Ranked Choice Voting Working Group Meets, The Champ Is Here, Congrats 2024 Grads

June 14, 2024

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Dear Neighbor,

I hope you are all enjoying the warm weather. It will be warmer next week, so be careful. There is a good variety of news, information, and updates in this week's newsletter, from the Ranked Choice Voting Working Group's first meeting and the gist of what our likely special session will be about to a champion Chef and good guy right in our neighborhood to upcoming community events.

This week's newsletter's topics specifically include:

  • Out N' About In The 41st District
  • End of Session Forum on Monday
  • ICYMI: Funding En Route To The District
  • Ranked Choice Voting Working Group Meets
  • Likely Special Session To Cover Motor Vehicle Tax
  • Copp Family Park Trail Receives Funding
  • The Champ Is Here!
  • CT Transportation News
  • Reminder: Public Hearing Regarding Gold Star Bridge Set For June 24th
  • Groton Bike And Pedestrian Master Plan Survey
  • Happy Flag Day
  • Happy Birthday, U.S. Army
  • Congrats 2024 Grads!
  • Community Events And Notices

Have a great weekend,

Earlier this week I had the privilege of participating in a meeting at UConn Avery Point to discuss the future of this beautiful waterfront campus. One of the main topics was the potential development of a residence hall. Currently, all 450 students commute to the 72-acre campus, so adding student housing could be a game-changer!

UConn Board of Trustees are exploring the feasibility of this project and considering various approaches, including partnerships with outside groups, although no decisions will be made until all information is thoroughly assessed. Stay tuned for more updates as we envision and plan for the future of Avery Point!

Go Jay Dempsey! He and his band killed it Thursday night at Sneekers Cafe! My good friend has not lost his smooth voice or rhythm
What a beautiful day for the pickleball court ribbon cutting at the Ocean Community YMCA Naik Family Branch in Mystic. I was honored to have presented a proclamation in honor of this wonderful outdoor and indoor activity that brings folks from all walks of life together! Thanks to the donors, supporters, and volunteers for making it happen!
It was all about the youth of Stonington! We celebrated the amazing achievements of Stonington High School students, showcasing their hard work and talent.
At the same time, we joined a forum at Mystic Seaport Museum hosted by Town of Stonington First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough, focused on helping at-risk and disconnected youth as part of her work with the 119K Commission, highlighting the challenges some of our young people face.

This powerful mix of celebrating successes and addressing struggles shows how committed our corner of the state is to supporting every single student and forming community partnerships to make it a reality.

I hope you can join us at the New London Public Library on Monday!
I am proud to have been appointed by Governor Lamont to serve as the Ranked Choice Voting Working Group member. We held our first meeting this morning in Hartford.

We've been tasked with exploring options and developing a comprehensive legislative proposal to create a system that enables municipalities and political parties in Connecticut with the ability to use ranked-choice voting in caucuses, conventions, primaries, and certain municipal elections.

I have always felt that this was an avenue worth exploring because

 29 states in our country have already adopted Ranked Choice Voting in some shape or form in their general elections and primaries. And I think it's long past time that Connecticut joins those states.
There have been so many proposals over the years and more recently, a more refined proposal is being led by the good senators who are chairing this working group for primaries and elections at the municipal level, particularly municipal CEOs. I think there's a lot of merit to that exploration and continuing to explore that concept, among many other concepts that I'm sure we'll be talking about.

In 2023, legislation drafted by bipartisan co-sponsors was introduced in Connecticut that, among other things, would have given municipalities the option of using ranked-choice voting in municipal elections for single-winner offices and would have given political parties the option of using ranked-choice voting in presidential preference primaries.

The bill – Senate Bill 389 – got a public hearing in the Government Administration and Elections Committee but the committee did not take a vote to advance the bill before its deadline.

In 2022, we passed a motor vehicle tax cut. 

HB5172 AAC THE ASSESSMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES FOR PROPERTY TAXATION, passed the house bipartisanly. It was then amended in the Senate so that, with less than six hours left in session, it rendered the bill dead. Why? Because when you tack on an amendment after a bill has already passed one of the houses and there are very few hours left, it’s difficult to send it back to the originating chamber, pass it with the amendment, and then send it back to the other house to pass both chambers with the same bill.
The underlying bill was to implement the law we passed in 2022. It included technical fixes paramount to making the bill work effectively. This bill matters to cities and towns, so it matters to taxpayers - and that’s the reason for the likely special session in the coming weeks.

The Copp Family Park Trail was among 45 projects selected statewide to receive grant funding to plan, build, expand, and improve multi-use trails. Through the Connecticut Recreational Trails Grant Program. The Copp Family Park Trail will receive $143,000 for construction, amenities, and acquisition.
I am so proud and happy for The Shipwright's Daughter Executive Chef and my good friend David Standridge for winning the James Beard Foundation's award for best chef in New England! A special congratulations to Renee Touponce, of Port of Call, a semifinalist in the Outstanding Chef category.

Wrong Way Detection Installation at Exit 85 Northbound Off-Ramp from I-95 to Bridge Street in Groton

CTDOT is announcing that a wrong-detection installation will be performed at the Exit 85 northbound off-ramp from I-95 to Bridge Street in Groton on Friday, May 24, 2024.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is announcing that a wrong-way detection installation will be performed at the Exit 85 northbound off-ramp from I-95 to Bridge Street in Groton on Friday, May 24, 2024. The project involves excavating and relocating a wrong-way detection system at the Exit 85 northbound off-ramp from I-95 to Bridge Street in Groton.


Motorists can expect a temporary sidewalk and right-lane closure to occur at the Exit 85 northbound off-ramp from I-95 to Bridge Street in Groton. Traffic will be directed to use the left lane at the Exit 85 northbound off-ramp to access Bridge Street in Groton. Variable message boards will be set up approximately one (1) week before the start of this project. Crash attenuator vehicles and signing patterns will guide motorists through the work zone. The work schedule for this project is from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday.

Motorists should be aware that modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving in this area.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation announced a milling a resurfacing project will be performed on Service Route 649 (Rainville Hill Road/Poquonnock Road/High Rock Road/Tower Avenue) in Groton starting next Thursday, May 23.

The milling segment will take place on Thursday, May 23 through Tuesday, May 28 and the resurfacing segment is anticipated to take place Monday, June 17 through Tuesday, June 25.

Motorists can expect lane closures to occur on Service Route 649 from Route 349 (Clarence B. Sharp Highway) to 0.13 mi. south of the Groton/New London Airport drive in Groton. Groton Town Police and City Police, traffic control personnel, crash attenuator vehicles and signing patterns will guide motorists through the work zone.

Guiderail Installation on I-95 North and Southbound in Groton and East Lyme
CTDOT is announcing that a guide rail installation will be performed on I-95 north and southbound in Groton and East Lyme starting May 6, 2024.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is announcing that a guide rail installation will be performed on I-95 north and southbound in Groton and East Lyme. This project is scheduled to begin on Monday evening, May 6, through Friday morning, August 30, 2024. Work will end at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 24 until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, due to the Memorial Day holiday and from 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3 until 8:00 p.m. on Monday, July 8, 2024, due to the Independence Day holiday.

The CTDOT will conduct a hybrid public information meeting (in-person and virtual) concerning pedestrian improvements on the Southbound Gold Star Memorial Bridge and both approaches in New London and Groton on Monday, June 24, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.

The hybrid public information meeting is being held to allow the public and local community an opportunity to offer comments or ask questions regarding the proposed project. The meeting will be held in person in the New London City Hall Building at 181 State Street in New London. The meeting will also take place on Zoom (registration required) and livestreamed on YouTube. A question and answer (Q&A) session will immediately follow the presentation. For instructions on how to access the meeting, and ways to provide comments and ask questions, please click on the image below.

(photo credit The Day)

The Gold Star Memorial Bridge is a key connection between New London and Groton for pedestrians and cyclists across the Thames River. The only way to travel between cities by non-vehicular modes is via a five-foot-wide sidewalk adjacent to the right I-95 Southbound travel lane on the Gold Star Southbound bridge. This Shared Use Path (SUP) connection across the Thames River has been in regional and state plans for a long time, intending to improve the safety and accessibility of the non-motorized traveling public between New London and Groton. The project consists of widening the existing sidewalk on the Southbound Gold Star Bridge and the east and west approaches to the bridge, as well as adding a spur path that connects to Williams Street in New London and reconfiguring the Bridge Street intersection in Groton.

There are right-of-way impacts associated with the proposed improvements. Temporary easements are anticipated for construction access. No permanent right-of-way impacts are anticipated.

Construction is anticipated to begin in the Summer of 2028 based on the availability of funding, acquisition of rights of way, and approval of permits. The estimated construction cost for this project is approximately $55.5 million. This project is anticipated to be undertaken using 90% federal funds and 10% state funds.

Individuals with limited internet access can listen to the meeting by calling (877) 853-5257 and entering Meeting ID 852 7950 4911. Individuals with hearing and/or speech disabilities may dial 711 for Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS).  Individuals with limited internet access may also request that project information be mailed to them within one week by contacting Tracey Brais at DOT.GoldStarBridgeProjects@ct.gov or (860) 594-3171. 

Language assistance may be requested by contacting the CTDOT Language Assistance Call Line at (860) 594-2109. Requests should be made at least five business days before the meeting. Language assistance is provided at no cost to the public and efforts will be made to respond to timely requests for assistance. 

The meeting will be hosted in person in the New London City Hall Building at 181 State Street in New London and virtually on Zoom. The meeting will also be live-streamed on the CTDOT YouTube channel; no registration is required. Non-English language closed captioning will be available on Zoom and YouTube. The recording will also be posted immediately following the meeting in the list of CTDOT virtual public meetings at portal.ct.gov/ctdotVPIMarchive.

Members of the public can submit comments and questions during the two-week public comment period following the meeting. Please submit comments and questions by July 8, 2024, to DOT.GoldStarBridgeProjects@ct.gov and (860) 594-2020. Please reference State Project No. 0094-0267 in the email or voicemail.


Have you had the chance to complete the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan survey yet? If not, do it now! Share your thoughts on how to make Groton safer, more accessible, and easier to navigate. Please click HERE. Hay tambien una versión en español de la encuesta, please click HERE.
Happy birthday, Old Glory!
Founded on this day in 1775! Thank you to all who have served and continue to protect our country in the US Army.
Congratulations, Class of 2024! I can’t wait to see what you continue to accomplish in the future.
Do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or concerns you may have at Aundre.Bumgardner@cga.ct.gov or 1-800-842-8267.


Aundré Bumgardner
State Representative


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