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Rep. Frey Arranges for Trooper 1 to Land at Boy & Girls Club of Ridgefield

Posted on August 24, 2018 by admin


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HARTFORD – State Representative John Frey (R-111) arranged to have Trooper 1, the Connecticut State Police’s helicopter, land at the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield on Friday, August 17th, 2018.

“The aviation unit of the Connecticut State police generously volunteered their time to make this day extra special for the members of the Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield,” Rep. Frey said. “Everyone had a great time and I’m glad we were able to make this happen. I’d like to thank the State Police, especially pilot Adam McCumber, as well as Boys and Girls Club director Mike Flynn. The club does great things for the children in our community, and that was evident today.”

The Aviation Unit of the Connecticut State Police provides aerial support for law enforcement including surveillance, highway patrol and criminal investigations. “Trooper 1” is a Bell 407 helicopter, N1903A and is currently the only helicopter actively used by the Aviation Unit. It can carry up to four occupants, and can also serve medical, firefighting and search and rescue purposes, if needed. The helicopter was purchased in 2001 and accumulates roughly 500 flight hours per year.

The Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield provides learning and extracurricular activities for students after school and during vacations. Their five core areas include the arts, character & leadership, education, health & life skills, and sports, fitness & recreation.

 

Rep. Frey Calls on Bond Commission to Remove Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study from Agenda

Posted on July 19, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative John Frey (R-111) today urged the State Bond Commission to remove from their agenda an item bonding $10 million to study the impact of electronic tolling on Connecticut highways. The agenda item would borrow money to pay for the study and is a request from Governor Dan Malloy, who chairs the Bond Commission and decides which items are on the agenda.

The study would explore tolls on all major Connecticut highways, including Interstates 95, 91, and 84, along with the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.

Rep. Frey, who also serves as Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Transportation Bonding Sub-Committee and sits as an ex-officio member of the Bond Commission, offered the following statement in response to the announcement.

“To request $10 million in borrowed money to pay for a study exploring the impact of tolling is to completely disregard the interests of Connecticut taxpayers. The legislature has considered various proposals for tolling and several proposals to study tolling over the past 5 years, but they have never received enough support.  That is likely because we in the legislature are aware of several studies that indicate what should be obvious – tolls would make life in Connecticut more unaffordable for commuters and their families.

“Instead of studying how we can ask for more money from Connecticut taxpayers, we ought to study how we can reduce their tax burden. We need to be studying how we can reduce the gas tax while at the same time spend transportation funding more efficiently and with lower administrative costs.

“A $10 million toll study is a textbook example of frivolous spending and it is a particular brazen request from a governor who is out the door in January. I urge the State Bond Commission to refuse the governor’s request and take this item off of their agenda.”

The State Bond Commission is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, July 25.

Rep. Frey Update: Happy Independence Day!

Posted on July 3, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Dear Friend,

I hope you will take some time today to celebrate the birth of our nation and reflect on the war that was fought for our independence.

The United States is a country founded on the principles of freedom and liberty, which is what makes it the greatest country to ever exist.

It is also a holiday spent enjoying at barbecues and fireworks shows with family and friends.

I ask that you join me in honoring the brave soldiers who made our country’s independence possible, as well as the men and women in uniform currently stationed around the globe who preserve our freedom and liberty every day.

In Ridgefield, a fireworks celebration is again scheduled for today on the grounds of Ridgefield High School.  Rain appears to be a possibility for tonight. If that is the case, then the rain date is tomorrow, July 5.

Gates open at 6pm and fireworks begin after dark.  Parking passes can be purchased at the entrance to RHS.

Although grilling and alcoholic drink are prohibited, a variety of food trucks and vendors will be on site.

I wish you and your family a wonderful Fourth of July holiday!

Reps. Frey Commends Transportation Funding in Budget Plan, No Transit Fare Hikes

Posted on May 25, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD State Representative John Frey (R-111) expressed his satisfaction with transportation funding in the budget adjustment plan that passed the legislature overwhelmingly earlier this month, noting that the Department of Transportation has cancelled the rail and bus fare hikes they originally called for.

“For most of my service in the legislature I have advocated for protecting the Special Transportation Fund and have watched as previous legislatures raided our investment in transportation to pay for other projects, so it was encouraging to this year be a part of the winning side, successfully funding the STF without relying on tolls, fare hikes, or service cuts,” said Rep. Frey.

The budget adjustment plan, which was based largely on a proposal crafted by legislative Republicans, passed both chambers on bipartisan votes and was signed into law by the governor last week. The plan provides $29 million more to the Special Transportation Fund for road projects by accelerating the existing tax on new cars. The funding will ramp up dramatically in the coming years.  There is also a provision to secure $150 million in General Obligation bond funding to support transportation projects.

“Connecticut’s transportation problems have never been the result of insufficient revenue, but rather a systematic failure to responsibly prioritize the money that we already have,” said Rep. Frey.  “This shortsighted practice of raiding transportation funding is why we have deteriorating infrastructure today and an STF that is going bankrupt.  The budget we passed this year is a marked departure from the days when the first place the legislature would look when it needed money was the pockets of its commuters.  Instead, we specifically address the STF and actually secure a long-term source of revenue.”

“By prioritizing funding for transportation and creating a more effective strategy for identifying urgencies, we can create a safe, reliable and multi-model transportation network – including roads, bridges, rail, bus, and port improvements,” added Rep. Frey.  “Everyone benefits from a strong transportation system, and progress can only be made if we prioritize transportation.”

The new budget adjustments go into effect at the beginning of FY 2019 on July 1.

Rep. Frey Update: Memorial Day Weekend in Ridgefield

Posted on May 25, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Memorial Day arrives this weekend, and it is a time to reflect on the service of those who answered our nation’s call in times of armed conflict, and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure future generations of Americans would remain free.

Below is Memorial Day Parade information for Ridgefield this weekend to commemorate this national holiday and the heroic actions of those who fought in the name of our freedom.

 

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. – Memorial Day Parade steps off from Jesse Lee Church, marching down Main St. and ending with a closing ceremony in Ballard Park.

The closing ceremony will include short speeches by honored guests and patriotic music throughout the program.

Be advised for traffic: King Lane will be a one-way street from 9:30 a.m. until the end of the parade.

If the parade is cancelled because of bad weather (like last year), the closing ceremonies planned for Ballard Park will be moved to the sanctuary of Jesse Lee Methodist Church on Main St. at 11:30 a.m.  The American Legion invites people to attend the observances in the church if the parade is rained out.

I wish you and your family the best this Memorial Day weekend.

Reps. Frey and Ferguson, Sen. Boucher, Welcome State Champion Ridgefield Girls Soccer Team to Capitol

Posted on May 8, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD State Representatives John Frey (R-111) and Michael Ferguson (R-138) joined State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) in welcoming the 2018 State Champion Ridgefield High School Girls Soccer team to the State Capitol in Hartford.  The Ridgefield delegation proudly introduced the Tigers players to their colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives.  Later, they presented them with a state citation in honor of their triumphant 2-1 win over Staples HS in the Division I State Championship game – the first in program history for Tigers girls’ soccer.

“This was a historic season for the Ridgefield High School girls’ soccer team,” said Rep. Frey, who was a member of Ridgefield High School’s Class of 1981.  “Under the direction of Head Coach Iain Golding and Assistant Coach Adam Sebastian, the girls entered the season with high expectations, coming off back-to-back seasons in which they won FCIAC Championships and advanced to the state championship game only to come up short against Glastonbury both times.  This season they were committed to re-writing the final chapter.  For the graduating seniors, the state championship was the perfect ending to their four years in the program in which the Tigers amassed an overall record of 68 wins, 14 losses, and nine draws, claimed two FCIAC Conference titles and played in three consecutive state title games.”

“Despite all the success on the field, arguably the most noteworthy accomplishments for the program take place in the classroom. For the past two years the girls have combined for a team GPA over 4.0, earning them nominations for the High School Team Academic Award from the United Soccer Coaches, the national governing body for the sport.” said Rep. Ferguson.

The Ridgefield delegation joined their colleagues in giving the State Champion Tigers a round of applause on the floor of the House.

Rep. Frey Tours Ridgefield Supply Company Facility in Recognition of Women-Owned Business Day

Posted on May 1, 2018 by rjoslyn


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RIDGEFIELD – In an effort to promote awareness of Women-Owned Business Day, State Representative John Frey (R-111) visited the Ridgefield Supply Company and toured the facility with the company’s owner, Margaret Price, to learn about the business and her experience as a business owner.  Women-Owned Business Day is an annual event at the State Capitol every May 2nd and hosted by the Women’s Business Development Council, which is an organization dedicated to women’s economic equity.

The Ridgefield Supply Company, a lumber and building supply dealer, has its roots in a lumber company founded in 1883 and operates from its current location in downtown Ridgefield opposite the train station. Margaret Price, the granddaughter of company founder Louis H. Price, Sr., has run the Ridgefield Supply Company since she acquired the company from her father in 2011.

“Women-Owned Business Day has been always been a valuable event, and I thought showcasing Margaret and her work with Ridgefield Supply, a storied institution in Ridgefield, would be an exceptional representation of the success and innovation that women entrepreneurs can bring to businesses,” said Rep. Frey. “Margaret is an exemplary business owner who made a major investment in the property, including preserving and restoring the former Ridgefield Train Station building, and has broken barriers in a traditionally male-dominated industry.”

Rep. Frey and Price also had an opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by small business in Connecticut as well as policy issues affecting women business owners specifically. In addition to her role at Ridgefield Supply, Price also is active in Northeastern Retail Lumbermen’s Association and Lumber Dealers of CT.

“Ridgefield and the State of Connecticut need to cooperate with business owners like Margaret as extensively as possible,” said Rep. Frey.  “Business owners put their personal lives on hold as they labor to build and grow their businesses.  They are the people who can do the most to turn our state’s economy around if we work with them instead of making it harder for them to be competitive.”

The WBCD is encouraging women business owners in the state to register for their event at the Legislative Office Building on May 2nd at 9am.

Rep. Frey Update: Prioritize Progress: A Plan to Fully Fund the STF

Posted on April 23, 2018 by rjoslyn


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As it stands now, a major roadblock to Connecticut’s economic recovery remains the issue of transportation funding and how we prioritize spending.

Every state relies on its transportation network to drive economic development and maximize quality of life. Unfortunately, transportation has been ignored for far too long here in Connecticut. Funding has been unpredictable and unreliable.  It has long been a misguided tradition to siphon off funds intended for transportation projects to spend elsewhere. As a result our transportation system is far from where it needs to be to foster growth and advancement.

It is time to make transportation a priority.

On Friday, I joined the House Republican caucus in unveiling an updated plan for a long-term solution to advance transportation in Connecticut for the next generation. A component of our budget adjustment proposal for 2018, Prioritize Progress creates a predictable and sustainable funding stream to ensure that transportation will be properly prioritized for the next three decades.

Here is how we do it while keeping the budget balanced:

 

Require the state to:

1) Reserve a set amount of General Obligation Bonds to be used solely for transportation priorities.

2) Preserve Special Tax Obligation bonds dedicated to transportation.

3) Re-establish the Transportation Strategy Board (TSB) to work alongside CTDOT to assess proposed projects and identify community needs.

 

Benefits of the plan include:

  • An annual transportation funding mechanism guaranteeing over $1 billion annually over the next 30 years
  • No tax increases
  • No tolls
  • A reduction in state bonding compared to recent practices
  • Flexibility in setting transportation priorities
  • A sustainable and predictable funding plan to support future generations

 

By prioritizing funding for transportation and creating a more effective strategy for identifying urgencies, we can create a safe, reliable and multi-model transportation network – including roads, bridges, rail, bus, and port improvements. It is recommended that Connecticut first address immediate safety needs and deteriorating infrastructure and then consider progressive development for our future.

Everyone benefits from a strong transportation system, and progress can only be made if we prioritize transportation.

For more information about our budget proposal, click here.

As always, I am eager to hear from you if you have any questions or comments about Prioritize Progress, transportation funding, the state budget, or any other issue related to state government.  Please do not hesitate to email me at john.frey@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.

Rep. Frey Votes Yes on Pay Equity Legislation as it Passes the House

Posted on April 19, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative John Frey (R-111) on Thursday voted in favor of a bill to strengthen labor protections for employees in an effort to discourage gender wage discrimination in Connecticut. Rep. Frey submitted a bill proposal to the Labor Committee at the beginning of the legislative session to address pay equity, which eventually became HB 5386, An Act Concerning Various Pay Equity and Fairness Matters, which he co-sponsored in the State House.

HB 5386, which passed the House on a 142-4 vote, prohibits employees from asking about a prospective employee’s wage history, unless the prospective employee voluntarily discloses it or the employer is authorized by law to do ask.

In Connecticut, the average woman will make $529,000 less in earning over her lifetime than a male and it is estimated women in Connecticut lose a combined $5.5 billion due to the wage gap.

“The pay equity bill that passed the House today represents an encouraging compromise between advocates of pay equity for women and the business community,” said Rep. Frey.  “I have long supported equal pay for equal work because levelling the playing field for women in the workplace will ultimately strengthen families and businesses alike.  While this legislation can’t completely eliminate gender discrimination, taking an employee’s wage history off the table during the job application process will help break the cycle of women getting underpaid compared to men.”

Although the law makes changes to the hiring process, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association helped the lawmakers reach the compromise and supports the measure.

“Enabling discriminatory hiring practices is not in the best interest of any business, which is why the CBIA played a role in the negotiations and acted in good faith to tackle gender wage discrimination,” said Rep. Frey.  “There is no reason to believe this law will make Connecticut businesses less competitive.  In fact, I think this opens many doors for businesses to obtain maximum potential from all of their employees and help them ensure their employees are compensated as fairly and as accurately as possible.  I reject the notion that allowing businesses to thrive and demanding fair treatment of employees have to be mutually exclusive concepts.  I am hopeful the State Senate will act on this and send it to the governor to be signed into law.”

After its passage in the House, HB 5386 now heads to the State Senate for consideration.

Rep. Frey Editorial: Tolls & Tax Deductions – Three Bills Impacting Ridgefield Pass Finance Committee

Posted on April 17, 2018 by rjoslyn


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April 17, 2018

Last week, the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee –which I sit on – approved three bill proposals that Ridgefield residents need to be aware of because of the long-term implications they would have on Connecticut’s future.

The first piece of legislation explores ways to implement electronic tolling on our highways and represents what I think is a misguided approach to restoring our economy.  All proposals related to tolls assume that Connecticut’s budget deficits exist because of a “lack of revenue” – a phrase that translates to “Connecticut residents are not taxed enough.”

I voted against all proposals involving tolls, and not least because they violate a core principle of mine, which is that I believe the legislature is out of line to ask for even one more dollar from Connecticut residents until we evaluate why we spend the most money on roads in the nation per mile, while studies find our roads in among the worst condition of all 50 states.

Further, the math for how tolls would solve our deficit does not add up without a truly unprecedented number of collection points. Take Massachusetts, a state nearly double the population of Connecticut, which collected $340 million in toll revenue from 19 toll sites in 2017.  The toll proposals we are considering here project revenue of $700-800 million.   To accomplish that, Connecticut would need as many as 84 toll gantries– more than any state in the nation!   I have seen proposals that would establish 12 gantries on I-84 between Danbury and Hartford.

We can avert the need for tolls by prioritizing our transportation projects and not raiding the transportation fund to prop up the General Fund.

A more encouraging development was the committee passing legislation I submitted to establish a tax credit for employers that provide family and medical leave benefits. The premise of the bill is to motivate businesses to ensure their employees have access to critical benefits without burdening them with a one-size-fits-all government mandate.  Since Connecticut continues to rank at or near the bottom of national lists for starting and growing a business, we require a creative solution for protecting employees.  It is imperative that we shed this anti-business reputation and incentive businesses with carrots so that they can contribute to a growing economy.

Finally, many Ridgefielders have expressed their concerns about the elimination of State and Local Tax (SALT) exemptions. The new federal tax reform law enacted by Congress caps SALT deductions at $10,000.  Given the already immense tax burden on families in our part of Connecticut, I made it a priority to alleviate the effects of this.  The third proposal approved by the committee is one I co-sponsored, which essentially permits taxpayers to reclassify their property tax payments as charitable donations. This would allow municipalities like Ridgefield to set up charitable organizations so taxpayers can continue to write off the full amount of their local property taxes.

During this uncertain period for Connecticut, my top priorities remain protecting taxpayers from lawmakers who want to put them on the hook for bailing out the state, building an environment where businesses can grow and thrive, and maintaining core government services.

Turning Connecticut around will take more than just these three bills. Restoring our economy will require a pro-growth brand of thinking that has been rejected in Hartford for the past seven years.  That’s why I have committed to oppose the backwards-looking tolls bill and support bills that help businesses and taxpayers.