Access Health CT Enrollment Deadline Monday, Operation Fuel Assistance, Celebrating MLK

January 12, 2024

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Dear Neighbor,

I hope your 2024 is going well. We are almost at the midway point of January already. That means we're not far too far away from the start of our next legislative session, which begins on February 7th.

I intend to provide you with as many updates and information pertinent to you and your family as much as I can as it creeps along.

It is my intention out of session as well.

So in this newsletter, we cover a lot of ground, including available assistance from Operation Fuel, a fast-approaching Access Health CT enrollment deadline, unemployment insurance claim filing information, and much more. 

Enjoy and have a great weekend,


What's Our Rep Been Up To?
Over 130 years ago, The Stonington Free Library, was established by the Ladies Book Club to promote the literary interests of the town and its people.

Still today, they continue to offer robust programming to children, adults, and seniors within the community.

I had the opportunity this week to learn about library operations and meet with librarians along with First Selectman Danielle Millard Chesebrough, local elected officials, and some of the SFL trustees. Thank you Micayla, Karla, Michelle, and the rest of the library team for your time today!

Some fun facts about SFL:
🕰️ Open 7 days a week in person, 24/7 online, and in our outdoor seating area with a charging station.
44K Total Visitors
3.5K Active Cardholders
1K+ books acquired for 9 local book clubs
🫂 4.3K+ people attended 210 programs
27K+ views of SFL programs on YouTube
2.3K+ reference & tech questions answered
549 Reading Program registrants with a 74% participation rate and 4.2K+ hours read
‍4 full-time, 19 part-time staff
36.6K + public computer & WiFi sessions
🫂 206 volunteers worked over 2K hours

Recently, I participated in an enlightening panel hosted by the Stonington Men’s Group at the Ocean Community YMCA Niak Family Branch in Mystic!

I joined Stonington elected leaders including Stonington Borough Warden Michael Schefers, Stonington First Selectman Danielle Millard Chesebrough,

State Rep. Greg Howard, and Sen. Somers for a discussion on enriching fellowship in our current political climate!

Great community conversations!

Access Health CT Enrollment Deadline Monday
The deadline to enroll in a health insurance plan for 2024 is Monday, January 15th. Customers who enroll in a plan through AHCT before the Jan. 15 deadline will have coverage beginning Feb. 1.

Residents can work with a certified broker or enrollment specialist in their community for assistance. To find an expert, please visit

For online help, visit

A live chat is also available by clicking the “Live Chat” icon to connect with a customer service representative. Live chat is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Residents may also contact the call center at 1-855-805-4325, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The call center will be open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight on Jan. 15, 2024. 

Operation Fuel Assistance Available
If you're struggling to pay utility bills, Operation Fuel may be able to help.

Operation Fuel's energy assistance program opened this week for the Winter/Spring season. Applications will be accepted until March 1 unless available funds run out before that date.

Households with incomes that do not exceed 75% of the State Median Income Guidelines may qualify for assistance. These households include - but are not limited to - the elderly, disabled, working families, or individuals facing a financial crisis.

Eligible clients may apply for energy assistance (gas, electric, oil, or other deliverable fuel) ONCE per year and receive a grant of UP TO $500.

For utility assistance (electric & gas), clients must show they made at least four payments in the past 12 months, must owe a past due amount, and provide at least four weeks of income information.

Operation Fuel is accepting applications for water and energy bill assistance for:

Electric: Eversource, United Illuminating (UI), and Norwalk Public Utilities
Gas: Eversource, UI, Yankee Gas, Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG), and Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG)
Water: CT Water and The Metropolitan District (MDC)

Operation Fuel has been assisting Connecticut residents for 46 years. In that time, Operation Fuel has distributed millions of dollars in assistance to help thousands of Connecticut households.
For more information and to apply for assistance, click

Unemployment Insurance Reminders
The winter peak season for Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim filing is among us, so I wanted to share a few reminders courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL).

Currently, CTDOL’s Consumer Contact Center unemployment claims representatives have more than 13,000 appointments scheduled in just the next two weeks. With far fewer representatives budgeted for the Contact Center, the wait time to get an appointment with a claims agent is now several weeks, depending upon the filer’s circumstance.

While the average call is only about 10 minutes, the primary reasons that filers call are preventable and the volume of calls causes significant delays for filers who have more complex issues requiring assistance.

The top two reasons filers need assistance:

1.      Forgotten username or password.

·       Filers should write down their username/password combination and store it in a safe location or in a digital password keeper. Passwords must be reset in accordance to federal rules for unemployment benefits.

·       Filers do not need to make an appointment to talk to a claims agent. They can reset their passwords by submitting the lockout form online. That is faster than scheduling an appointment.

2.      Ten-day processing period. 

·       Unemployment claims must go through a verification process that includes employer notification as well as identity and fraud prevention checks. This verification period takes a minimum of 10 days; claims will not be paid out until they are processed in accordance with state and federal law. Circumventing this verification period could cause overpayments that the filer is required to repay; costs employers money; and increase the likelihood that Connecticut pays fraudulent claims.

The Connecticut Department of Labor encourages filers to submit a case online rather than calling to make an appointment as it often results in a more timely response and resolution.

Dual Port EV Charging Stations Headed to Groton
I am pleased to share this great news for Groton!
Two dual port Level 2 chargers to be installed at Groton Public Library
State Representatives Aundré Bumgardner (D – Groton, Stonington) and Christine Conley (D – Groton, New London) are praising the future arrival of two, dual port Level 2 Electric Vehicles Charging to be installed at the Groton Public Library.
Groton is among seven communities statewide included in the U.S. Department of Transportation's awarding of $14.6 million through Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program to expand the state's network of electric vehicle charging stations.
“Not only are we expanding access to faster electric vehicle charging stations within our municipal public spaces through this grant, but we're also transforming our library into a vibrant hub for both intellectual growth and environmental stewardship," Rep. Bumgardner said. "It's a powerful testament to Groton's commitment to innovation within our town, and we're thrilled to see this vision become a reality!”
“In order for residents to make the switch to electric vehicles, we need steps like this one taken to enhance our green infrastructure,” Rep. Conley said. “Thank you to Governor Lamont for his support and funding for this project, and I look forward to working on further developments for this critical industry.”
In addition, Groton, Barkhamsted, Bridgeport, East Hartford, Hartford, New Haven, and Stamford will also receive funding to boost EV charging station access with a focus on neighborhood revitalization, transit-oriented development, and equitable access. There are currently 726 other publicly accessible charging locations across the state.
Updated reminder: Collections Assessment Grant Applications Extended to Jan. 19th
Reminder! Last Call!
The Collections Assessment Grant (CAG) Program
Updated: The deadline for Grant Applications has been extended to
January 19th, 2024 

This initiative provides museums, historical societies, and other collecting institutions with information to improve care and access to their collections. The Collections Assessment Grant Program (CAG) provides small and mid-sized museums with a free assessment of their museum or archive collections, successful CAG grant applicants will receive a half-day site visit from a museum curator or archivist who will examine collections on exhibit, in storage, policies and procedures related to collection care and management, and provide a written report.

Every assessment report will include a prioritized list of recommendations for improving the care and management of collections. These recommendations are intended to help your organization:

  • decide where to invest limited resources
  • alert board members to collections care concerns
  • provide documentation that can support development of a long-range collection/preservation plan
  • can be used to fundraise for collection projects.

Priority will be given to organizations with budgets under $50,000. Institutions with a budget not exceeding $250,000 are eligible to apply. Applicants are encouraged to review the grant guidelines before completing an application.

Before applying, organizations must contact Kathy Craughwell-Varda, Director of Conservation ConneCTion, at to discuss your project idea. CT Collections is eager to help you submit a strong application and is available to review draft applications received at least two weeks before the grant deadline. 

The grant application can be found HERE.

To learn more about the program and projects funded by the Collection Assessment Grant please visit

The Collections Assessment Grant is a program of Conservation ConneCTion in partnership with the Connecticut Heritage Foundation and is funded by a grant from CT Humanities.

Watch: Black and Puerto Rican Caucus Forum 
Black and Puerto Rican Caucus Forum
January 9, 2024
I was proud to join the entire membership of the Black and Puerto Rican (BPRC) Caucus for this week's forum.

We sought input from constituents as it related to their concerns and ideas about pressing policy issues concerning the Black and Latino communities.

Celebrating MLK
Monday, January 15th, is the day we officially remember and honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., but let's take a moment this weekend to reflect on and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His leadership led to the success of the civil rights movement. His actions played a pivotal role in achieving strides toward racial equality.
Dr. King continues to inspire and affect racial progress today. His work paved the way for positive change, fostering a society that values justice, equality, and human rights.
This weekend serves as an opportunity for all of us to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy. We can recommit ourselves to unity and justice while contributing to the ongoing pursuit of civil rights.

Do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or concerns you may have at or 1-800-842-8267.


Aundré Bumgardner
State Representative


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