State Senator Billy Ciotto, Access Health, Anna Reynolds Elementary Renovation

March 26, 2021
Tuesday was National Puppy Day! Please meet Dasher, my Boston Terrier.

Unfortunately, there will be no Facebook Friday this morning. I look forward to resuming the program next week. If you have any questions or concerns about the updates below, please email me at

Below you will find information on the following:

  • Vaccine Update 
  • Session Recap
  • State Senator Billy Ciotto
  • Access Health Update
  • CSCU Stimulus Payments
  • Anna Reynolds Elementary Renovation
  • Newington Community Champion Award
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Turco Talk Time
  • Newington Youth Essay Contest 
  • Veterans Advisory Committee
  • Legislative Priority Survey
Because of the efficient speed at which Connecticut’s vaccine providers have been getting doses out, Governor Lamont today announced that the state plans to accelerate its vaccine program even further. 

All adults in Connecticut over the age of 16 will now be eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment beginning April 1, 2021 – several days earlier than originally planned. (Previously, the eligibility date for this age group was April 5.)

The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session yesterday to discuss the extension of the state’s public health emergency declaration. 

While the end of the pandemic is in sight as more and more people get vaccinated, we cannot forget that we are still working through a global public health emergency.  Extending the emergency declaration will make Connecticut's transition to a post-COVID society successful and ensure we do not miss out on any federal emergency aid!  

Please click on the image below for a video outlining further details on session yesterday.

I am saddened to hear about the passing of the great former State Senator Billy Ciotto who represented Newington for over ten years.

Senator Ciotto was instrumental in helping me become State Representative for the 27th District. From the beginning of my campaign, he took me under his wing. He was confident from the beginning that I’d win. He immediately focused on giving me advice on how to be a great representative for Newington.

I will never forget what he taught me and I will work hard to live up to his example.

All who knew him were lucky, and for those who never had the chance, you should know that he helped make our communities the great places they are today. May he rest in peace.


Access Health CT (AHCT) continues to offer quality, affordable health care for those in need of coverage, especially during this public health crisis.

So far, thousands of Connecticut residents have taken advantage of a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) running now through April 15.

But wait! There is even better news.

If you buy insurance on the exchange, your monthly premiums could be as little as $5 per month or less. If you’re out of work, you may quality for 100% cost free coverage.

Some 18,000 households in Connecticut will have $0 premiums. On the conservative side, CT residents stand to save $85 million annually by buying their insurance on the exchange.

New federal relief dollars have created huge tax credits for those who buy insurance through AHCT and if you're a small business owner with 50 employees or less you can save money by using Access Health CT for health insurance coverage with significant subsidies from the federal government.

If you need quality, affordable, low cost health insurance, hesitate no more. Click on the button below to enroll.

    Click Here to Enroll

    Special Enrollment Period coverage effective dates and guidelines are as follows:

    Consumers enrolling from


    March 16-31


    April 1-15


    Plan effective date


    May 1, 2021


    June 1, 2021


    Customer must pay their first month’s premium (monthly payment) for coverage to begin.

    Customer must pay their first month’s premium (monthly payment) for coverage to begin.

    • Consumers will not be required to verify their eligibility for this Special Enrollment Period
    • Consumers currently enrolled in coverage through AHCT will not be eligible to use this Special Enrollment Period to change plans
    • Financial help will continue to be available to consumers who qualify.
    • Individuals who experience a Qualifying Life Event (e.g., loss of coverage due to job change or unemployment) or qualify for Medicaid/Children’s Health Program (CHIP), can continue to enroll year-round.

    Access Health CT reminds residents of the importance of maintaining their coverage throughout the year, and not just during this public health crisis. It is critical that uninsured individuals take advantage of this opportunity to protect their health, wellbeing and ensure they have access to needed services.

    Access Health CT will continue to offer free help:

    • Online: (and click the “Live Chat” icon)
    • Phone: 1-855-805-4325, Mon. – Fri. 8 AM – 4 PM
    • With Enrollment Specialists in the community
    • In-person at either of AHCT’s Navigator partner locations**:
    This week, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) began to process $14 million in direct Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) payments to eligible community college students, as authorized by the December 2020 federal COVID relief package. The amount paid to each student varies by institution and need, with higher payments going to students who have demonstrated greater need on their FAFSA.  
    The four Connecticut State Universities have also begun processing payments, and Charter Oak State College will begin in the next two weeks.

    At the community colleges, the average payment is approximately $400, but ranges from $44 to $1,500, depending on a student’s level of need. In order to be eligible, students must be enrolled in at least one credit-bearing class. International students on student visas and undocumented students – both of whom are prevented by the federal law from receiving this funding – as well as students on a CSCU employee waiver are ineligible to receive a payment.  
    At the state universities, the average payment is approximately $580, with maximum payments ranging from $758 to $828, depending on the institution. At Charter Oak, the average payment is $1,000, with maximum payments of approximately $1,500. 
    Students who had previously signed up for direct deposit will begin receiving payments as soon as today; all others will receive physical checks, which will be mailed on or before April 1. The money may be used to cover any part of the cost of attendance at college or for emergency costs that arise because of the coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care including mental health care, or childcare. 

    Great news... House Bill 6617, which will authorize state grant commitments for school building projects, has made it through another important step in the process. The bill was passed out of the Education Committee yesterday and is now heading to the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee. This proposal includes over $20 million in funding towards the Anna Reynolds Elementary School renovation project. 

    I will be working next to ensure it passes out of the Finance Committee and to the floor of the House.

    Click the image below to read the bill!

    Today I launched the Newington Community Champion monthly award to honor champions in the Newington community. This award aims to acknowledge Newington residents who are advocating and contributing towards positive change in the community (i.e. Non-profit organizers, Eagle Scout, Volunteers, etc…)

    There will be one award given each month. In order to nominate a Newington friend or neighbor, please email with the following information:  

    • Newington Resident's Name 
    • Reason for Nomination 
    • Nominee Contact Information 

    Every year, and particularly this year, our community witnesses countless advocates fighting for positive change. These advocates come in all shapes and sizes from leaders of non-profit organizations, to students creating initiatives within our community. I think it is important for us to take the time to thank and honor these everyday champions for all that they do.

    Prior to nomination, please ensure that my communications team has the winner’s consent to publicize their hard work through a poster/graphic to be shared in Newsletter and on social media. All nominations must be submitted by the end of the month to be considered the following month’s award. On the last Friday of each month, the Newington Community Champion Award will be announced at 9AM on a Facebook Live video.

    Click Here for COVID Data Updates
    Click Here for Governor Lamont's Updates
    Specific Updates for Our Community
    Town Total Cases Total Deaths Number of Tests Total Confirmed Cases
    Newington 2,483 101 17,609 2,346
    State Rep. Gary Turco joins Newington resident Athena Loveland, who is in the process of starting a food truck business, to discuss HB-5391: An act concerning the operation of Food Trucks. This proposal aims to establish an easier and more efficient state-wide licensure and inspection process for food trucks to operate in all municipalities.
    HB 5391: Food Truck Operation 
    I am excited to launch The General Assembly’s Newington Youth Essay Contest for elementary and middle school students. This contest will allow Newington students to learn more about the CT government and critically analyze how legislation can improve our community. I can't wait to read the creative proposals developed by our youth!
    The General Assembly’s Newington Youth Essay Contest: Elementary and Middle school students

    Middle School Topic: What law can Connecticut create to improve in its efforts towards equality? (Ex. Public Ed, Public Health, Environmental Justice)
    Elementary School Topic: If you could create any new law in the state of CT to improve your community, what would it be?

    - Open to any Newington residents in elementary school or middle school
    - All essays may be submitted through email to
    - One entry per student
    - Announcement of winners: 1 elementary school winner and 1 middle school winner
    ** While we understand parental assistance may be necessary for some spelling and grammar, we ask that each student actively brainstorms and crafts their own response.

    Deadline: April 7th, 2021

    There will be 1 elementary school winner and 1 middle school winner. Each of these students will receive an Official recognition from State of Connecticut and a personal tour and lunch at the capital (after COVID).

    - 12 pt. Font
    - Times New Roman
    - Double Spaced, 1 in. Margins
    - Name, School, and Grade written in top left corner
    - Title: Creative name for your law
    Elementary school: 1 page max, any length under 1 page will be considered
    Middle school: 2 pages max, any length under 1 page will be considered

    - To engage students in understanding the value of government
    - To offer students a voice with regards to community values
    - To encourage creative problem solving of inequality that students see within their community
    - Acknowledge students for their potential and efforts in writing

    If you are a Newington veteran, the family member of a Newington veteran, or anyone interested in helping veterans in Newington, and across CT, then please join me this coming Monday for the first Advisory Committee meeting. This is an opportunity to ensure the voices of veterans and active service members are heard throughout the legislative process. Members of this committee will help inform decisions made at the state capitol and will also learn about the legislative process, bill tracking and more.

    If you are interested in joining the committee, please email me at


    The 2021 Legislative Session began on January 6th. During this time, I will face many tough choices which is why it is so important for me to get feedback from you about the most pressing issues facing Newington. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete this survey and help me better represent our district at the state capitol.

    As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you or your family is in need of assistance or if you would like to share an opinion with me. It’s an honor to serve as your state representative and I look forward to hearing from you about ways we can improve Connecticut for all of us.

    Click Here for Survey