Time to Get to Work

February 23, 2012
Senator Kevin Kelly speaks with David Smith of Cablevision’s “Meet the Leaders” on opening day of session.

Senator Kevin Kelly speaks with David Smith of Cablevision’s “Meet the Leaders” on opening day of session.

Last week, I attended the opening day of the new legislative session at the Connecticut General Assembly. Senators and representatives from every part of the state made the trip to Hartford to celebrate another opportunity to propose and support bills that could improve the lives of families throughout our state. After the eventful day, I would like to share some of my thoughts with you. To say the least, it was an energizing and hopeful experience, and I am ready to get to work.

At noon, I joined senators, representatives, the judiciary, mayors and first selectmen, reporters and guests in the Hall of the House to hear Governor Dannel P. Malloy deliver the “State of the State” address. On education and economic matters, I strongly agree that we must focus on reforming the current system. By studying the failing and successful school districts, we can better solve Connecticut’s problems in education. However, we must do so by making sure that we improve our children’s education and not just throw money at the problem with the hope of improvement. To that end, I was encouraged by the Governor who seeks to reform the teacher tenure system by rewarding the best teachers and focusing on quality education.

In addition, many are still concerned about the state’s economic situation. While we successfully passed the bipartisan jobs package at an October special session, we still have more work to do to put Connecticut back to work. It was a good start to support working families and encourage a strong manufacturing base. However, challenges remain with the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis projecting a current deficit of nearly $145 million, the Moody’s downgrade of the state’s bond rating, unemployment remaining high and tax revenue in decline.

The Governor announced his budget will increase spending by $329 million this year. After last year’s record tax increase, we simply can no longer afford to continue down the path of raising taxes on the middle class by increasing spending. I am hopeful that there will be room for agreement and compromise on this issue to avoid yet another “shared” sacrifice placed on the middle class, and I will work to give voice to Connecticut’s overburdened middle class families.

Now that we have celebrated the start of the legislative session, it is time to get to work. Taking a look back, it is hard to believe that I was sworn in to the State Senate just over one year ago. During my first session, I strongly advocated on behalf of working families, seniors and for jobs throughout our region. In the coming weeks and months, I will be joining other state legislators in rolling out our aging agenda for the session. Among the many proposals this year, I look forward to working together on education reform.

I encourage you to stay informed and participate in the legislative process by contacting your representatives in Hartford. Also, please feel free to “like” my Facebook page for further updates at www.facebook.com/SenatorKevinKelly.