Sen. Boucher, Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea Discuss State Issues with Constituents at a Town Hall Forum in Wilton

January 31, 2018

 

Sen Boucher and Wilton Constituent

State Senator Toni Boucher (right) talks to a Wilton constituent about the upcoming legislative session.

WILTON  State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) and Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Tom O’Dea (R-125) listened to the questions and concerns of constituents in Wilton at a town hall meeting they hosted January 29.

The legislators engaged in a productive discussion at the Wilton Library with area residents seeking to hear from their elected officials before the legislative “short session” begins on February 7th, amidst persisting budget issues and concerns about transportation funding.

The legislators answered dozens of questions over the course of the hour and a half event about a range of topics.

Connecticut’s economy and volatile fiscal situation were of particular concern for Wilton residents, with attendees worried about how Connecticut’s unfunded liabilities and budget deficits will affect their property taxes.  Other questions covered education funding, the SEBAC union contract, health insurance, and how to make Connecticut more attractive to businesses.

Sen. Boucher said attending town hall events helps her stay in touch with constituents and the issues important to them.

“While people can call or email me, seeing people face-to-face is so important to appreciating the issues that really matter to them,” said Sen. Boucher.  “Before the town hall, some of my Democrat colleagues had a press conference about putting tolls on Connecticut highways. Many of my constituents are commuters and proposals for tolls and increased rail fares means more money coming out of their pockets. They want to know what is being done to control costs. They want an accounting of how their money is being spent.

“There is also a lot of concern about the state’s finances and how their tax dollars are being spent. Too many of them are thinking of moving because of the high cost to live in the state. All agreed that they love Connecticut, but they want to see tax policies changed. It’s my responsibility to make certain those concerns are being heard in Hartford,” she said.

“People, towns, and businesses are clearly feeling the full force of the uncertainties about taxes, services, transportation, and the local economy that are caused by the state’s persistent fiscal crisis,” said Rep. Lavielle. “It is clear that the legislature must act urgently to address Connecticut’s unsustainable pension and benefits liabilities and eliminate wasteful spending, while finding ways to expand the state’s tax base. Doing both at the same time is challenging, but necessary to restore Connecticut’s economy and to protect its quality of life. I am glad that we had a strong turnout at the Monday town hall, because it’s important for people to understand the state’s fiscal realities. I hope that my constituents will continue to use my office as a resource for answers to any questions they have about state government.”

“Following the longest budget process in state history, many Wilton residents who attended last night’s town hall had genuine concerns about Connecticut’s future,” said Rep. O’Dea. “It is difficult for anyone, residents and businesses alike, to make a long-term commitment to Connecticut while our state’s political and economic environment remain unpredictable. We have the short session ahead of us with the difficult task of cutting more spending to balance the budget while also addressing the transportation fund, which has been raided so many times that it will soon be depleted.”

Anyone who was unable to attend the event but would like to speak with Reps. Lavielle and O’Dea can reach them any time at their email addresses, respectively, gail.lavielle@cga.ct.gov and tom.odea@housegop.ct.gov or by calling 800-842-1423.  Sen. Boucher can be reached by email attoni.boucher@cga.ct.gov or by calling 800-842-1421.

State Representative Gail Lavielle represents the 143rd district, which includes parts of Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton. She is Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee and the Transportation Committee.

State Representative Tom O’Dea represents the 125th General Assembly district communities of New Canaan and Wilton

State Sen. Toni Boucher represents the 26th Senate district communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.