Image

Rep. Michael Ferguson, Greater Danbury Legislators Hail ‘Successful’ Diaper Drive with Hopeline of Danbury

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

DANBURY – With a flurry of donations last week, State Representatives Michael Ferguson (R-138),  Will Duff (R-2), Stephen Harding (R-107), Richard Smith (R-108) and Adam Dunsby (R-135) in cooperation with Hopeline of Danbury finished a highly successful ‘Town-Wide Diaper Drive’ collecting thousands diapers.

State Reps. Michael Ferguson (R-138), Will Duff (R-2) along with Hopeline Director, Amy Spallino and the President of the Jericho Partnership Carrie Amos standing in front of the diapers collected during the month long diaper drive.

The Danbury, Bethel and Redding legislators worked with Hopeline of Danbury on a month-long diaper drive for families after learning that diapers are not covered by Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Hopeline Director, Amy Spallino said, “I don’t know if each of you realizes how much this helps people to be able to receive a package of diapers. Diapers are expensive, and this Diaper Drive eases that burden on people a little bit. We, at Hopeline, want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts in providing residents with additional resources to take care of their babies.” 

“I want to thank the Greater Danbury community for coming together and helping our local in-need families. The cost of diapers is one of the biggest expenses in raising children and this drive was meant to ease that economic burden. The generosity I have witnessed is a testament to our giving community,” said Rep. Michael Ferguson.

Rep. Duff said, “I am so proud of the community. Whenever a call goes out for help, we always have generous people willing to step forward and aid those who are in-need. These diapers will help many young families who struggle with the high cost of diapers. Thank you to everyone who contributed.”

According to state statistics, a month’s supply of diapers can cost over $100. Unfortunately, the vast majorities of licensed day care centers do not accept cloth diapers, and require parents and caregivers to provide a steady supply of disposable diapers.

Most people living in poverty do not have affordable access to washing facilities. Furthermore, most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons. Additionally, most low income parents can’t afford a membership to a discount club like BJ’s or Costco where diapers are less expensive.

For anyone who missed the diaper drive but still wishes to donate, please contact Hopeline of Danbury at www.hopelineprc.org or call 203.207.4673.

State Rep. Michael Ferguson Principal of Blue Ribbon School Awarded Citation by General Assembly

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

Danbury – During a recent Danbury School Board meeting, State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-24) and State Representative Michael Ferguson (R-138) presented Principal William Santarsiero with a citation of congratulations from the Connecticut General Assembly.

Morris Street School, where Santarsiero is principal, was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education. It is one of 342 schools across the United States to receive the distinction. Schools must either be among the state’s highest performing schools or be among the state’s highest performing schools in closing the student achievement gap over the past five years.

“Parents have already known the high quality education their children receive at Morris Street School,” Rep. Ferguson said. “Now, the entire country knows.”

“The work of Principal Santarsiero and the faculty at Morris Street School have truly made it an example for other schools in Danbury and throughout the state,” Sen. McLachlan said. “The way that the school, parents, and the community cooperate to ensure a quality education is remarkable.”

Rep. Michael Ferguson talks State & Local Government with Danbury Students

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

DANBURY- Last week, State Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-138) spent time speaking to a civics class at Danbury High School talking about state and local government.

Rep. Ferguson spoke to the class about who he was, his background, and how he got elected as a State Representative. They discussed the basics of the legislative process — how bills are proposed, the process of a bill ending up on the governor’s desk and the legislative committee process.

After a few questions from the class, Ferguson discussed how someone as young as him was elected to the General Assembly and what it means have a part-time vs. full-time legislature. Read More →

State Rep. Michael Ferguson Recognizes National Bullying Prevention Month

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

This and every October is National Bullying Prevention Month. I wanted to reach out to families throughout the district and let them know about what to look for if your feel you child is being bullied, how to participate in nationwide anti-bullying campaigns, and what to do if believe your child is involved in bullying.

Just last year Broadview Middle School in Danbury started a program called “Start with Hello,” which has gained national recognition. Simply put, inclusion starts with a “hello.”

Nearly 1,000 schools registered to participate in Start with Hello, and 100 joined in a competition to show how they’re including it in their culture.

The acts of bullying can occur in several ways. They can be verbal, physical, online social networks (Facebook, etc.), via text messages, or even as a result of social exclusion. Bullying can also include physical assault, threats, or intimidation.

In 2014, the Danbury Board of Education included a new bullying policy which adds social media considerations to the definition of bullying in the middle-school code. The policy also calls for a minimum one day out-of-school suspension for a student found guilty of bullying instead of three days of in-school suspension as before.

Bullying can severely affect a person’s confidence, own self-image, and performance in school. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts or behaviors.  In addition, students who participate in bullying are at an increased risk of committing crimes, abusing alcohol and drugs, dropping out of school, and fighting.

According to Stopbullying.gov, about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time.

Warning signs that your child might be bullied include:

  • Refusal to go to school (afraid of riding the bus)
  • Moodiness
  • Changes in school performance
  • Sudden personality changes (sad, depressed, upset)
  • Vocalizing suicidal thoughts (“No one would miss me if I wasn’t alive”)
  • Avoiding interaction with other classmates and friends
  • Bedwetting

The site also states that only approximately 20 – 30% of students who are bullied actually notify adults about the bullying.

This year’s “Unity Day” will take place on Wednesday, October 25th. I’d like to encourage you to wear orange on this day as a display of love, hope, support and unity against bullying.

State Rep. Michael Ferguson Op-ed: A Missed Budget Opportunity

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

Here we are, October 1st is here, and Governor Malloy has vetoed the only state budget to pass the General Assembly this year. It was two weeks ago since Republican and Democratic members from both the House and Senate joined together to finally give Connecticut a state budget. The governor’s veto now leaves taxpayers, cities and towns and schools no closer to a state budget.

The vetoed bipartisan budget passed by the legislature was a genuine effort to come together. I go back to what the Danbury News-Times wrote last month on their editorial page.

‘Now is the time for young legislators like Ferguson to be bold and not simply follow party lines. Work for a compromise and pass a budget. They can show that true leadership involves representing all voters and doing what is best for them, and the state.’

And work for a compromise we did, and pass a budget, we also did.

Without a state budget the cuts that would come under Governor Malloy’s executive order will be catastrophic. On October 2nd, educational funding to 85 school districts across the state could possibly get completely wiped out, creating total chaos for school districts, educators, parents and children throughout Connecticut. Funds for almost half of the schools in Connecticut would be eliminated. In addition, more than 50 more would be significantly reduced. Funding is instead funneled to cities and towns that already get a significant portion of the municipal aid dollars.

Our state should not be run by an executive order written by one individual without any legislative checks and balances.

No, our bipartisan state budget isn’t perfect and no one is claiming the document is flawless. When confronted with a $5 billion dollar deficit no budget can be perfect. This budget is about compromise and state priorities. We believe it will help to finally provide predictability to our municipalities, state businesses and taxpayers, something they have been crying out several months for.

We’ve increased educational funding by introducing a new ECS formula that takes into account enrollment, poverty, English language learners and wealth. We’ve restored funding for core social service programs aimed at those who need them most. We’ve reopened Care4Kids, fully funded day and evening employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, lowered taxes on retirees, increased funding for Meals on Wheels and the CT Home Care Program.

We need to do something different than what we’ve been doing for so many years. The policies of spending more than our government can afford to budget need to stop. That is why we still face massive deficits after two large tax hikes in six years. This budget looks to change our course as a state, to truly move Connecticut forward because the looming alternative is something we don’t even want to consider.

I urge the remainder of the General Assembly to join us and override the Governor’s veto as soon as possible.