Weekly News Feb 26 - March 4

March 3, 2017

It's been another busy week, and there is a lot happening in our district and in Hartford!

On Saturday I attended National History Day at Manchester High School to present awards to this year's winners of the History Day in Manchester contest. MHS welcomed over 500 students, parents, volunteers, and teachers from throughout Greater Hartford and Eastern Connecticut for the annual event. All of the students did an amazing job! A special thanks to MHS teacher Ryan Jones for all his work in organizing this event. Click here to see the list of awardees.

Sunday I attended a Black History Month celebration in East Hartford. An East Hartford organization, Young-Educated-Determined to Succeed Inc. (Y.E.D.S), performed at the event. The group's mission is to provide girls with educational and recreational activities that will promote academic performance and critical thinking while helping them to develop skills that will help them succeed in life.

It was a great event full of singing, dance performances, spoken word and more, and Y.E.D.S. put on a great show!! For more information on how you may become involved with Y.E.D.S., please visit: youngeducateddetermined.com.

Me with Y.E.D.S members and Executive Director, La’Shunda Williams

On Monday I spoke at a Candlelight Vigil in South Windsor for inclusion, acceptance and civility. The purpose of this event was to encourage everyone to treat their neighbors and community members with respect and compassion. You can read more about the event in the Hartford Courant.

Speaking at the candlelight vigil<

Town Councilman Saud Anwar addresses the crowd

Thank you to everyone who came to the Capitol to testify on Tuesday or submitted written testimony for the joint public hearing on crumbling concrete foundations. Your input is invaluable as we work to find effective solutions to this issue. Testimony from the hearing is available here.

Thursday was Read Across America Day! Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration organized by the National Education Association that takes place annually on March 2 - Dr. Seuss's birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books. Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules here in Hartford, I was unable to read to our littlest learners this year. I do thank our community and state leaders for taking time out of their day to bring a bit of extra joy to the classroom in the 11th District!

Bryan Hall, Chairman of the EH Board of Education; Valerie Scheer, EH Board of Education member; Nate Quesnel, Superintendent EH Public Schools; and Dianna Wentzell, CT Commissioner of Education at EH's Stem Academy at O'Brien Elementary School

On Thursday I also testified at a Human Services Committee public hearing in support of two important pieces of legislation I've introduced this session.

HB 7121 would revise CT's Safe Haven Law to provide stronger protections to individuals who care for infants in the custody of the Department of Children and Families under the state's Safe Haven program. The Safe Haven Law allows a parent who feels they can't care for a child to leave their infant at a hospital's emergency room with no questions asked. It's in the best interests of the child for him or her to be placed in a permanent home as quickly as possible. This legislation would increase the rights of foster parents looking to adopt with the aim of encouraging permanent home placements. Thank you to Rep. Mike Demicco (D-Farmington) and Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), for their support in joining as co-introducers on this piece of legislation.

Testifying with my friend and former co-worker Katie Leavitt

Me with former State Rep. and Safe Haven advocate Pam Sawyer, Katie Leavitt, and Rep. Mike Demicco

SB 873 would continue CT's Two-Generational Initiative. Connecticut was one of the first states in the nation to pass legislation creating a two generational approach to policy and programs to bolster school and work success for adults and their children, concurrently. Cities and towns were invited to create plans that looked at school readiness and school success for the children and workforce readiness and workforce success for the parents. East Hartford has been a part of this opportunity, and I hope the program can continue to grow.

Testifying with Sarah Dudzic, Two-Gen Alignment Coordinator

Thank you to all the advocates, parents, community leaders and fellow legislators who came out today to support these pieces of important legislation.

You can read my testimony on both of these bills here.


There will be a public hearing on East Hartford's Town and Board of Education Budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year on Wednesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall (740 Main St). More information is available here.

Click here for the town meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.


South Windsor will have an Electronics Recycling Drop-off Day on Saturday, March 4 at the Town Hall, (1540 Sullivan Avenue) from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A full list of items being accepted is available here.

Click here for the public meetings calendar.

Click here for the community events calendar.


The Mary Cheney Library (586 Main St) is holding an event on Saturday, March 4 at 10:30 am to celebrate Dr. Seuss, whose birthday was on March 2nd. Visit the library for music and games celebrating Dr. Seuss with award winning singer Gigi and family members. More information is available here.

Click here for the full town calendar.


U.S. News & World Report has ranked Connecticut in the top 10 states for education, health care access, and public safety in its 'Best States' Report. I'm proud that we're a leader in gender equality and education and home to one of the most educated and skilled workforces in the country. Read more here.

The addition of new airlines and new routes out of Bradley International Airport opens the door for increased economic opportunities for Connecticut. Bradley will have two direct routes to Europe, two to Canada (Montreal and Toronto on Air Canada) and two to the West Coast, among the airport's 34 direct destinations. Read more here.

New craft breweries are opening in Connecticut faster than ever! In 2011, there were 16 microbreweries, brewpubs and contract brewers in the state. That number grew steadily each year, and by 2015 there were 35. By the end of January, there were 55. Read more here.

The CEOs of three Hartford-based companies - Aetna, The Hartford, and Travelers - have pledged to dedicate a combined $10 million a year to Hartford each year for the next five years. It's great to see local employers invested in the success of our capitol city. Read more here.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

A full calendar of all events happening at the Capitol next week, including public hearings, is available on the General Assembly website.

You can find the agenda for public hearings on the calendar by clicking on the calendar item and following the link to the committee page. For instructions on how to testify at a public hearing, please click here.