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Opinion by Rep. Rob Sampson – January Column

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Lately, following the news out of our state and federal governments has been more challenging than ever. It seems that name calling and maligning one’s political opponent’s character and intent has nearly fully replaced any type of respectful dialogue or difference of opinion.

Worse, much of the national press seems to have lost its way, assuming “its way” ever involved reporting news in a factual and objective way.

I entered politics because I care about the future of my country. I love history, especially American history, and even more, what America represents as an idea and a set of ideals – a place for full citizens to experience life in a land of opportunity and potential, willing to recognize that success requires effort, and even willing to take risks if they might mean reward. I chose the Republican Party because in today’s world, I felt it more closely represents those founding core American principles and ideas, promoting opportunity and freedom, requiring individual responsibility, and recognizing that government is necessary, but imperfect, and therefore should be as limited as possible.

Today, our country seems more divided than ever and what I have noticed that is most concerning is that the divisions seem to be based rhetoric, e.g. “tax cuts for the rich,” rather than a truthful breakdown of what each side is trying to accomplish by their policy offerings.

If my service as our State Representative has taught me anything, it’s that, generally speaking, politicians have much better hindsight than they do foresight.

Take this recent budget debate we had here in our state. If you have been following me, then you know I voted against the deal, primarily because I could see clearly that it would not even begin to solve our problems. We are already in another deficit! Also, as a policy document that highlights priorities, it makes little sense.

The day of the vote I spoke on the House floor and asked how and why we continue to spend money on bailing out our broken larger cities because of their failed policies at the expense of small, and better-managed, towns like Wolcott. Increasing taxes and spending will only exacerbate our problems. What we need instead is to send a legitimate and convincing message to citizens, businesses, and retirees that Connecticut is going to take a new and better path and it will pay off to be here.

Sadly, business as usual won the day and only 26 courageous souls out of 187 voted to stop the madness.

I predicted then that this budget would look worse every day that goes by. It wasn’t long after that the full impact of the cuts to the Medicare Savings Plan began to come into focus.

I went on the radio shortly after and pointed out the foolishness of wasting $40 million on renovating the XL center in Hartford at the same time we are driving business out of state, people from their homes, and seniors on fixed incomes into the poor house!

Thankfully in recent weeks, many of my fellow legislators have seen the light and realize that this needs to be corrected and the funding for the Medicare Savings Program must be restored.

Although the cuts have now been pushed from the first of the year to March 1, 2018, this is still a small amount of time to correct a growing problem. Ever since the vote, I have been pushing for a special session to do so and have been encouraging everyone who contacts me to make their voice heard in local papers, social media, etc.

Now, it seems to be working and there is a lot of talk about a potential special session to address this issue. It is my sincere hope that by the time you read this, the MSP will either have already been restored or is at least in the works.

This is just one of many issues to be addressed but if there is success, it will give me hope that the voice of the people still reigns supreme. Without that, we are certainly doomed.

Even with legislative action, we will still have to make it past the Governor, who seems determined to penalize small towns for their ability to manage themselves much more successfully than their larger city counterparts.

As always, I promise to be a persistent voice at the Capitol for common sense, fiscal sanity, and those American core values I mentioned earlier.

I encourage you to contact me anytime at www.repsampson.com.

Reps. Sampson, Fusco and Senator Markley Raise More Than $27,000 for Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign

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Walmart Pledges to Match Donation Up to $25,000 Bringing Total to $52,490

HARTFORD – State Representatives Rob Sampson (R-80), John Fusco (R-81) and Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) to raise money for the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign at the Walmart in Southington on Monday, December 11th. Together, they raised $27,490.25, which Walmart has pledged to match up to $25,000.

“We live in a community where neighbors look out for on another, and when one of us falls on hard times, we are there to support them,” said Rep. Sampson. “Each year I participate in this campaign and it is a humbling experience. I encourage my constituents to reach out to those in need this holiday season and to remember this is the season of giving. This is an overwhelmingly generous district and I am proud to represent it.”

“The turnout for our hour of bell ringing was amazing and I’m glad we were able to raise so much to help people right here in our community this holiday season,” Rep. Fusco said. “Christmas is the giving season and, once again, the people of Southington demonstrated their strong support for others by donating very generously.”

The funds raised will help the Salvation Army provide basic social services to those in need of food, shelter, clothing, and financial assistance. As a group, the Republican caucuses have raised more than $190,000 for the Salvation Army over the past several years. The Salvation Army responds to natural disasters such as wildfires and tornadoes, provides meals and toys to families in need, and conducts research and analyses regarding human needs around the country. They also provide adult rehabilitation, veteran services, elderly services, missing person searches, housing assistance, youth recreation, sponsorship, and support in the fight to end human trafficking.

Rep. Sampson Hosts Budget Forum in Southington

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On Wednesday, November 29, Rep. Sampson cohosted a Town Hall Forum at the Southington Municipal Center with Rep. Fusco and Sen. Markley. The event focused on the recently passed compromise state budget plan, which did not win the support of the three legislators.

Rep. Sampson explained the reason behind his vote against the plan. Specifically, he was concerned about the budget’s increased spending as well as its failure to effectively address long-term structural problems within state government. Many attendees were concerned about the impact of the budget on seniors, which Rep. Sampson also addressed, while reaffirming his commitment to lower taxes and advocating for senior citizens and those living on fixed incomes.

 

Rep. Sampson Tours TicketNetwork

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On Wednesday, November 29, Rep. Sampson toured TicketNetwork in South Windsor with Sen. Markley. TicketNetwork is a leader in the secondary ticketing industry (coming in third behind Stub Hub and Ticketmaster). Rep. Sampson was invited by Evan Honeyman, Director of Business Development, who grew up in Sampson’s district. The visit included a tour of the facility where they were shown the 24 hour call center and the wide variety of operations at TicketNetwork including Ticket Galaxy and RCN Capital. He spoke with Donald Vaccaro, Co-Founder and CEO about their operations and some legislative issues they have faced over the years. He also spoke with Darnell Goldson, Director of Governmental and Legislative Affairs, as well as Mike Honeyman, COO. TicketNetwork also provides their employees with complimentary breakfasts, lunches and dinners at their Staff Caff, along with a gym and laundry area as an additional benefit to working for the company.

TicketNetwork is a prime example of entrepreneurship at its best. Rep. Sampson will continue to advocate on behalf of businesses in the state to ensure that they face minimal obstacles to success.

 

Rep. Sampson Discusses Misguided Bonding for XL Center Renovations

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Rep. Rob Sampson (R-80) joined Todd Feinburg on WTIC Newstalk 1080 to discuss the 11/29/2017 Bonding Commission meeting and the $40 million funding of the XL Center. Rep. Sampson argued that during this fiscally challenging time for Connecticut we need to be prioritizing spending on the core functions of government, and does not believe the XL Center renovations fall into that category.