Reps. Duff & Ferguson Visit Abbott Tech, Learn about Program


DANBURY- State Reps. Will Duff (R-2) and Michael Ferguson (R-138) spent the morning of March 14th touring Henry Abbott Technical High and learning about the programs at the school.

Abbott Tech has over 600 students from 18 different towns. The school has undergone major renovations to create new, state-of-the-art shop facilities, computer labs and classrooms.

Both Reps. Duff and Ferguson mentioned how there are bill proposals in the pipeline this legislative session to promote manufacturing jobs in our state including establishing public-private partnerships for apprenticeship programs.

The legislators visited Abbott Tech with the new Superintendent of the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS) Jeff Wihbey, as part of his Superintendent Entry Plan. The superintendent and state representatives conducted classroom visits and meets with Abbott Tech’s principal, Stacy Butkus, students, teachers and staff.

While visiting with Abbott Tech officials, the administration mentioned to the two legislators that one of their big issues is how difficult it is to hire teachers and staff in a timely manner due to the slow and bloated state bureaucracy. Both lawmakers agreed that it should be a priority of state government to streamline this process to make it easier, and align with what traditional public school districts procedures are.

Abbott Tech offers a comprehensive high school and Career Technical Education in 12 occupational careers. Each graduate receives a high school diploma and a certificate in their chosen trade. In addition, Abbott Tech serves adult education students in various apprentice and extension courses.

Rep. Will Duff Works to Boost CT Manufacturing


HARTFORD-State Rep. Will Duff (R-2) today voted in favor of two proposals that look to address and support Connecticut manufacturing.

 The first piece of legislation is SB-51, An Act Establishing a Small Business Manufacturing Pipeline, which would create a network of workforce-related programs across in Connecticut.

 The purpose of a state-wide pipeline would be to help facilitate education and industry partnerships through data sharing and programming to develop and train workforces in high growth industries in the state.

Currently, there is an Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative and this bill would expand the pipeline statewide.

The model looks to align jobseeker skills with the specific hiring needs of the employer through a training program designed by a collaboration of industry and academia. Participants completing training earn stackable community college certificates and pre-apprenticeship certification, and are prepared for on-the-job training at dozens of regional manufacturers.

 The second proposal Rep. Duff supported is SB-213, An Act Concerning the Development of Public-Private Partnerships for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Opportunities which would to establish a quasi-public agency responsible for establishing public-private partnerships for apprenticeship and work-based opportunities.

The legislation would provide a connection between educational institutions, businesses, and our future workforce.

 “Our students and our state need more apprenticeship programs that support our growing need for skilled workers in manufacturing, said Rep. Will Duff. “Local experiences as part of a comprehensive high school, will lead to productive careers within our state and locality, provide wages and benefits for families, the purchase of homes in Connecticut, and students in our schools.” 

“By including institutions of higher education and the State’s technical education system we not only provide opportunities directly to Connecticut’s young work force, but also gives these institutions the opportunity to partner with business in order to develop high-quality, effective programs that address the workforce needs in the state,” said Rep. Duff.

Both these bills look to boost manufacturing in our state, specifically to address the difficulty manufacturers face in finding skilled workers, with the number of unfilled manufacturing jobs currently at 13,000.

State Rep. Will Duff: Public Hearing on Tolls – 3/5


Because the issues of transportation and the possibility of tolls coming back to Connecticut are critical to our communities, I am writing to let you know that the Transportation Committee will be holding an important public hearing on Wednesday March 14th, at 10:30 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford with the major topic being tolls.

Transportation is such a critical issue for the residents in the greater Danbury area. I want to make sure your voice is heard.

A few of the bills on the public hearing agenda are proposals to bring electronic tolls to our state. Click to view the list of bills.

I encourage you to let your voice be heard. This is your chance to let the Transportation committee know your thoughts on implementing electronic tolls on all major highways, including I-95, I-91, I-84, I-395, I-691, as well as Route 2, Route 6, Route 7, Route 8 and Route 15.

You can testify in-person at the hearing. (Click here for a guide for testifying at hearings and here for driving directions to the Connecticut State Capitol and Legislative Office Building).

You can also email testimony on any of the bills at  Your comments can be as brief as you like, but there is no limit on the length of written testimony. Just include your name and town, include the subject of the bill in the subject line of the email, and copy my office at

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact my office at (800) 842-1423, or email me at You can also follow my legislative activity on my website at  or my Facebook page at


I hope this information is helpful.

State Rep. Will Duff, Legislators Applaud DOT Commissioner, Commuters for Productive Multi-Town Community Forum


DANBURY–On Tuesday night, State Reps. State Representatives Will Duff (R-2), Stephen Harding (R-107) and Senator Michael McLachlan (R-24) along with area drivers, bus and train commuters, and had a chance to voice their frustrations with the conditions of Connecticut’s transportation system, proposed fares hikes and offer ideas for improvements at a forum with the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT) James Redeker.

The forum was sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators from the Route 7 corridor who are concerned that in the last few months, the state DOT has proposed raising rail and bus fares 21.28 percent over the next 3 years, significantly reducing rail service on the Danbury and Waterbury Lines. Additionally, the governor has cancelled over $4 billion in transportation projects state-wide and introduced a proposal to bring tolls back to the state, raise the gas tax 7 cents over 4 years and implement a new ‘tire tax’.

The forum was held in the Council Chambers at Danbury City Hall. State legislators in attendance were: State Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown), Will Duff (R-Bethel), Adam Dunsby (R-Easton), Michael Ferguson (R-Danbury), Steve Harding (R-Brookfield), Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton), Fred Wilms (R-Norwalk), David Arconti (D-Danbury), Bob Godfrey (D-Danbury) and Senator Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury).

“We need to be cognizant that many people rely on public bus transportation as their only means of transportation, and without it some could not get to and from work,” said Rep. Will Duff. “I want to thank the riders HARTransit for attending our transportation forum. A 15 percent cut to state subsidies for HARTransit in Danbury proposed for July 1st, by the state DOT, will threaten much needed bus routes and services for disabled people. It is my hope Commissioner Redeker listened to those who spoke and need the bus service.”

Rep. Harding said, “It is readily apparent that Gov. Malloy’s cuts to our local transportation system will be devastating to our entire community. I stand strong with our residents against these proposed cuts and will continue to fight for proper funding to our local transportation.”

Sen. McLachlan said, “I hope Commissioner Redeker was listening to all the people who took the time to attend this forum and share the enormous negative impact the administration’s proposals will have on businesses, commuters, and the entire community. The Connecticut economy is suffering from the already high taxes and fees imposed by Governor Malloy’s administration. Reduced schedules, increased fares, tolls, an increase in the gas tax, and all the other ways that have been proposed to suck more money out of taxpayers’ pockets; these will further cripple the economy and drive even more businesses and residents out of state.”

Sen. McLachlan along with Reps. Duff and Harding said they will work for other bi-partisan solutions to the state’s transportation problems.

Rep. Will Duff serves the communities of Bethel, Danbury, Redding and Newtown.

Rep. Stephen Harding serves the communities of Bethel, Brookfield and Danbury.

Sen. Michael McLachlan represents the communities of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman.

Rep. Duff Thanks Bethel Residents Successful Food Drive


BETHEL-State Reps. Will Duff (R-2) and Stephen Harding (R-107) concluded a successful food drive in the month of February which benefits the Bethel Community Food Pantry and the Bethel families’ in-need.

“I was proud to lend a helping hand to Bethel residents who are in-need of a helping hand,” Rep. Will Duff said. “This successful food drive proves that if we all work together we can make a difference in our community.”

According to the Bethel Community Food Pantry there was 128 lbs. of food collected during the month of February.

For anyone who is in-need they can visit every other Tuesday and choose their own non-perishable food plus bread, fresh fruit and vegetables and, when available, meat and dairy products. The BCFP also offers items not covered by food stamps, such as toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant and laundry detergent.

The Bethel Community Food Pantry (BCFP) is a non-profit, community-based, 100 percent volunteer-run food pantry in downtown Bethel. The BCFP provides free food and hygiene items to Bethel residents in need year around.