Nurturing The Hopes & Dreams Of Tomorrow’s Leaders

October 13, 2009

One of the most rewarding parts of my job as a State Senator is talking to constituents about the issues that matter most to them. I enjoy the experience even more when the people I meet are children and young adults because they are so eager to learn, so enthusiastic about pretty much everything, and so full of hope for the future.

That is why I was happy to accept an invitation to participate in the recent 2009 Regional Middle School & High School Career Fair at the Cornucopia Banqueting Hall in Torrington. The event was organized by the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce along with its Community Education Business Partnership, of which Thomaston High School is a member. Students in grades seven through 12 and their parents were invited to spend a few hours checking out the displays and speaking with professionals from a wide variety of fields.

As both a State Senator and the owner of a small business, I talked with the students and answered questions about both of my occupations. I was impressed that so many businesses and government agencies participated. Students and their parents spent the evening visiting their booths, and had the opportunity to ask professionals what it is like to work in their fields and to prepare themselves for jobs in those professions. They had the opportunity to ask business leaders if a college degree is necessary to work in particular professions and, if so, what they should major in. Students were encouraged to ask the participants about their careers, and what kind of research and preparation they should do if they want to follow in their footsteps. And, even though this event was designed as a career fair, not a job fair, students were free to ask business leaders what types of jobs exist in their particular industries or businesses.

Students who attended had the opportunity to talk with professionals in the fields of agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, law, insurance, information technology, various social and human services, finance, hospitality, health, education, arts, transportation, marketing, construction, architecture, environment, government, and more. The students I spoke with were respectful and interested, and many asked questions that showed they have already spent some time thinking about the careers they might want to pursue. I was very impressed.

When talking with these students and their parents, I was reminded about how important it is for the General Assembly to consider the best interest of all of our constituents when making decisions and passing laws. In just a few short years, the students who attended the career fair will be looking for jobs in earnest. Are the laws we are passing, the tax policies we are implementing, the government spending and borrowing we are doing going to help, or hurt, these children when they need to find jobs in Connecticut?

It is no secret that I opposed the $37.6 billion biennial state budget just adopted by the General Assembly because it is too expensive, requires too much borrowing, increases a wide variety of state fees, and imposes a tax surcharge on Connecticut’s larger businesses. Our children would be better served by a state budget that controls spending and taxes because, among other things, such a budget would encourage the retention and creation of jobs. It was obvious to me that the young adults I had the privilege to meet at the career fair will grow up to be responsible, contributing, members of society. Clearly, making it possible, and desirable, for them to work, live, and raise their own families in Connecticut would be best for all of us.

As always, I encourage my constituents to share their concerns and ideas. I can be reached at my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421, or via e-mail to [email protected].