Celebrating Our State Parks

May 1, 2013

This week’s column was also written by my intern, Jason Langeway. He discusses his experience and an important event we will be hosting on May 18th. Please see his column below:

I hope you all enjoyed my article last week on social capital. This week, I would like to introduce myself more as a student and intern and share what my life has been like for the past few months. During this time, I have been immersed in the atmosphere of the Capitol, which is energetic, lively and full of connections waiting to be established. On top of it all, I was paired with a senator who was able to guide me along the way and provide me with the tools to make my internship experience a successful one.

Coming into the General Assembly, I was the student who was focused more on the federal government. Everyone is concerned with what is happening on a national level and what President Obama is doing. Many people are not exactly concerned with what goes on in state government. To be honest, I was one of these people before I became an intern. Besides the experience of meeting people and gaining knowledge, I became an intern to learn more about what our legislature does.

As an intern, I have listened to Senator Witkos’ constituents voice their thoughts and concerns about many of the proposed bills. I have also learned how profound an impact your phone calls, emails and letters have had on the overall outcome of the laws being considered in the legislature. One of my responsibilities is a bill-tracking project where I had to choose a proposal and track it through the whole legislative process.

I decided to track a bill that Senator Witkos introduced and is called Senate Bill 360, An Act Concerning Education Programs for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections, also known as PANDAS. I chose this bill for several reasons after taking part in an informational hearing and meeting with the director of the PANDAS Resource Network and doctors who have done research on this rare and often misdiagnosed disease. Fortunately, the bill has made it past committee and is currently on the calendar to be heard in the Senate.

Another project that I am planning for Senator Witkos is a cleanup day at Peoples State Forest in Barkhamsted. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Connecticut State Parks system, Senator Witkos adopted the state park through a Connecticut Forest and Park Association program to bring attention to our state’s natural resources. The importance of state parks seems to go overlooked around the country. Many take for granted the beauty and overall benefit they provide to our society. We should want to preserve the simple moments such as taking your children or pets to the park.

Senator Witkos will be hosting a cleanup day at Peoples State Forest from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18th. This is a great way to help preserve a park that has provided enjoyment to many. It is also a great way to build social capital by meeting new people in our district. I am working hard to make this event a successful one. If you would like to join us, here are directions to where we will be meeting: Off Route 44, take Route 318 in Barkhamsted. After crossing the steel bridge, take an immediate left onto East River Road. The recreation area is about one mile up and on the left. Please join Senator Witkos and me for this exciting event.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and experience with you. This internship has been an exciting and memorable experience. The tools for success that I will take away from it will help me along my future career. For any additional information about my internship or the cleanup day, please feel free to contact me by email at [email protected].