Statement Regarding the Valley Fire School

June 21, 2019

I appreciate all the concerns I have heard regarding the lack of progress with bonding of the Valley Fire School. Nobody is more disappointed than I am in light of the meticulous and aggressive efforts that I have made over the past several months. I want to emphasize that I have been pursuing the Valley Fire School through proper channels to ensure that this project would move forward. I have included a summary of some of the steps I have taken, including submitting the official bond request on February 5th and working with the Department of Administrative Services all spring to get the Valley Fire School’s bid redone, which I accomplished in May of this year. I hope this will properly inform you of my individual efforts and clear up any misinformation you may have.

  • Last summer and fall, I had multiple conversations with then-candidates Lamont and Bysewicz and their staff regarding this project. It was from these discussions that they decided to come to our region and pledge to get the fire school project back on track.
  • In December, prior to being sworn in, I attended my first legislative Fire/EMS caucus.
  • Upon being sworn in on January 9th, my first order of business was to speak to leadership about the process to acquire the fire school funds.
  • Over the remaining weeks of January I worked with the Valley Fire School and various state personnel to assemble the necessary data and backup documentation to submit a formal request for funds.
  • January 24th I met with the Chair of the Bonding Committee, who has a seat on the Bonding Commission.
  • January 30th I met with the Governor regarding the Fire School.
  • February 5th I submitted a Bond Request Form and accompanying packet, the legitimate and proper avenue to request funds.
  • February 13th I spoke with the Governor again about the Fire School.
  • February 19th I met with the Chair of the Appropriations Committee and discussed the fire school.
  • February 28th I met with Lt. Governor Bysewicz and discussed the Fire School.
  • March 5th, the Speaker of the House held a Fire School Meeting which I attended, which included the State Firefighter’s Association, the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, members of the Fire & EMS caucus, and the board members of various fire schools including the Valley Fire School.
  • March 5th, set up an additional meeting with the Speaker for the following day.
  • March 6th I met with the Speaker of the House and presented in detail a 3-inch thick binder of history and materials I had assembled and organized regarding the fire school project, including past emails with the state, site plans, and other pertinent documentation.
  • March 7th I met with the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), to discuss the Fire School project and sending it back out to bid (it was pending on if it needed a re-bid), followed up with Speaker’s Chief of Staff.
  • Updated my Bond Request with additional, recently updated data.
  • March 13th, Spoke with House Majority Leader about the Fire School.
  • March 21st, Met with the Office of Policy Management about the Fire School.
  • March 22nd, DAS Confirmed the Fire School must go back out to bid, DAS instructs staff to prepare the relevant paperwork
  • March 28th – Meeting w/ Deputy Commissioner of Dept. of Admin Services re: Fire School.
  • April 11th – Fire/EMS Caucus Meeting.
  • April to June, Extensive discussions with various staffers at the Office of Policy Management, the Department of Administrative Services, the Governor’s Staff, the Lt. Governor’s Staff, the Board of the Fire School, the Speaker, his Chief of Staff, and the Majority Leader, members of the Bond Commission, Fire/EMS Caucus members, other legislators, and various other staffers and personnel relevant to the project.
  • In April the Fire School went back out to bid.
  • May 28th I received word the bid process was completed.
  • May 29th I received a copy of the bid results, forwarded to be included with the bond request and Fire Service Day was held at the Capitol.
  • June 3rd I discussed the Fire School with the head of the Bonding Committee.
  • In June I continued conversations with various key figures advocating for the project.
  • June 18 I met with two members of the Office of Policy Management and Governor Lamont’s Legislative Liaison regarding the Fire School, Fire School Funding, and next steps. Also spoke with the Speaker of the House.
  • Throughout this process I have been working closely with the President and Secretary of the Valley Fire School, who were brought to Hartford on more than one occasion this year to meet with proper departments and authorities regarding the project.

I will continue to work tirelessly through proper legislative channels in my efforts to advance this project.

Before closing, let me just say that this project is deeply personal to me. I grew up in a fire family, I know intimately what volunteer firefighters do on calls, and how hard they work to maintain proper fire service and ensure public safety. It is a way of life that is selfless and it is a family. I will continue to fight for the fire school, our firefighters, and the public’s safety at every turn, as a faithful and diligent daughter of the fire service.