State Capitol Update for the Week of October 28November 1, 2019
This is my State Capitol update for the week of October 28. If you would rather watch than read, check out the link at the bottom of the page.
Halloween and the World Series
I hope you had a happy Halloween yesterday, and managed to stay dry. As empty nesters, my husband and I are no longer responsible for our kids’ Halloween costumes, or for squiring them around the neighborhood in pursuit of treats and tricks. We miss that, but we also traded a lot of stories yesterday about similarly soggy Halloweens past when homemade costumes proved less than sea-worthy and our kids ended up dragging around heavy, water-logged costumes. The tales make for excellent family lore.
And, congratulations to the Washington Nationals on winning the World Series! As many of you know, we’re a baseball family, and we all stayed up, in our various locations, to watch the Nationals win an amazing Game 7 last night. We were rooting hard for the Nationals for a couple of reasons. One is that, growing up in Ohio as a fan of the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Indians, I have developed an affinity for the underdog, which the Nats definitely were. Second is that pitching ace Stephen Strasburg, who was the series MVP, once played for the Torrington Twisters, a former New England Collegiate Baseball League Team. So we’ll count that as a hometown win.
I get a lot of them. You probably do, too – on the phone, or in your mailbox with impressive envelopes that let you know how lucky you were to be selected for participation. While some surveys are simply creative and malicious ploys to gain personal information, there are legitimate ones, which makes them harder to dismiss.
I’ve had several well-intentioned surveys arrive in my inbox recently, asking me for my views as a legislator on a wide range of topics including “issues affecting children and families” (doesn’t everything?). Even though the survey included more than 100 questions, the instructions insisted that I should be able to complete it in 20 minutes. In theory, I suppose I could fill it out quickly with knee jerk responses, but I think that’s destructive. Not only does it produce data that isn’t worth much, but it requires policy-makers to give off-the-cuff responses to complicated questions, rather than doing thoughtful research with an open mind. Politics is already filled with people who arrive at an issue with a pre-ordained position set by someone else’s talking points – we don’t need more of that. Unless I have the time to be thoughtful, I tend to skip them. So the next time someone tries to prove something with a survey like that, we should all ask some questions.
Governor’s Workforce Council
The Governor announced earlier this week the creation of the Governor’s Workforce Council. Arising out of legislation we passed this past session, the council will be comprised of leaders from the business, education, and labor sectors. Together, the council will work to knock down barriers among state government agencies to improve workforce development. The Connecticut Office of Higher Education has found that by 2025, about 70 percent of workers will need some form of education and training beyond high school, so enhancing connections and communication between business, education, and labor could not be more important. Community colleges will play a critical role here in designing programs that meet business workforce needs and connect to residents looking for a job or a new career. Click here for more information on the Council and its members.
The CT Fund for the Environment announced that UI and Eversource have reduced the price of an energy audit by half, to $75. An energy audit is a great way to cut your energy bill and help the environment. By sealing air leaks, upgrading lighting, installing water-saving devices, etc. it’s estimated that this audit equates to about $1,000 in services for the average home, and an annual average savings of $200. Click here if you are a UI customer and click here if you use Eversource.
Around the District
- Earlier this week, I spent some time at LARC, the Torrington-based agency charged with helping intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals in Litchfield County. I am always impressed by the people who work there and the creative ways they surmount challenges. Among the topics this week was the work their clients are doing in local businesses and governments, including at BD in North Canaan, for ITW in Lakeville, and cleaning the police barracks in North Canaan. They went out of their way to express what a strong partner the business community has been in establishing these relationships that help all involved.
- I’ve been attending many candidate meet and greet events recently as we gear up for municipal elections next week. There is a lot of skill, experience, and dedication in evidence amongst the many people who are running for local office and it’s been a privilege to get to know some of them.
- The NW Hills Council of Governments held a recent forum on placement of solar fields. Smaller fields (below 1 Megawatt) are largely regulated by local planning and zoning officials, while larger arrays have to be approved by the CT Siting Council. Solar energy, and other renewables, are a critical piece of moving our economy forward while protecting our environment, but their placement can have an undesirable, sometimes unintentional, environmental effects, so the forum made suggestions for issues local planning and zoning officials should consider in advance of having to make decisions on placement, and highlighted the need for environmental expertise on the CT Siting Council.
- Friday 11/1 at 4:00 pm: Meet and Greet for Torrington candidates at Pizzeria Marzano in Torrington
- Sunday 11/3:
- 11:00 am: Run with the Animals, a race benefiting the NW CT YMCA held at Action Wildlife in Goshen
- 3:00 pm: Civic Life documentary films by Cornwall Consolidated Students at the Cornwall Library
- 5:00 pm: Meet and Greet for Cornwall candidates at the Cornwall Library
•Tuesday, 11/5 ELECTION DAY! Don’t forget to vote in municipal elections on Tuesday.
Finally, daylight savings time comes to an end on Sunday, November 3, at 2:00 am. This is the good one, when we get an extra hour of sleep, so don’t forget to reset your clocks.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (860)-240-8585. Thanks for reading, and I wish you a safe weekend.