Sen. McLachlan, Legislators Start “Life Sciences Caucus”

February 21, 2013

By Johanna Somers


Hartford — Four state legislators including Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, today announced a new, bipartisan life sciences caucus of the legislature that aims to promote innovation and economic growth.

Life sciences — including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies and devices and life systems technologies — “represent billions of dollars in revenues to the state and an important employment sector for our state and, frankly, it is the future in many respects for our state,” Maynard said.

Maynard, Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, and Rep. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, will co-chair the committee. Industry leaders and stakeholders will be invited to meet with caucus members to discuss their needs and vision for the industry, Maynard said. The caucus expects to draw more companies to Connecticut by providing a central place for companies to learn about which life sciences industries and resources already exist in Connecticut, Hwang said.

“We have the innovators. We have the leaders. It is our job to let the world know that we have them,” Hwang said.

Maynard said the state has already shown its interest by investing in the John Dempsey Hospital and Jackson Laboratory in Farmington. State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, said another example of the state’s commitment was passing research and development tax credits for the life sciences.

The state has more than 10,000 jobs in the bio-pharmaceutical industry and the industry supports over 41,000 jobs indirectly, Maynard said. The state gets $43.5 million in direct taxes from those jobs, he said. The caucus is talking about supporting industries beyond bio-pharmaceutical, he said.

But more people need to know that Connecticut has these industries, Hwang said.
“We have some of the best and brightest right now in Connecticut, but most people don’t know it,” Hwang said. The solution to growing the industry isn’t strictly bonding or state spending but rather “cheerleading” and advocating for partnerships and for the use of resources that already exist, he said.