All In With Reading Across America, Talking About HB5399, IRS Free File Program

March 6, 2024

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Dear Neighbor,

As I write this, I am taking a quick break from an eight-hour hearing (so far) in Planning and Development. One of the challenges we face during session is that as this hearing is going on today, so are the hearings of the other two committees I serve on, Public Health and Finance, Revenue, and Bonding. I am so grateful that we have recordings of all of these meetings so that we can go back and catch up on all of this important testimony from you, the public.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back in the office and testifying before another committee, Public and Safety regarding a bill I’ve been working on with Representative Kate Farrar and Representative Jillian Gilchrest. More information on how we are working to make the experience of reporting a sexual assault better for survivors below.
It’s Read Across America Week and I hope you’ve had time to read yourself or read to a child. I’m very grateful to the schools in Avon and Canton that invited me in to read this week. We are so lucky to have outstanding teachers, librarians and media specialists in our schools. Check out the photos in this issue.
I’ve got to get back to my hearings, and I hope you have a great week!


It’s Read Across America Week and I’ve had two great opportunities to read to children in our district. Last week, I read to fourth-grade students at Pine Grove School in Avon and yesterday, I read to second-grade students at Cherry Brook Primary in Canton.
The book I chose to share with both classes is a favorite of mine, “House Mouse, Senate Mouse,” by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes. It’s an easy way to explain to kids what my job is at the state level by showing them this book that talks about the federal level.
The fourth graders in Avon had very precocious questions and parents should be very proud! The first little girl asked me “Why does everything cost so much?” and when I asked her a follow-up question on what items she meant, she said gas and groceries. That led to a fascinating discussion on both greedflation and shrinkflation and inflation in general. I also fielded many questions about the President of the United States and if I had ever met him.
The second graders in Canton were similarly filled with questions. Not only did we cover what I actually do for a living and how they could send a letter to the President. We also had questions about World War III.
Several takeaways for me: Our children are really curious and learning all the time. They are also carrying anxieties that many of us didn’t have when we were in school.
I encouraged them to stay open and listen to their friends even when they disagree or have differing viewpoints—especially when it comes to politics. I also shared with both groups that at least at the State House, there is a lot more working together between our political parties than the news might suggest.
I also did a video for Read Across America Day which was Saturday. You can check out some of my favorites in the video.

As you may recall, we screened the Netflix Documentary Victim/Suspect last fall. Among other cases from across the country, it highlighted two cases in Connecticut where women came forward with sexual assault accusations and were accused of filing false police reports (they were not) and they went from victim to suspect as the title suggests.

Tomorrow, I will testify on HB5399: AAC THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESPONSE TO SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS not just on behalf of the constituent who was involved in one of these cases, but also on behalf of sexual assault victims across Connecticut who would be more likely to come forward if they felt they were being treated as trauma victims with an appropriate trauma-informed response. While I know this is happening already in some departments, it’s through conversations with law enforcement that my colleagues and I realized that what law enforcement wants is a model policy and that’s what this bill would address.
I look forward to seeing the progress of this bill and encourage you to not only watch the documentary but also check out the Reveal podcast episode, From Victim to Suspect, that preceded the documentary. It specifically references the case in Canton.

Connecticut has a long history of female pioneers who brought progress to our state and the rest of the country. Women in our state have consistently risen to positions of leadership within the political landscape, showcasing their outstanding abilities and commitment to public service.
  • We are home to the first boarding school for women of color, which opened in 1831 in Canterbury.
  • Helen Keller was one of Connecticut’s most influential women for her fierce support and advocacy of women’s suffrage, legalization of birth control, and benefits for people with disabilities.
  • Ella T. Grasso was the first woman elected Floor Leader in the Connecticut General Assembly, the first woman to chair the Democratic State Platform Committee, and the first woman in the U.S. to be elected governor. 
  • Antonia “Ann” Uccello was the first woman in Connecticut to be elected mayor of a municipality, and she was the only woman to head a major U.S. city during the Civil Rights era.

Today, U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro continues to break barriers.

Click Here To Read More About Women’s History in Connecticut
The early voting dates for the 2024 Presidential Primary are March 26th, 27th, 28th, and 30th with local polls open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Presidential Primary is April 2. Voting is from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at your local polling place. For more voter information, please click on the image below.
The IRS Free File Program offers eligible taxpayers the opportunity to file their taxes electronically for free. Over 70 percent of taxpayers are eligible to use the service. For more details, please click HERE.
The Canton Greater Community Fund is urging you to apply for grant assistance if you have a project that serves the residents of Canton. The grants being offered range from $250 to $10,000! Applications are due March 15th. Please see the flyer below for more details.  
Please support a fundraiser for the Avon Lions Club at Puerto Vallarta, 15 West Avon Road in Avon, on Tuesday, March 12, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Please click on the image for more details from a story that appeared in our local Patch.
Puerto Vallarta
I have heard from many of you since adding the survey and I want to thank you all for your responses. I do read them. I also use them to inform my positions and representation of our district. This will be the last week I include it in the newsletter. If you haven't done so, please take my survey - and thank you for helping make me a better legislator!

Eleni Kavros DeGraw
State Representative

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