Sen. Martin Urges Business Leaders to Engage in Legislative Process:

January 12, 2015

Article as it appeared in the Bristol Press

BRISTOL — Aiming to better promote its agenda, the Bristol-based Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce recently issued a list of seven issues it will push state legislators to pursue.

Jim Albert, the chamber’s president, said the business community hasn’t done as much as it could in recent years, too often settling for “a contrarian type of position” opposing initiatives that would hold back the economy.

This year, he said, it is trying to be more positive and to focus “on things we want” instead of just standing in opposition to proposals it doesn’t like.

The chamber’s priorities for the General Assembly session include securing more funds for a regional loan program, pursuing tourism, getting state help to restore historic and important buildings and promoting the bioscience zone.

The chamber is also pursuing state aid to create walkways, bikeways and rail trails along river banks, including perhaps along the Pequabuck River between Rockwell Park and Forestville.

The chamber seeks, too, funding, training and equipment for workforce development programs.

State Rep. Mike Demicco, a Farmington Democrat, said he appreciated the concrete suggestions from the chamber because it gives him some direction. He vowed to take the requests to heart as the new legislative session proceeds.

A Bristol Republican, state Sen. Henri Martin, urged business leaders to get engaged in the legislative process. He said that if they act collectively, they can make a difference at the state Capitol.

While asking for assistance for its own priorities, the chamber called on the state to pare spending, upgrade transportation, reduce mandates and do more to help hospitals.

Albert said he admits the chamber is “definitely as schizophrenic as anybody else” in seeking money for what it wants while looking for cuts in other areas.

He said he is increasingly concerned that as Baby Boomers retire in ever-greater numbers, they will leave the state and “take their wealth with them.”

Albert said that state leaders have to do more to spur the creation of wealth, the fundamental building block for business growth and jobs.

Steve Collins can be reached at (860) 584-0501, ext. 1801, or at [email protected]