State Capitol Update for Week of October 14

October 18, 2019

This is my State Capitol update for the week of October 14. If you would rather watch than read, check out the link at the bottom of the page.

American Mural Project
Many of this week’s events were centered around the importance of work and the impact it has on our lives, culture, and economy. Personally, when I have faced setbacks of one kind or another that life brings all of us, it is invariably work that has pulled me out. It’s what my husband and I have tried to impart to our kids: learn to enjoy working on something, and you’ll have much more direction and control over your own life path.

On Friday, October 11, a group of regional educators and arts professionals gathered with Senator Chris Murphy, Representative Michelle Cook and me at the American Mural Project in Winsted. The American Mural Project is the brainchild of artist Ellen Griesedieck, its founder and artistic director. The project is a massive mural that seeks to inspire, invite collaboration, and to reveal to people of all ages the many contributions they can make to American culture. It celebrates work of all kinds, and the ingenuity, productivity and commitment that propel it. This meeting focused on the importance of arts education, and creativity, to our children’s development and studies. This is important to Ellen, who believes working with young people is a critical component of the project. We all left inspired and filled with ideas. It’s a powerful experience and I would encourage you to stop by or schedule a tour if you can- if you are interested, check out their website.

Governor Lamont Visits Torrington and Norfolk
On Tuesday, October 15, Governor Lamont came out to the Northwest Corner, touring small businesses in Torrington and then making a trip out to Norfolk. At Infinity Hall in Norfolk, the Governor even gave us a concert on the piano, just to make sure the acoustics were up to snuff (they were).

Before the Governor arrived for the tour, I visited my friends Eric Haggard and Kimberly Rock, who are expanding Eric’s business,, to a new location in Torrington. The two are rehabbing the property using their prodigious design skills and work ethic. The renovation work is happening in whatever intervals they can find between running the actual business and taking care of their daughters, but their commitment to Torrington, and the people who work and live there, and their enthusiasm about its future, is contagious.

Other Events
As mentioned before, calendars are exploding with events for this time of year. I spend a fair amount of time apologizing for being unable to attend some because I have two or three other events at the same time. A small sampling from last week:

  • Salisbury Fall Festival I ran in the race benefiting Housatonic Youth Services Bureau on Saturday, which starts and ends at Salisbury’s iconic ski jumps. And I did my pre-race warm up by touring the scarecrows on display as part of the annual competition.
  • Women’s Support Services (, a domestic violence agency based in Sharon and covering the towns in Region One, held their annual vigil on October 17, honoring victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence. This year’s event was held in Kent Town Hall, and, as always, was both heartbreakingly sad and empowering as we heard from the many, many local people involved in the fight to end domestic violence.
  • Empty Bowls, a nationwide event to raise awareness of about hunger in our communities, took place on October 17. All proceeds went to benefit the Community Soup Kitchen of Torrington, and the Torrington Elks Lodge Ballroom was packed with people making a difference, and enjoying the delicious soups donated by an array of restaurants, institutions, and individuals from the area.

Upcoming events:
Our Culture is Beautiful, an organization that celebrates diversity in Torrington, will host Multicultural Day Today, October 18. This event is a great way to learn more about the various cultures of Torrington residents. The festival will be held from 5:30 to 8:00 pm in Torrington’s City Hall.

The Robert Layer Agency is hosting a Touch a Truck event in Goshen tomorrow, October 19. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Connecticut Alliance of Foster and Adoptive Families Children's Hope Fund. The event will take place from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

The Cornwall Fire House is hosting an open house this Sunday, October 20.

This Sunday, October 20, the Hotchkiss Library in Sharon will screen student documentaries. The event will be begin at 4:00 pm.

The Norfolk Hub is hosting a meet and greet for Board of Education candidates on Monday, October 21. Candidates from both parties are expected to attend. The event will begin at 7:00 pm.

Reminder: On Tuesday, October 22, I am holding a forum on prescription drugs. Generic drugs account for more than 90 percent of prescriptions filled, and skyrocketing prescription drug prices have increased taxpayer costs for publicly-funded healthcare programs. Attorney General William Tong and State Representative Sean Scanlon will join us, as well as other community leaders in the field. It will take place at North Canaan Town Hall at 9:30 am. I recognize this time may not work for some – it was the only time I could bring all of these people together. However, the event will be streamed on Facebook Live for all those who cannot attend in person.

The Susan B Anthony Project, a domestic violence and sexual assault agency based in Torrington, will host its annual vigil honoring victims and survivors Wednesday, October 23.

Access Health CT is hosting a series of community-based educational sessions around the state. These lectures, called “Healthy Chats”, aims to help Connecticut residents become familiar with the Open Enrollment Period that starts on Nov. 1, 2019: and understanding costs and the financial help that is available, choosing an insurance plan, and how and where to enroll. There will be a ‘Healthy Chat’ in Torrington on Tuesday, October 24. The event will be held at New Opportunities Inc. and will begin at 6 pm. Click here for more information.

The Warner Theater will be screening a locally produced and directed film Thursday, October 24.The film “Uprooting Addiction” is documentary that explores the impact opioids had on the Northwest Corner and outlines an impactful approach to address the root causes of addiction. For more information about this film and to learn more about other upcoming shows at the Warner Theater, check out their website.

Flu Season
Flu season, which runs from October to May, is in full swing so it is important to get vaccinated.

A flu shot early in the season gives the body a chance to build up immunity; however getting the vaccine later can still be helpful.

Public health officials are worried that we will have a severe flu season based on data from the southern hemisphere.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that last year, there were 37 million to 43 million flu illnesses in the U.S., and 36,400 to 61,200 flu-related deaths.
Click here to find a clinic that offers flu shots in your area.

Podcast Recommendations
As mentioned, I listen to a lot of podcasts and I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful recommendations from all of you. This week I wanted to share a suggestion from one of my daughters, particularly because it was so closely tied to this week’s theme about work. The podcast is titled “Julie Foudy: Laughter Permitted.”  Julie, a former member of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, has a resume filled with several athletic accomplishments. Most notably, she was a member of the 1999 squad that won the World Cup. Julie interviews female athletes, but you don’t have to follow soccer, or sports at all, to enjoy this podcast, which is all about grit, humor, teamwork, and, yes, a lot of plain old work. As a skier, the first episode I listened to was her interview of Mikaela Shiffrin, which, in addition to a lot of laughter, is about loving practice as much or more than races (see the work theme here?), and resilience after setbacks. 

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 and happy weekend.