Electronic Recycling” law (PA 07-189) which put Connecticut at the forefront of the issue. Working with the Eastern Region of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Pat negotiated with electronics manufacturers to require them to pay for the end-of-life recycling of their products. The regulations implementing the law go into effect this fall and will save municipalities thousands of dollars in disposal/ recycling costs.
Pat earned her bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Central Connecticut State University. A former math teacher, she taught algebra and geometry at Wethersfield High School. She served on the Guilford Board of Education for seven years (1982-89) and on Guilford’s Board of Selectmen from 1989-1995. As a selectwoman she served as liaison to the Human Services Commission, the Standing Building Committee, the Water Pollution Control Authority and Guilford cable TV (GCTV). Pat is a member of numerous community organizations and serves as a board member of Guilford Interfaith Ministries, which provides meals-on-wheels, friendly visiting and medical equipment to her Guilford community. She previously served on the board of directors of the Guilford Community Fund, the Board of Branford Savings Bank, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale Board of Directors, Faulkner’s Island Light Brigade Lighthouse Restoration Committee, The SARAH 40th Birthday Committee and the Democratic State Central Committee. Pat has the honor of being a Toll Fellow, which recognizes public policy leaders. She has served on several task forces, including one to evaluate the microbial quality of Connecticut’s drinking water that resulted in passage of important legislation to protect watershed areas. Her participation in a working group on managed care led to passage of landmark reform legislation.
Pat and her husband, Gary, have lived in Guilford for 37 years. They have two daughters, Dr. Michelle Widlitz-Sapienza, a psychiatrist in practice in New York City, and Stacey Widlitz-Thomson, a senior financial analyst and regular contributor to CNBC, a satellite and cable television business news channel.