Currey-ently: Trying to Improve our Education System!

January 20, 2023


Staying Current with Currey

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Friends and Neighbors,


As we end a work week where some attempted to jam 5 days of work into 4 (which may actually make some sense, but that’s a discussion for another day), I want to thank all who have reached out over these first couple of weeks of the legislative session.

We kicked things off on January 5th with the euphoric rush of being sworn in to office, some for the first time, only to awake the next day to hear that our friend and colleague, Q Williams, was no longer with us. Q's passing has left a hole the size of his smile in the hearts of so many under the dome and around our state.

After taking a few days away from the Capitol complex to refocus, the legislature returned the following Monday and it’s been a marathon of meetings, brainstorming sessions, and quick meals between elevator rides, all in an effort to keep our legislative priorities moving. As they do, I hope that you will continue to engage as bills are proposed, are given public hearings, and ultimately voted on in committees and (hopefully) the floor of the House and Senate.


If you are interested in keeping track of a particular piece of legislation, there are a number of ways to stay in the know: 

  • Read the Bulletin to find out when committees are meeting, how to provide public hearing testimony, and what bills they are focusing on.
  • Register for the CGA's Bill Tracking system to follow any bill as it moves through the legislative process. You will receive notifications when the bill's status changes.
  • For information on how to testify on a bill that is up for a public hearing, click here.
  • Access the CGA's Citizen's Guide for more on how you can become part of the process
  • Are you curious about how your tax dollars are spent? The State Comptroller's OpenConnecticut web portal allows residents to track state government spending in real time.

I hope you all have an easy weekend!


Jeff Currey

To stay up-to-date with everything happening in Hartford, click the "At the Capitol, In District, & Beyond" link below, but also please check out the other subject links in this intro to go right to the topic in the body of this email.

You can find additional resources and information on my web site, If there's something you need help with that isn't included in this email, please check my website. If you can't find what you're looking for there, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.


We continue to ask that our friends, family, and neighbors consider using all the tools within their reach to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Information for testing, vaccine clinics, and those who are homebound and need assistance are noted below. We must be in this together.

Overall Summary Cumulative

(except for hospital census)
Past 7 days
Positive PCR/NAAT Tests 1,042,898 3194
All PCR/NAAT Tests 16,122,577 26,339
Test Positivity (pos/all PCR/NAAT) -- 12.13%
Patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 649 -79
COVID-19-Associated Deaths 11,864 1
Click Here for COVID-19 Data Updates
Click Here for Governor Lamont's Updates
Click Here for Information on Getting Vaccinated

Specific Updates for Our Community


Town Total Cases Total Deaths Number of Tests Percent Positivity Past 7 Days (NAAT) 
East Hartford 15,652 20 242,182 38%
Manchester  14,183 201 237,593 32%

Children ages 5 through 11 can now receive the updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the new boosters for this age group and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention approved the authorization last week. The updated boosters will be available from pediatricians, hospitals/health networks, DPH mobile clinics, and pharmacies. Residents can visit to locate a provider near them. 

Vaccines continue to be effective tools in protecting residents from severe COVID-19 infections. To get vaccinated or your booster, please click here to locate vaccination sites in our community.

Information about getting vaccinated, including how to make an appointment and a list of clinics, is available on Connecticut's Vaccine Portal, here.

If you need assistance finding transportation to and from a vaccine appointment, you can find transportation resources here.

If you're a homebound resident, you can receive your COVID-19 shot at home. Complete the state Department of Public Health's Homebound Intake Form to get the appointment process started.


The Education Committee had it's first official meeting of the 2023 legislative session this week! I'm incredibly excited to serve as House Chair and be able to lead, along with a friend and colleague, Sen. Doug McCrory, the committee on this incredibly important work at such a defining moment in the world of education. 

Our first meeting was largely to organize our priorities for the session. We reviewed the concepts we intend to raise as bills and began the working of drafting legislation, including House Bill (HB) 5003

HB5003, one of the House Leadership bills introduced by Speaker Ritter, Majority Leader Rojas, and myself, will focus on fixing our disjointed education funding system and replacing it with a Student Centered funding model that will bring much needed resources into an overwhelming majority of our public schools.

You can view a complete agenda from our meeting here or watch a recording of the meeting here.  

I was proud to join Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and AFT Connecticut to outline what must be a top priority for this legislative session: our students, our teachers, and our school staff. The need for reform has never been clearer – 74 percent of educators are considering leaving the field because they are undervalued, underpaid, and are not receiving the resources or trust necessary for them and our children to succeed. 

Attracting and retaining talented educators and providing better resources is critical to our state’s future – supporting an educated and capable workforce begins the moment a child steps into a classroom. As Chair of the Education Committee, I’m looking forward to putting the trust back into the hands of our teachers and ensuring that schools systems have the funding needed to make these critically needed improvements.


You can find a recording of the press conference here.

Calling all EHPS graduating members of the Class of 2023! The East Hartford Alumni Association and Education Foundation is offering 15 opportunities for scholarships across 9 programs, totaling $27,500 in awards. Apply by March 1 for scholarships between $500 and $5,000 for undergraduate and vocational students alike. Learn more and apply by clicking here.


After Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's scary on-field cardiac arrest, the importance of learning CPR has been a national topic. Last week, FOX 61 featured the Manchester Fire Department's continued training of what's known as “Pit Crew CPR” – as it's pulled from the NASCAR Playbook.


Through this tactic, which Manchester First Responders have been using for years, when responding to a cardiac arrest each person is given a role to perform before they arrive on the scene to ensure the most efficient process.


Learn more about MFD's training here – and if you are interested in learning CPR, consider signing up for an upcoming American Red Cross training.

The adult-use cannabis marketplace officially opened as the first seven licensed retailers were permitted to begin selling cannabis products early last week. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (CTDCP) reported more than $2 million in sales in the first week - with the first day of sales bringing in about $359,100.

The retailers in Connecticut that have been licensed to sell cannabis products to all adults aged 21 and older include:

  • Affinity Health and Wellness (New Haven)
  • The Botanist – Danbury (Danbury)
  • The Botanist – Montville (Montville)
  • Fine Fettle Dispensary – Newington (Newington)
  • Fine Fettle Dispensary – Stamford (Stamford)
  • Fine Fettle Dispensary – Willimantic (Willimantic)
  • RISE Branford (formerly Bluepoint Wellness of Connecticut) (Branford)
  • Still River Wellness (Torrington)
  • Zen Leaf Meriden (formerly Willow Brook Wellness) (Meriden)

For more information about adult-use cannabis in Connecticut, visit

And remember - if you chose to partake, please do so safely and responsibly. 

The Town of East Hartford is partnering with several regional workforce development leaders in a national cohort called Reinventing Our Communities. That cohort is looking to expand opportunities that achieve equity and grow East Hartford's economy. Digital access and navigation are important elements to that work.


To help their efforts, East Hartford residents are asked to complete the digital access survey found here. Note that this survey is anonymous and any data you share will not be associated with you or any individual identifying information.

The Town of Manchester launched a new website for potential investors and stakeholders looking to invest in issued bonds by the Town. These bond issuances allow the Town to finance investments in public infrastructure throughout Manchester. 

The goal of the website is to offer a transparent and accessible avenue for the community and potential investors to seek information on the Town's financial reporting. Find the new website here.


Flu season is upon us and a yearly flu vaccine can help protect against serious illness. After getting the vaccine, it will take about two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that can protect you from the flu. To get a flu shot, check with your healthcare provider or call your local health department. You can also visit to find a location near you that is administering flu shots. For more information, please click here.

The East Hartford Health Department will now be offering regular vaccination services at the Community Cultural Center. Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent boosters, as well as Flu, will be offered for all ages 12+. Appointments are required and will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10AM-2PM. To schedule an appointment, call (860) 291-7324 (option 1).

The East Hartford Health Department has free COVID-19 test kits available. To get a kit, visit the Health Department at their new location in Room B09 of the Community Cultural Center. Especially ahead of traveling and gathering for the holidays – test is recommended for any individual currently experiencing symptoms or think they have been exposed to COVID-19 (i.e., fever, dry cough, and tiredness). For guidance on how to use the kits, click here.


For any questions regarding pediatric COVID-19 vaccines, booster dose eligibility, or to schedule an appointment at an upcoming clinic, contact the East Hartford Health Department at (860) 291-7324. If transportation is needed to get to and from a clinic site, please contact the Health Department for assistance.

The White House relaunched the program making free at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available to every U.S. household. Just as before, you can order tests through and enter your shipping information. Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests.


Medicare open enrollment began on Saturday, October 15. This is an opportunity to review your coverage and find out if you could save money on insurance. 

Residents who are 65 years and older have until December 7, 2022 to review coverage, compare plans, enroll in a new plan, and potentially save money. Coverage will begin in 2023. Click the button below to learn more about the Open Enrollment process and get started.

Learn More Here

If you need assistance choosing a plan during open enrollment, please call 1-800-MEDICARE. You can also call Connecticut's Program for Health Insurance Assistance, Outreach, Information and Referral, Counseling, Eligibility Screening (CHOICES) at 1-800-994-9422.

If you are not eligible for Medicare but need insurance coverage, the Access Health CT (AHCT) Open Enrollment period will begin on November 1. If you have experienced a qualifying life event where you lost your health insurance coverage, you can start the enrollment process prior to November 1. Learn more about AHCT Open Enrollment and Special Enrollment periods here.

For additional state and local resources, click the links below:


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced policy changes that will permit certain survivors of LGBTQ+ Veterans who were previously ineligible to receive survivors benefits. The decision will impact survivors who could not marry until the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015 and were therefore not married to their now-deceased Veterans spouses long enough to qualify for survivor benefits. Survivors can apply now to receive these benefits, which will be backdated to October 14, 2022. This is great news for survivors of Veterans across our state and country and will close a gap in survivor benefits. Additionally, in September 2021, the VA began providing benefits to veterans with OTH discharges due to their sexual orientation. 

During the 2021 legislative session, I proudly championed a law that expands the definition of veteran to include those separated from military service with an "other than honorable" discharge under the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. This law ensures more veterans can obtain the benefits they've earned serving our country.

Nearly two months after being signed into law, the federal Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act has profoundly impacted veterans' access to health care and benefits. Since the PACT Act was signed in August, veterans have filed more than 200,000 total claims. The law represents the most significant health care and benefits expansion for veterans exposed to toxins in more than 30 years.

The law extends eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras. It adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures, and requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a toxic exposure assessment to every veteran enrolled in VA health care. 

If you're a veteran or survivor, you can file claims now to apply for benefits under the PACT Act. You can learn more here.


Did you know the MyHomeCT program can help homeowners that are struggling to pay their mortgage and other housing-related expenses? Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Connecticut has been awarded approximately $123 million to establish MyHomeCT. The goal of the program is to cure mortgage delinquencies and defaults and prevent foreclosures among eligible homeowners.

The MyHomeCT Program will offer grant assistance (up to $50,000) which can reinstate, provide up to 12 months’ worth of go-forward payments, or a combination of both to eligible Connecticut homeowners who have suffered a financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The application portal is now open! Apply today by visiting or call (877) 894-4111 (toll free).

Stop by "Small Business Support Open Hours" on Friday, January 20, 10:30AM-12:30PM. Learn about help available for both aspiring and established small business owners and speak with professionals. Register here for a reminder. Walk-ins welcome!

Living Room Conversations offer a simple and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Join in-person, Sunday, January 29, 2PM-3:30PM or virtually, Tuesday, February 7, 6:30PM-8PM. Click here for more information and to register.

Girls Circle is a group approach to help girls ages 10-12 (grades 5-8) explore and learn about themselves, others, and the world. Learn more and register now by clicking here – group limited to 12 participants. Registration closes February 24.

Boys Council is a group approach to help boys ages 10-12 (grades 5-8) explore and learn about themselves, others, and the world. Learn more and register now by clicking here – group limited to 12 participants, facilitator is bilingual (Spanish and English). Registration closes February 24.

The Galleries @ WORK_SPACE is now accepting submissions for their exhibit. The deadline to submit is March 27; the exhibit "The Future of Manchester," will be open April 7-May 31. To submit your piece to WORK_SPACE, complete the form that is found here.

Join Eric Mintel, a paranormal investigator with decades of experience, as he sits down with playwright Jacques Lamarre, who witnessed multiple investigations of The Mark Twain House on Friday, January 20 at 7PM. This is a free event, with option to add-on a ghost tour of Cheney Hall for $5 in advance and $10 at the door. More information can be found here.

Join the Manchester Recreation Division for a free and fun community event intended to provide a safe and fun space for people to take a break from the winter blues on Saturday, January 21 from 11AM-1PM at Northwest Park. Click here to learn more and check out the great activities planned!

Stop by Whiton Memorial Library on Wednesday, February 1 at 6PM to take a tour of items from The Connecticut Historical Society’s collection representing a spectrum of the Black experience in Connecticut. No registration required – click here for more information.


Patrons of all ages will have the opportunity to play with a variety of puppets at this "Take Your Child to the Library Day" program on Saturday, February 4 from 11AM-1PM at East Hartford Public Library. Register for a reminder by clicking here.

Registration is open for the Manchester Recreation Department's Winter Playgroups at Northwest Park Early Childhood Center (448 Tolland Turnpike). Register now by calling the Recreation Department at (860) 647-3084. Playgroups are $36 for residents and $44 for non-residents.


Access Health CT is offering a free Broker Academy training program for candidates to become licensed health and life insurance Brokers. They will provide training, pay for exams, connect you with a mentor and help you get rolling!

A number of info sessions are coming up to help potential candidates learn more about the program - find more information here

Through the state's Department of Labor, the American Job Center offers resources, information, and support for individuals throughout the state searching for a job. You can receive help writing a resume and attend interview technique workshops for those currently on the job hunt. For more information, click here.

The State of Connecticut is hiring! You can find a variety of seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions. There are jobs open to members of the public as well as those already employed at a state agency or organization. You can find a full list of openings here.


Click here for the Town Meetings calendar.

Click here for the Community Events calendar.

Click here for information on the East Hartford Public Library. 

Click here for East Hartford Community Television. 



Click here for the Town Meetings and Community Events Calendar.

Click here for information on the Manchester Public Library. 

Click here for Manchester Public Television. 

Upcoming Meetings and Events

A full calendar of all events happening at the Capitol next week, including public hearings, is available on the General Assembly website

You can find the agenda for public hearings on the calendar by clicking on the calendar item and following the link to the committee page. For instructions on how to testify at a public hearing, please click here.

You can view a list of all the bills passed by the House this session here.
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