HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) issues statement addressing today’s release of the agenda for the State Bond Commission meeting, set for June 26, 2019. The agenda is void of the long promised funding for the construction of the Valley Regional Fire Training School.
“On November 2, 2018 just days before the election, then candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor Ned Lamont and Susan Bysiewicz held a large press conference in the City of Derby. The intent of this press conference was more than merely appealing to the needs of the Valley Fire community; it was to firmly assure the entire fire community of Connecticut that their long time need of a Valley Regional Fire Training School to be constructed in Beacon Falls would finally come to fruition, should they be elected.
“The then candidates discussed their personal and familial connection to volunteer fire fighters, their struggles, and their need for access to training and education. They said, “We’re going to make sure that we get the money to construct the fire training school… we’re going to fix a problem that has been languishing for 20 years.” They went on to say, “I know exactly what you guys go through every day… And what you need is a governor who makes a decision and gets the job done. And that’s what Susan and I mean to do in terms of the fire training facility.”
“At that press conference and throughout their campaign they worked to convince the fire community that if a Republican were in the Governor’s office, not only would they not have an ally, but they would have no funding for a new and long promised Valley Regional Fire Training School.
“Today, 229 days later, now Governor Lamont and Lieutenant Governor Bysiewicz have released the agenda for the next State Bond Commission meeting, set for June 26, 2019. Yet another campaign promise has been broken, there is no mention of the Valley Regional Fire Training School construction funding. Governor Lamont campaigned aggressively in the Valley during the 2018 election cycle targeting volunteer fire fighters and their long ignored basic needs for training. This is not simply falling short of a campaign promise; this is a perfect example of a politician serving up big promises and delivering nothing.
“The Valley Legislative Delegation has fought, advocated, and worked across the aisle harnessing bipartisan support throughout the Valley for more than two decades to make the Valley Regional Fire Training School a reality for our brave men and women. Words matter and actions have consequences. The Governor cannot use community issues, fire safety training and education, and people’s vulnerabilities to garner votes and then not keep his word. I know Governor Lamont is a good person and wants to be a man of his word. While I am incredibly disheartened that the Valley Regional Fire Training School is not listed on the June State Bonding Commission Agenda, I can only imagine the weight of disappointment fire fighters throughout Connecticut are feeling right now,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides.
WHAT: Transcription from Nov. 2, 2019 Press Conference with then candidate for Governor Ned Lamont and then candidate for Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz
WHERE: Derby Train Station
TITLE: “Dan Malloy’s refusal to bond a new fire training school in the region, and showing our support for the project and all of our local firefighters!”
PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
- LG Bysiewicz: We love the Naugatuck Valley communities, and we love the people in the Valley, and we’re here to address a very important issue for volunteer firefighters. And I will tell you that my family has a very proud volunteer firefighter tradition. I’m from Middletown and my uncle Ted, my uncle Carl, my uncle Pete, my cousin Ted were all part of the Westfield Volunteer fire department in Middletown. It’s a family effort. And I think if you ask our volunteer firefighters in the Valley, they’ll tell you the same thing. Many of our Valley volunteer firefighters are people who are professionals in another department, but they spend their precious free time helping out in their volunteer fire department where they live.
- Bysiewicz: Here’s the problem. The Valley training school in Derby right here, closed down in 2000 because there was contamination there. And since then, volunteer firefighters have had to travel to various fire departments and to Fairfield to get the training that they need. And we’re here today to say that finally, we have a plan to build a fire training school right here in the Valley. In 2010, the state put up money in Beacon Falls to buy land for the school. Unfortunately, even though there was funding and there was a contract put out to bid to construct the fire training school, construction never happened. There’s been feuding in Hartford on both sides of the aisle about this. And another reason that we wanted to come to the Valley today is to say we’re going to stop the partisan bickering and just get things done because the Naugatuck Valley is an important part of our state. This is an important issue for the Valley, and we want to address it.
- Bysiewicz: So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to make sure that we get the money to construct the fire training school so that volunteers don’t have to drive around to other parts of the state, and we’re going to fix a problem that has been languishing for 20 years. We also want to let people in the Valley know that Ned and I are very committed to working with these fine people who are standing behind us to promote economic development in the Valley. This part of the state has long been neglected and that’s going to stop after this election. We want to work on the Waterbury train line to make sure that it’s running on time. We want to work with Valley area mayors like Pete Hess to work on and promote transit oriented development so that this becomes a more economically vibrant part of the state. And so to talk a little bit more about this important issue is our next governor, Ned Lamont.
- Gov. Ned Lamont: Thank you, Susan. You have folks in your family who are volunteer firefighters. I was actually a volunteer firefighter myself many eons ago, and I know exactly what you guys go through every day. Went through the fire training myself for a half a day and I know how tough it is. I walked into that building which had a surrogate fire in there. They said, “Take off your glove and feel the scorching heat.” You’ve got the air pack on, you’re crawling around on the floor just trying to feel your way through and see who’s there. So you guys are heroes. I appreciate the work you do, and our job is to fix things. And as Susan said, this has gone on for 15, 20 years. And what you need is a governor who makes a decision and gets the job done. And that’s what Susan and I mean to do in terms of the fire training facility. That’s what we mean to do in terms of transportation right here on the rail line as well.
- Gov. Ned Lamont: Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate, if he ends up eliminating all those taxes for millionaires, it would eliminate something like $10, $11 billion. It would eliminate over 50, 60% of our overall budget. There would be no fire training facilities. There would not be more frequent rail service. They would cut back on our schools and education. And most importantly, in some ways, jack up property taxes, something that Susan and I are not going to allow them to do. We’re going to bring down the property taxes, invest in our schools, not raise the income tax, but hold that where it is and do what we can in terms of more frequent rail service and actually honor our commitment to the firefighters in terms of a training facility here. And we got four days to go in this race, and we’re going flat out.
- Gov. Ned Lamont: And I just want to say, we keep coming back to the Valley, not just as candidates, but as Governor and Lieutenant Governor. This is such an important part of our state, such an important part of our community and we’re bringing this back to life. I’d be the first governor in generations that started a business and created jobs. So I go around the Valley, I see a lot of small manufacturing companies. Right now, they’re growing, they’re prospering, but they’re having a hard time hiring the people they need. That’s one of the things we do. Make sure we train people for the jobs that are out there so there are more jobs here for people, they stay in the Valley so our parents can stay in the Valley and our kids can come in and have a great opportunity here.
- Gov. Ned Lamont: And the most important thing I can do is hold down the property tax, bring down the property tax, make it easier for each and every one of you to stay in your communities. Make it a good opportunity for your kids going forward and solve these lingering problems like the fire training facility. It’s gone on too long. Hey, that guys really on fire, he’s taken off. [crosstalk 00:06:53] And we’re going to be here a lot coming forward. So I really appreciate you all being here. I really want to urge you. There’s a big election coming up in four days on Tuesday. It’s going to make a difference for your kids. It’s going to make a difference for the Valley. It’s going to make a difference for the future of Connecticut.
- Gov. Ned Lamont: Susan and I and the team here, look, I need these guys elected by the way. [crosstalk 00:07:16] Let me tell you why we need them elected. [crosstalk 00:07:20] Because, look, we got to roll up our sleeves. We’ve got to fix a state that’s in fiscal crisis right now. But I need people who are ready to roll up their sleeves and work with me to get the job done. So just like this fire training facility that’s lingered for so long, we’re going to fix that and we’re going to fix this budget, get this state going again, and that’s why I’m running for Governor and let these guys win it so we get the job done. Thank you.