NEWTOWN – State Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106), J.P. Sredzinski (R-112), and Will Duff (R-2), along with State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28), hosted a Town Hall meeting on Monday, January 29th at the C.H. Booth Library. The event was free, open to the public and attracted a full-room of engaged, passionate residents.
Each legislator began with a brief introduction, presented a summary issues of importance to their district and our opportunities for improvement at the state level. But the primary purpose of the Town Hall was to give residents the chance to speak directly with, ask questions to and discuss topics of importance with their representatives in Hartford. Subjects ranged from job creation and state’s economy, to transportation and infrastructure needs, to concerns about high taxes, our state’s real estate stagnation and the need to reverse the disturbing outward migration that’s both a reaction-to and cause-of many of Connecticut’s fiscal challenges.
“It is important that we as legislators meet with our friends and neighbors in-district before the legislative session begins,” explained Rep. Bolinsky. “The questions and opinions we receive, whether at meetings like this, around town, at a store, a movie, an email or phone call help us understand what people are truly concerned about. This guides my legislative efforts and influences my votes on committee or other legislator’s proposals. Whether working in an Appropriations subcommittee on the state budget, or in committee on a deficit mitigation plan, I represent Newtown’s needs and values. Right now, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is bringing Connecticut’s budget to a point of financial sustainability and predictability. I also represent Newtown on the Education Committee. For our community, compromising our excellent schools is not an option. Yet, we battle every session to maintain our state Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) grants, our Special Education Cost Sharing grants and to repel the imposition of costly ‘one-size fits-all’ state mandates. On the Aging Committee, in the I/DD Caucus, with AARP and ARC, I’m a watchdog for many of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors. To do this job right, you have to passionate about a lot of things, listen, learn and take action. I have the passion.”
“Unfortunately, this is a deeply uncertain time for Connecticut, especially when the legislature really doesn’t know whether the state will have sufficient revenue to fund its current spending levels,” said Rep. Sredzinski. “The fiscal crisis leaves us with so few options, but we still have to work to trim the size of government while also growing our tax base. Connecticut’s current situation and method of doing business is so perplexing to people, so I am glad we had such a good turnout at the Town Hall on Monday. I hope my constituents will use my office as a resource to help them answer further questions that they have about state government.”
“We had a great conversation about the direction of our state. The state employee union deal, I opposed in July, is now wreaking havoc with our current state budget which remains in perpetual deficit. The union deal ties the hands of state legislators who want real structural reform and instead puts Newtown and other communities in jeopardy of losing their state aid,” Rep. Will Duff said. “We, as the Newtown Delegation, stand united against any cuts to our education or municipal state aid.”
“We urge residents to be vigilant and stay actively engaged,” Sen. Hwang said. “Tell me what is important to you by signing up on www.SenatorHwang.com for our CT Capitol updates. Follow each of us on social media. Share your thoughts and ideas on how to improve our quality of life in Newtown and throughout Connecticut. We all love this state, we are listening, and we need you to raise your voice. We represent you in Hartford, and we appreciate the honor of serving your best interests.”
The 2018 Legislative Session convenes next Wednesday, February 7th and will adjourn on Wednesday, May 9th.