State Capitol Update for the Week of October 21

October 25, 2019

This is my State Capitol update for the week of October 21. If you would rather watch than read, check out the link at the bottom of the page.

As I say regularly, I’m a detail person. And you never get to see those details when you’re yelling or talking past others. I’ve had several vivid examples of that this week, demonstrating the value of civility, empathy and active listening skills over rhetoric that is empty, over-heated, or abusive.

One such event was a vigil held Wednesday by the Susan B Anthony Project, an agency combating domestic violence and sexual assault. It was held at in Coe Memorial Park in Torrington. This is the second such vigil I’ve attended this month honoring victims and survivors of domestic violence. Abusers are often the financially or socially dominant partner, who will sometimes use the courts or other governmental or social systems to isolate a victim and drown out her voice. As allies of our friends, neighbors, or loved ones who may be in abusive relationships, we should be careful not to let the loudest voice be the only one we hear. If we pay close attention, we can help make sure victims get the help they need. If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, reach out to either Susan B Anthony Project in Torrington or Women’s Support Services in Sharon and speak to a counselor who can provide guidance and resources.

Escalating Prices of Generic Drugs

On Tuesday I held a forum on the escalating prices of generic drugs, another instance where paying attention to the details makes all the difference in solving the problem. Generic drugs, which can be made and marketed after the patent has expired on brand name medication, were supposed to make prescription medications more affordable for all of us. Sadly, we have instead seen prices rise astronomically. Attorney General William Tong detailed litigation he is bringing, along with 48 other states, against generic drug manufacturers. A thorough and detailed investigation has revealed that these manufacturers, rather than competing with each other and bringing prices down, have instead colluded to keep prices high, or raise them at astronomical rates. Representative Sean Scanlon, the chair of the Insurance Committee, provided details on recent legislation that will require any drug company who substantially raises prices, to explain the reason for that price rise, ultimately giving the legislature more tools in establishing how to keep necessary medications affordable.

Meeting re Spraying of Railroad Tracks

On Thursday morning I held a meeting in Cornwall with representatives from the Department of Transportation, the Housatonic Railroad, selectmen from four affected towns, and concerned residents affected by recent spraying. There was tremendous value in having all of us sit at the same table, and then head out to walk the tracks together, as we formulate an approach that ensures the safety of everyone involved. There is still work to be done, and further meetings to be held, but improved communication is a big step forward.

Other Recent Events

In the last week I participated in an event of some kind in eight of the nine towns in the 64th District – apologies to Norfolk, but at least I brought the Governor last week! A sampling:

Friday, October 18

  • Multicultural Festival in Torrington, celebrating cultural pride and highlighting the power of diversity in our schools.
  • Jennifer Bellamy of CAFAF (CT Alliance of Foster & Adoptive Families) and I at the Touch a Truck event in Goshen, which raised nearly $500 for CAFAF.

Sunday, October 20

  • Cornwall Firehouse open house. I tried to see if I could meet the time test for getting suited up. (I cleared the hurdle, but not by much!)

Monday, October 21

  • A meeting with the Litchfield County Dental Society, which provided another opportunity for in person conversation about the challenges facing these small business owners.

Tuesday, October 22

  • Region One Interagency Task Force meeting at HVRHS in Falls Village. Focusing on strategies to combat substance abuse, addiction, and mental health challenges in Region One, this group brings a wide array of stakeholders together to solve on-the-ground problems.

Wednesday, October 23

  • Office of Early Childhood (OEC) held one of its listening sessions in Torrington, giving providers, oversight agencies, and parents a chance to give valuable feedback.

Thursday, October 24

  • The cast of superheroes combating addiction featured in the  film “Uprooting Addiction”, shown at the Warner Theater in Torrington.

Upcoming events:

Friday, October 25 starting at 6pm: Kent Affordable Housing (KAH) Makers & Bakers Market, a fundraiser for KAH, at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, starts with a Preview Party then continues on Saturday from 10am to 3pm. The Kent weekend is capped off by the Kent Pumpkin Run on Sunday. I will sadly miss the run this year as I have to take my daughter to the airport, but I wish the runners good luck - I will also miss seeing all the creative costumes!

Sunday, October 27 from 4-7pm: Salisbury Democratic Town Committee is hosting an opportunity to Meet and Greet local candidates at the Grove.

Halloween is a week away, and I wanted to highlight an initiative aimed at helping kids navigate the holiday.

Teal Pumpkins for Alleriges: Putting a Teal Pumpkin on your doorstep means you are offering non-food treats: colorful pencils, stickers, glow sticks, markers or small toys. This helps trick or treaters with food allergies or other conditions be able to participate without putting their health at risk.  Click here to learn more.

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.