State Sen. Kissel’s Tour Stops at Geissler’s in Granby [Granbys Patch]

October 7, 2011

About 10 people approached Kissel about a variety of issues ranging from the broad, such as energy reform, to the more personal.

The questions posed to state Sen. John A. Kissel (R-7th District) late Thursday afternoon in front of Geissler’s Supermarket in Granby ranged from the narrow — could he help a Windsor Locks man find programs to assist his troubled son? — to the broad — what’s his policy on energy reform?

In all, about 10 constituents approached Kissel, who was making his fourth stop on his “Senator on Your Sidewalk” tour that has taken him to a Shoprite in Enfield in June and, more recently, a CVS in Suffield and another Geissler’s in Somers in an effort to better communicate with his constituents.

Kissel said that he finds the stops, which are businesses where he knows there will be heavy foot traffic, are in some ways more rewarding than office hours, when visitors tend to have well-prepared agenda items.

“Plus [with office hours] people have to make their way to you,” Kissel said.

About half of the questions posed to Kissel are time sensitive, he said. For example, during his stop in June, many people wanted to express their opinions on the budget and their scepticism that union concessions would make up the budget shortfall.

Some expressed their concerns about jobs and job creation.

Most of the people who approached Kissel on Thursday had personal issues to discuss with the senator.

Granby resident John Dallen, for example, wanted to thank the senator for his role in helping quash CL&P’s plan to use the land behind his Fern Hollow home as storage space as the utility upgrades its lines from Bloomfield to Massachusetts.

Workers, according to Dallen, would have been using the storage site, which is located in a residential zone, from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Nov. 1 to April 2012.

“There goes any tranquility in the neighborhood,” said Dallen, who contacted Kissel, Granby Town Manage William Smith and Francis Armentano, director of community development, to help stave off CL&P’s plans.

Kissel confirmed to Dallen that CL&P would look elsewhere to put its storage site.

One woman from Suffield who declined to give her name pleaded with the senator to keep a bus line that runs to her temporary employment agency from being eliminated as one of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s cuts.

The woman said that about 200 temporary workers would be affected by not having transportation to her office.

An East Granby resident Bill Pitney expressed his disagreement with Kissel’s deciding vote on the state sick leave legislation that recently passed last session.

“I thought that it was anti-business and [the vote was] cast at a very poor time,” Pitney said. “The senator explained his position, but he failed to convince me.”

Kissel said that such conversations were not unusual and ones that he encourages.

“My vote is public record and it’s their right to say, ‘I wasn’t happy with that,’” Kissel said.

While not everyone saw eye-to-eye with the senator, everyone who spoke with him appreciated the time he took out of his schedule to listen to their concerns, particularly considering that this is not an election year for Kissel.

“I think it’s tremendous,” said Granby resident Uli Decher, who asked Kissel what his position was on keeping electricity rates low. “It takes a lot of patience to be a politician. I commend the senator in taking in all views and being receptive to all things but then taking a stand to determine which direction the state will take.”

Kissel — whose 7th district comprises all or portions of Granby, East Granby, Windsor, Windsor Locks, Enfield, Suffield and Somers — said that his next stop on the tour will be at a Walgreens in Windsor Locks in about a week and a half.