Rep. Wilson Welcomes Litchfield Girl Scouts to State Capitol
State Rep. David Wilson (R-Litchfield) welcomed members of Litchfield Girl Scout Troop 40020 to the State Capitol on Monday for the annual Girl Scout Day. Rep. Wilson meet with staff and advocates, as well as several Girl Scouts who chose to come to the Capitol to meet with their legislators, learn more about their state government, and to self-advocate for the issues that are important to them. The Girl Scouts of Connecticut is an organization dedicated to empowering girls and young women, and teaching them the importance of leadership and advocacy.
State Reps. Piscopo, Betts Welcome
Wamogo Vo-Ag Students to State Capitol
State Representatives John Piscopo (R-76) and Whit Betts (R-78) welcomed Vocational Agriculture (Vo-Ag) students from Wamogo Regional High School to the State Capitol last week. The students were visiting during the state's annual Ag Day, a day which serves to celebrate agriculture in Connecticut, and highlight the state's various agricultural programs by the more than 50 organizations and state and federal agencies in attendance from across Connecticut. The students had the opportunity to meet with Reps. Piscopo and Betts, and speak with them about the Vo-Ag program at Wamogo, advocating not only for the program, but also for increasing the number of students that can be accepted into the program from Litchfield and surrounding towns.
Front, L-R: with Rep. Piscopo (back, left) and Rep. Betts (back, right) is Freshman, Connor Kennedy and his sister, Junior, Tabitha Kennedy of Terryville, and Senior, Brooke Healy of Litchfield. ~ contributed
According to the school's website, Wamogo serves students from Warren, Morris and Goshen Connecticut. Children from seven additional towns may apply to the national award winning Agri-science program. In addition to the comprehensive course of study, students in Agri-science choose courses in mechanics, natural resources, animal science and horticulture. For more information, please visit: wrhs.rsd6.org.
Pictured (front, L-R) with Rep. Piscopo (back, left) and Rep. Betts (back, right) is Freshman, Connor Kennedy and his sister, Junior, Tabitha Kennedy of Terryville, and Senior, Brooke Healy of Litchfield.
Esty, Tester, Boozman Introduce Legislation
to Change VA Culture, Honor Women Veterans
Members Joined by Women Veterans and
Advocates to Unveil Deborah Sampson Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today (Tuesday, March 21, 2017) stood with women veterans and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to unveil bipartisan legislation to improve services and access at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for women veterans.
The Deborah Sampson Act addresses gender disparities at the VA to ensure that women veterans are getting equitable care. This legislation will provide enhanced access to VA care and will ensure women veterans are getting the benefits they have earned through their service.
Additionally, this bill will address the needs of women veterans who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and go without needed health care.
“Supporting those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. The promise we made to our veterans is fundamental to who we are as Americans. It's on all of us to keep that promise,” said Esty, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “More than 2 million women have worn the uniform in service to this nation, and they face unique obstacles to care when they return home. The Deborah Sampson Act will help us fulfill our commitment to support these brave Americans by expanding access to the quality care woman veterans need to stay healthy and provide for their families.”
“Women are courageously signing up to serve our country at a higher rate than ever before and we need to make sure every resource is available to them when they return from deployment,”said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bill will help change the VA’s culture to recognize the women who have served. I’m honored to introduce this legislation to empower women veterans, honor their brave sacrifice, and ensure the VA is holding up its end of the bargain to our sisters, mothers and daughters.”
“The changing face of our military requires us to reexamine the services and care we’re providing our veterans. We need to improve services to ensure we’re meeting the unique needs of today’s entire veteran community,”said Boozman, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bill eliminates remaining barriers to access and quality of care these brave women earned.”
The Deborah Sampson Act does the following:
- Empowers women veterans by expanding peer-to-peer counseling, group counseling and call centers for women veterans,
- Improves the quality of care for infant children of women veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide and authorizing medically-necessary transportation for newborns,
- Eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers and coordinators in VA facilities, training clinicians, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans,
- Provides support services for women veterans seeking legal assistance and authorizes additional grants for organizations supporting low-income women veterans,
- Improves the collection and analysis of data regarding women and minority veterans, and expands outreach by centralizing all information for women veterans in one easily accessible place on the VA website.
The Deborah Sampson Act is co-sponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
The Deborah Sampson Act gets its name from Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. She was wounded in 1782 and spent half of her life fighting to be recognized for her service. She is one of a small number of women with a documented record of military combat experience in the Revolutionary War. The Deborah Sampson Act can be found online HERE. A one pager can be downloaded HERE.
State Reps Welcome NW CT Chamber to State Capitol
State Reps. Dave Wilson (R-66) and John Piscopo (R-76) welcomed Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce members to the State Capitol during the annual CT Business Day. The legislators, who were in session in the House Chamber, took a moment to meet with several group members in the gallery of the House of Representatives. Wilson and Piscopo thanked the members for their continued advocacy on behalf of businesses in CT, and encouraged them to continue to work with their legislators to focus on stimulating the economy, and removing the unnecessary barriers of unfunded mandates so that business can grow and create jobs.
Standing (L-R) State Representatives Brian Ohler, John Piscopo, David Wilson, and Jay Case welcome members of the Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce to the State Capitol for CT Business Day. ~ contributed
Wilson Meets with District Taxpayers
Discusses Issues over Coffee
State Rep. David Wilson (R-66) (below left) talks with taxpayers in Morris and gives an update on the latest news from the State Capitol, including the state budget during a morning coffee hour event at the Cardinal Grill.
Wilson recently hosted early morning coffee hour events across the 66th district, giving residents in Litchfield, Bethlehem, Morris, Warren, and Woodbury, the opportunity to meet with their legislator and speak with him about their concerns. Wilson stressed the importance of lowering tax burdens on families and businesses and restoring municipal funding cuts proposed in the governor’s budget. Any resident who missed the events but would like to contact Wilson may do so at 800-842-1423 or email David.Wilson@housegop.ct.gov. ~ contributed
League of Women Voters of Litchfield County
Announces launch of a new website
with easier access to civic information
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County announced today (Wednesday, February 22, 2017) the launch of a new website, more user friendly and informative with simple ways to share up-to-date information about the organization’s priorities and strategies.
As civic interest has taken off statewide, the League is a natural place for those seeking nonpartisan political information. The easy access encourages visitors to become aware of League programs and events and get current information on the civic activities taking place around us.
The site also makes it easier for visitors to request the latest edition of the Voice, our electronic newsletter. The public can read our Observer Corps reports, focusing on The Northwest Hills Council of Governments Housing. For more information about the organization or the Observer Corps program, please visit the website at litchfieldlwv.org or call Denise Butwill at 860-567-2035.
“With the new website in place,” says President Kerry Mayers, “we hope to draw new members and attendees to our various events. Since the site went live on January 23rd, we have had seven inquiries for the newsletter and/or membership.”
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County is a grassroots, nonpartisan political organization of women and men.
President Trump Signs into Law
Two Esty-Authored Bills
to Promote Women in Science
Esty is the first Democratic member of Congress to introduce a bill signed into law by President Trump
President Donald Trump today (Tuesday, February 28, 2017) signed into law two pieces of legislation authored jointly by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA).
The two measures, the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act (H.R. 255) and the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act (H.R. 321), had passed the House and the Senate by unanimous consent, with support from both parties. The new laws will help women launch careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields where they are underrepresented and will encourage women to start their own STEM-focused small businesses.
“No matter how contentious or passionate our political disagreements may get, as representatives for the American people, we must never stop working toward common solutions that will improve people’s lives,” Esty said. “Americans overwhelmingly agree that we need more middle-class jobs, better support for aspiring small-business owners, and fewer barriers to participation in the 21st -century economy. The passage of our two bipartisan bills is an excellent step forward that will grow our economy and help women from all walks of life break into fields where they have been underrepresented.”
“The Jackson Laboratory continues to support Congresswoman Esty’s efforts to broaden participation in science through this legislation,” said Melanie V. Sinche, Director of Education at The Jackson Laboratory in Farmington. “The focus of The Jackson Laboratory remains steadfast on the education and training of a diverse scientific workforce, creating an inclusive environment for women and other groups historically underrepresented in science.”
The Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, introduced by Esty and co-authored by Comstock, improves federal support for women entrepreneurs in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Specifically, the bill expands the mission of the National Science Foundation to include supporting entrepreneurial programs for women that extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world. It is the first bill introduced by a Democrat that President Trump has signed into law.
The INSPIRE Women Act, introduced by Comstock and co-authored by Esty,calls on NASA to encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in aerospace. In particular, it directs NASA to encourage women to enter the STEM fields through three existing programs: NASA Girls, Aspire to Inspire, and the Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research.
In addition to Esty and Comstock, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Esty, a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has made improving STEM education and expanding access to high-tech careers a focus throughout her four years in office. Two years ago, she convened a Connecticut STEM Advisory Board comprised of educators, workers, and industry leaders to identify strategies for strengthening the state’s high-tech workforce and connect more students with career opportunities in the STEM fields.
In 2015, Esty partnered with Smith to pass the STEM Education Act, which supports training for STEM teachers and includes computer science for the first time as a focus of STEM education initiatives. Former President Barack Obama signed the STEM Education Act into law.
Last year, Esty worked with Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) to pass the Manufacturing Universities Act, which would help institutions like the University of Connecticut with existing manufacturing programs to increase the number of joint education projects they undertake with manufacturing firms and support students who participate in apprenticeships with manufacturers. Former President Barack Obama signed the Manufacturing Universities Act into law in December as part of the National Defense Reauthorization Act.
This is going to be one of the most difficult budget years in recent history. Connecticut is facing massive deficits compounded by a sluggish economy due to poor fiscal and business policies. I'm hopeful with more balance in the General Assembly, there is newfound commitment from the majority to work together to restructure how state government works.
The governor's state budget proposal is the first step in the process and over the next several months, the legislature's Appropriations and Finance Committees will be reviewing and vetting the governor's budget and state revenues, and will be offering possible adjustments.
The governor's proposal includes $200 million in new state taxes and also has massive cuts to local education aid for the majority of the state's towns, redistributing those funds to cities across the state, many of whom have a history of poor budget practices.
The governor’s plan also relies on $700 million in 'proposed' state employee union concessions in order to balance the budget, which is not guaranteed.
The Appropriations committee will be having public hearings all week. Please check here for their budget hearing schedule.
I hope you'll share your thoughts with the committee and me. Your voice matters; here are some tips on how to testify, click here.
If you plan to attend any of the state budget public hearings, they require you submit 30 copies of written testimony at the time of sign-up, but not later than 2:00 P.M. of the day. Testimony received after the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing.
The Appropriations committee has a deadline to vote for changes to the governor's budget by April 27th.
I will continue to keep you updated on the state budget process as it moves forward.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the upcoming public hearings, or any other state or local issues. I can be reached at 800-842-1423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
David T. Wilson
CT State Representative (R-66)
*Follow my legislative activity and sign up to receive my newsletter by visiting my website: www.repwilson.com.
Local Legislators Respond to Governor’s Proposed Budget
Piscopo, Wilson say budget will hurt middle class,
shift tax burden to municipalities
State Reps. John Piscopo (R-76) and David Wilson (R-66) joined their legislative colleagues in a joint session of the House and Senate as Governor Malloy delivered his biennial budget address. The governor outlined his proposed budget for FY 2018-2019.
The plan, which is littered with poor policy practices including passing fiscal responsibilities on to towns, the poor and middle classes, and retirees on fixed incomes, has fielded widespread criticism.
“The governor’s proposal punishes towns that work hard to come in with budgets that are as lean as possible and also punishes the middle class,” said Rep. Piscopo. “The process to develop a state budget begins with the governor’s proposal. Now the legislature has the opportunity to weigh in with its recommendations and I’m confident that we can develop an alternative proposal that addresses the spending problem in our state and makes fundamental, long-term structural changes that will create more stability and predictability for future budgeting cycles.”
“It is poor fiscal policy to suggest the state push off its responsibility of paying its debt obligations to towns and cities and ultimately, this policy would hurt the poor and the middle class taxpayers, as well as retirees and seniors who live on fixed incomes,” added Rep. Wilson. “We have an obligation to the taxpayers of our state to not only manage our debt, but also to set fiscal policies which will put our state back on solid financial ground. We also have an obligation to our municipalities to provide predictable budgets that they can count on year after year, in order to craft their own budget proposals which support the people of Connecticut in their hometowns.”
The Governor’s proposed budget passes more than $400 million of the cost of municipal schoolteachers’ pensions on to cities and towns to deal with. Aside from the high likelihood that it will cause local property taxes to be raised, the proposed budget increases the bottle deposit on carbonated beverages from $.05 to $.10, eliminates the property tax credit that is used by nearly 1 million homeowners, and closes the seven rest areas throughout the state.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched a new interactive website CtTravelSmart.org that provides residents with live traffic updates, which could have an impact on your travel plans.
Screenshot of CtTravelSmart Website
According to the DOT, CT Travel Smart is a real-time travel information tool and includes travel resource information pertaining to the state’s transportation related amenities.
- Real-time travel information on incidents, travel times, and camera feeds in a list format
- Options that allow users to personalize the application to show cameras, routes, and alerts that are most relevant to them
I encourage you to check the status of Connecticut's busy roadways before heading out.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this or any state or local issue. I can be reached at 800-842-1423 or email email@example.com.
Esty Introduces Bipartisan Bill
to Support Families of Fallen Service Members
Legislation Calls for Semipostal Stamp Honoring Families Who Lost Loved Ones in Combat
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today (Thursday, February 16, 2017) joined with Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-2) to introduce the Support the Families of Fallen Heroes Act to honor service members who lose their lives serving in uniform and to provide assistance to their families. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced similar legislation in the Senate today and in the 114th Congress.
In 2014, Esty met with families who lost loved ones at VFW Post 201 in Waterbury. There, Esty spoke with Mr. Joe Nolan, a Vietnam veteran and former Marine who lost his son in Iraq in 2004. Mr. Nolan, who also initiated the Gold Star Family License Plate in Connecticut, suggested creating a postal stamp in honor of the families of the fallen. Esty has introduced legislation to do so during each of her three terms in Congress.
“The brave men and women of our military who knowingly risk their lives on our behalf deserve to know that their families will be supported and cared for,” Esty said. “After speaking with Joe Nolan in Waterbury and other families who have lost loved ones, I understood the need to do more to honor their sacrifice. The ‘Families of Fallen Heroes’ Semipostal stamp will pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our nation. But it does more than that: by providing proceeds to a program that provides direct assistance to the families of fallen service members, it will help these families get critical help when they need it most.”
“For years, I have been working to get the U.S. Post office to issue a postage stamp to honor the memory of my son, Joe, and all fallen heroes from all of America’s wars and their surviving families,” Mr. Nolan said. “The stamp would not only keep their memories alive, but it would also spread awareness to those who may not be familiar with the Gold Star symbol. Our country needs to know the cost of war. I was proud to join Congresswoman Esty in 2015 to announce the new Gold Star Fathers law. I appreciate Congresswoman Esty for her work on this important issue and for bringing this stamp one step closer to reality.”
The Families of Fallen Heroes Act would direct the U.S. Postal Service to issue a Families of Fallen Heroes Semipostal Stamp, the proceeds of which would go to the Families of the Fallen Support program, which is jointly administered by the United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO) and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The Families of the Fallen support program supports families at Dover Air Base when they witness the return of their fallen loved ones and continue this support through peer-based support groups and camps for children to connect with others coping with a similar loss.
In the previous Congress, Esty worked with Mr. Nolan to introduce and pass the Gold Star Fathers Act, which extends formal hiring preference for federal jobs to fathers of disabled and deceased veterans. Previously, only qualifying mothers, known as “Gold Star Mothers,” were given preference. Former President Barack Obama signed that bill into law.