Welch looks back on two terms in office [Plainville Citizen]

December 16, 2014

Article as it appeared in the Plainville Citizen

State Sen. Jason Welch who represents Plainville in the 31st district did not seek reelection in November and will leave office at the end of the year. Welch has served two terms.

“I’m a part time legislator and from the outset I made clear I’m not interested in being a career politician. Term limits are healthy for government and growth within both parties. It’s a little sooner than some would like but it’s consistent with those principles,” he said. “There are also the demands of a full time job and a large growing family.” Welch works as an attorney for a Lloyd’s of London syndicate in Farmington. He lives in Bristol with his wife Elizabeth and their seven children.

Welch said local residents and small business owners have benefited from his service. “I make sure to communicate regularly with the people of Plainville and be accessible so their concerns are taken to Hartford. I make sure small businesses are receiving attention. There’s been a lot of economic development and Plainville businesses have taken advantage of it,” he said.

Welch said he was instrumental in the establishment of the Narcan access law in 2012. Narcan is an overdose reversal drug that is used to treat heroin and cocaine abuse. “The state has faced an epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse and I’ve spent a lot of time working on bills that allow for distribution of Narcan to save lives,” he said. Welch is a member of the Senate’s public health committee.

Welch has been vocal on the state budget crisis. “The financial crisis is a slow pot brewing. There’s a problem with state spending and benefits borrowing to pay for future expenses. The only solution the other side has presented is to make tax payers pay for it. Over the last four years, I’ve worked with Republicans to present alternative budgets that take money from social services and give it to not for profits. I support alternative models of spending and distribution of government goods I’m very proud of, but the current administration hasn’t subscribed to them,” he said.

Welch says fundamental changes need to take place in operating the state budget in regard to employee benefits that offer 401k plans and health care. The state should avoid the type of plans that destroyed municipalities, he said. “What we’re doing is leading Connecticut down the same path.”

Welch intends to stay active in state politics after his terms ends. “I fully intend to stay involved with district politics,” he said. “I may join committees and boards and look to be a voice for change necessary to make the state the great state it was where we could afford to work and live and raise families.”

Jill Fitzerald, accounting manager at the Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce who served as Welch’s legislative aide, said Welch was very supportive of Plainville businesses and also brought a new level of accessibility to the office. “He kept his constituents well informed and established an email list that we used to provide information. Plainville was hit hard by the hurricane and October snow storm and Welch went to speak with residents and connect them to FEMA for assistance.”

Henri Martin, the newly elected state senator who will take Welch’s post, said, “Jason Welch was well liked and very personable. He represented the district quite well and I hope to follow in his footsteps.”