State Capitol Update for the Week of November 4

November 8, 2019

This is my State Capitol update for the week of November 4. If you would rather watch than read, check out the link at the bottom of the page.

Municipal Elections

Geographically, the 64th District is an unusually large one, filled with small towns, farms, and wild green spaces. Each of the nine towns in the district held municipal elections on Tuesday, and I want to extend my congratulations to those who won new seats, retained previously held ones, and every person who threw their hat into the ring and worked to win the support of their community. There were several candidates for town positions this year who first got involved in local politics when they worked on my campaign, so it was a particular privilege to be able to support them. Some won, some did not, but they are all building resources for their communities and should be proud of the work they put into their campaigns.

To review some basics, eight towns in the 64th district are governed by three-member Boards of Selectmen. Torrington is the only town that has a mayor (Mayor Elinor Carbone was not up for re-election this year; her term will end in 2021). There were a number of contested elections for boards of finance, planning and zoning commissions, and zoning boards of appeal, but only two contests among all the boards of selectmen.”

One contest was in Kent, where First Selectman Bruce Adams (a Democrat who served on the Board of Selectman for 12 years, 10 as First Selectman) stepped down this year, leaving an open seat. Congratulations to Democrat Jean Speck, who won the race for that seat, making her the only active First Selectwoman in the district. She ran a great campaign and I look forward to working with her!

Congratulations also to incumbent First Selectman Republican Bob Valentine, who won a re-election contest against a petitioning candidate this year in Goshen.

In the remaining boards of selectmen in the district, all candidates ran unopposed, although two members were new. In Cornwall, Democrat Richard Bramley stepped off the board after 14 years of service, and in Sharon, Democrat Jessica Fowler stepped off the board after six years of service. (Note that both continue to serve their towns, Richard as Treasurer and Jessica on the Board of Finance.) Congratulations to Marina Kotchoubey, a Democrat newly elected to the Cornwall seat, and to Democrat Casey Flanagan, who stepped into the seat on the Sharon board.

I also want to acknowledge all those able selectmen who ran unopposed. Their elections may not have been dramatic, but that means that their constituents have full confidence in their able leadership. So congratulations also to First Selectman Curtis Rand in Salisbury, Brent Colley in Sharon, Gordon Ridgway in Cornwall, Charlie Perotti in North Canaan, Henry Todd in Canaan/Falls Village, and Matt Riiska in Norfolk, as well as all the other members of the local boards.

There has been much written about the negative tone in elections throughout the state, and some local candidates experienced some ugly language on social media, including one incumbent who found this election the most personally destructive they had ever faced. So there’s work to do on that front.

Rebuilding CT’s Infrastructure: CT 2030

On Wednesday, the Governor and the Department of Transportation (DOT) briefed us on the new plan to rebuild CT’s infrastructure, titled CT 2030. Our roads and bridges are in desperate need of attention: Connecticut’s infrastructure currently ranks in the bottom ten percent when compared with other states, and it is both a safety and economic issue. The goal of CT 2030 is to help resolve some of Connecticut’s most pressing transportation issues in the next decade. The main focus of this plan is to create faster, safer commutes by relieving critical choke points in the state. This project will also generate 26,000 jobs over the life of the plan. It will be financed by a combination of very favorable federal funding, tolls on fourteen bridges, and the existing Special Transportation Fund. It is much more modest than the plan originally put forward, and seems like a solid and sustainable approach to address our challenges. For the NW Corner, not only would this improve the state-wide economy that affects us all, but will enable the DOT to focus other resources on repairing our roads and look at providing some form of public transportation we are desperately lacking.

Cornwall Gets Bronze Certification from Sustainable CT

Congratulations to Cornwall on being recognized as a resilient town by Sustainable CT! Sustainable CT is a voluntary certification program to recognize thriving and resilient CT municipalities. They awarded Cornwall a bronze certification – a big achievement given that many of the numerous criteria are aimed at much bigger towns. Many thanks are due to Kathering Freygang, who worked tirelessly to shepherd Cornwall through the process.

To see what each certified community submitted as part of their application, click on their municipal icon and view the certification report.

Other Events

Run with the Animals: The NW CT YMCA organized a fundraising run at Action Wildlife in Goshen on Sunday 11/3.  Running between the large pastured enclosures filled with goats, horses, elk, and zebra made it an unusual experience in NW CT!

Cornwall Civic Life Films, also 11/3 – Students at Cornwall Consolidated School, under the able supervision of Catherine Tatge and Dominique Lasseur of Civic Life, made five short documentary films on topical issues which were shown at the Cornwall Library.

Evening with former Senator Chris Dodd and Legislators: Governor Lamont invited the freshman delegation over to his house on Wednesday to chat with Senator Dodd. With one session under our belt, we have a few war stories of our own, but his decades of experience in many different historical moments provided a lot of insight.

Torrington Historical Society unveiled of the restored Hotchkiss bedroom at the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum in Torrington. I strongly recommend a visit to this meticulously restored home: the society is justly proud of what they have accomplished, with the help of some state funding and a lot of local donors and artisans.

NW CT Rare Disease Awareness Night: on Thursday, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) held a forum for those affected by rare diseases, and the medical complexities involved for both patients and their caregivers. It was a powerful experience to hear their stories as we work on doing better by this community.

Upcoming events

  • Sunday, 11/10 at 2:00 pm: Cornwall will honor Civil War veterans at the Sedgwick Monument at 400 Cornwall Hollow Road.
  • Monday 11/11 at 10:30 am: Torrington will hold its Veteran’s Day memorial service in Coe Park.
  • Sunday, 11/17 at 11:00 am: Addressing Broadband Internet Needs in Sharon, at Town Hall. The forum, organized in part by NW ConneCT and the Northwest Hills Council of Governments, will focus on Sharon’s internet needs, what can be done to address them, how would homes or businesses benefit and what might it cost, and how are other small towns addressing their need for more affordable broad internet and cell phone reception.

Safe Connect Toolkit

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) offers the Safe Connect Toolkit for survivors of domestic violence. CCADV has hired 26 additional, bilingual advocates who will work around the clock to respond to calls, texts, or a live chat all accessible through the toolkit.

This centralized and comprehensive platform provides resources and assistance with the singular goal of removing barriers for those seeking help. All connections will be confidential.

If you think your computer usage might be monitored, call or text 1 (888) 774-2900 instead.

It is my honor to represent our district. I look forward to hearing from you about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any other topics you think I should know about. You can email me at or call me at (860)-240-8585. Thanks for reading, and I wish you a safe weekend.