May 13, 2022
The 2022 legislative session came to an end last week but I wanted to include more information about what we accomplished through the budget, including maintaining a thriving economy and keeping Connecticut healthy.

I have mentioned the $600 million in tax cuts I voted for and the governor signed as part of the budget 

on Monday.

There is so much more in it that will benefit our district. 

I wanted to begin though, by including some news on funding for Avon Senior Center, Farmington High School, the Farmington Valley Green Living Festival set for Saturday, and a reminder that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Doing the Right Thing By Farmington High 
I am proud to see things come full circle regarding funding for the project at Farmington High School. A reimbursement rate of 30 percent ensures taxpayers will face no unexpected financial burden.
The Farmington delegation of lawmakers, including State Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford), State Senator Rick Lopes (D-New Britain), State Representative Mike Demicco (D-Farmington) and State Representative Tammy Exum (D-West Hartford), are cheering the restoration of full state funding support for renovation work being performed at Farmington High School.
In March, Sen. Slap and Rep. Demicco testified to the Education Committee seeking to ensure the reimbursement rate initially promised to the town, then reduced in December 2021, was restored to its original rate. The text of the 2022-23 state budget implementer lists Farmington as receiving a 30% reimbursement rate for the work, ensuring the town does not face a financial deficit of $915,000.
"Our delegation was vocal during the legislative session to ensure our town and our constituents were not financially harmed by a last-minute reduction in funding," said Sen. Slap. "I'm happy to see our voices were heard and the state has made Farmington whole, avoiding financial issues at the municipal level and ensuring this project moves forward without issue."
“A new high school is a big financial undertaking, but an important project for the future of Farmington.  This is why we, as your state elected officials, worked diligently to ensure the state helped pay its fair share of the costs,” said Sen. Lopes. “This ensures students will have a safe and state of the art facility, and local taxpayers will not have to carry the entire construction cost.”

“This substantial increase in Farmington's reimbursement rate for the high school construction project (from 19% to 30%) is great news for our taxpayers, teachers, parents, and students. This achievement is a testament to the experienced, effective leadership of Farmington's legislative delegation, and our solid working relationship with legislative leaders,” said Rep. Demicco. “Investing in the education of our youth is always good public policy.  I look forward to the groundbreaking ceremony in the fall!"
"I'd like to thank my fellow members of the Farmington delegation for sounding the alarm and righting a potential wrong," Rep. Exum said. "The taxpayers were promised an initial tax reimbursement rate and reducing it was wrong and would have been an unanticipated financial burden. This increased reimbursement rate is wonderful news for the Farmington community, and I am excited for the students of Farmington High, who will soon have a state of the art facility, of which they are so deserving.”
“The Town of Farmington is thrilled that our legislative delegation was able to increase our reimbursement rate," said Farmington Town Manager Kathy Blonski. "This is the largest project in the Town’s history and this increase will benefit the Farmington taxpayers.  On behalf of the Town of Farmington, I thank our legislators for all their hard work to make this happen.”
In late 2021, Farmington leaders were told the state's initially agreed-upon reimbursement rate for work renovating the "900 wing" of Farmington High School would be reduced after the project was approved at referendum. Under the project, the town is building a new high school and renovating the existing school to upgrade athletic facilities and its central administration office. Overall, other than the work for the "900 wing," the project had a reimbursement rate of 18.93%.
Section 389 of House Bill 5506, "An Act Adjusting The State Budget For The Biennium Ending June 30, 2023, Concerning Provisions Related To Revenue, School Construction and Other Items To Implement The State Budget And Authorizing And Adjusting Bonds Of The State" – put more simply, the legislation enacting the state's 2022-23 fiscal year budget – reads, "the town of Farmington may use the reimbursement rate of 30% for the new construction project at Farmington High School," with similar language also reflecting a similar reimbursement rate for construction of outdoor athletic facilities and the central administration facility project.

And at The Avon Senior Center....
I was proud to work with fellow Avon delegation member Eleni Kavros DeGraw to help secure funding for the Avon Senior Center.

State Representatives Eleni Kavros DeGraw (D-Avon/Canton) and Tammy Exum (D/West Hartford/Avon/Farmington) are praising the $100,000 appropriated through the recently passed state budget that will benefit the Avon Senior Center. Funding for the award is authorized under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

"There is no question that our senior citizens were among the groups most affected by the pandemic induced isolation of the past two years," said Dan Polhamus, Avon Town Council Chairman. "As we emerge from the pandemic, the funding secured by Representative Kavros-DeGraw and Representative Exum will ensure that the facility continues to meet the needs of the Avon Community."
Funding for the Senior Center will be used for renovations, including the replacement of carpeting, ceiling tiles and a potential multipurpose room at the Sycamore Hills Park facility on West Avon Road.
"I am grateful Avon will receive $100,000 to improve the Avon Senior Center," Rep. Kavros DeGraw said. "Our older residents deserve a great place to continue gathering, enjoying programs, and activities and I know the plans the town has for improvement will provide a great space for years to come."
"I am proud to have worked with Representative Kavros DeGraw to secure funding that enhances the Avon Senior Center,” said Rep. Exum. “These updates will meet the needs of our Seniors, while allowing for a more enjoyable, and aesthetically pleasing, gathering place.”
The Avon Senior Center supports the social, educational, recreational, cognitive, physical and psychological needs of all seniors, according to its website. It is committed to offering a safe and welcoming space to everyone and strives to enhance the quality of life for all older adults.

Farmington Valley Green Living Festival is Saturday
The Farmington Valley Green Living Festival takes place Saturday, May 14 at The Avon Congregational Church, 6 West Main Street, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Avon Clean Energy Commission.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the rest of the country work to raise awareness of mental health.

To read more about NAMI's Mental Health Month campaign, please click on the image below.

Also, please note resources NAMI has listed as available in times of need:
  • If you or a loved one are having a psychiatric crisis, and you need to call 9-1-1: Ask for a CIT trained officer and clinician. If there are none, explain your circumstances and ask for assistance. CIT trained police officers understand mental health issues.
  • For Youth or Young Adults in Crisis: Crisis Text Line - Text “LISTEN” to 741-741, or visit for more info.
  • For Parents of Children/Youth Call 2-1-1: Ask for Mobile Crisis Intervention Services for children.
  • For Veterans: The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24/7
This session, we presented a state budget proposal that not only includes $600 million in tax cuts, but it invests in our economic recovery. With our Rainy Day fund at a historic high and a projected budget surplus, Connecticut is in an opportune position to make groundbreaking investments in the following areas:
  • Arts and Culture
    • The pandemic had devastating impacts on Connecticut's arts sector. We're supporting the creative economy by investing in our museums, theatres, and other venues throughout the state. 
  • Social Services
    • Since the start of the pandemic, demand for nonprofit services has risen dramatically, and the high rates of inflation has impacted their operations. We're making direct investments in nonprofit agencies to help them keep up with inflation and continue serving our must vulnerable communities.
  • Minority-Owned Businesses
    • We're providing increased business development funding for minority-owned businesses to drive economic prosperity in our communities and make Connecticut more equitable.

We're also working to make Connecticut more affordable for families by making large cash investments in affordable housing.

As we've worked to address the economic challenges brought on by COVID and rising inflation, the budget plan we've put forth works to maintain our economic recovery and improve the quality of life for all residents.  

We also made investments in a range of health care related initiatives. The budget that we passed includes funding for: 
  • More tobacco prevention funding
  • Expanded screenings for breast and cervical cancer
  • New statewide registry for strokes
  • Increased funding to our specialty care hospitals
  • More psychiatric treatment beds
  • New home visit pilot for newborns
The budget includes $12 million for the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund. This marks a huge step in the right direction and sets Connecticut on the path to not only saving hundreds of thousands in tobacco-related healthcare costs but lives as well.
The state budget package that we approved helps workers at every stage in their career build their professional future. Our budget proposal:
  • Increases work opportunities for young adults
  • Expands the successful Manufacturing Pipeline program
  • Creates a new paid internship program at the state Department of Transportation
  • Approves economic incentives for Sikorsky tied to new federal contracts and expansion

These initiatives create new job opportunities and offer residents the tools to upgrade their skills and experience in order to access quality employment. I’m proud to support this budget, our workers and our state’s economic comeback.

Session Recap (Video)
Lastly, here's a recap of the 2022 legislative session. Enjoy!
2022 Legislative Session Recap