On a day filled with ceremony and the swearing in of new members and old, Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate highlighted their goals for the coming legislative session, which included:
- Maintaining bipartisanship
- Addressing energy costs
- Housing availability
- Children’s mental health care
- Preserving a 2017 budget agreement that has helped grow the state’s “rainy day” fund to $3.3 billion
“In this new term, we must make a more urgent commitment to meet the mental health needs of children, who since the pandemic face long, long waits for treatment in places like the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven. We must improve Medicaid and insurance reimbursements for children’s mental health to encourage more providers to take on these children.”
“We must create more affordable housing through a combination of mandates and incentives, especially in communities who have failed to recognize over the years that we are one Connecticut.”
“We have to provide more incentives to regional cooperation and the creation of more regional service districts in order to achieve economies of scale, and promote regional economic planning to transcend the hyper-localism that has proved both inefficient and excessively costly to us over the years.”
– Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven
“We are facing a home heating crisis as energy costs climb, and as Washington cuts funding for the most vulnerable and our working and middle class families during these unprecedented times. And we must do exactly that work for them, to bring them the help that they need, and so deservedly have earned.”
“As we begin this legislative session, there are many important issues we must address together. We must make our state more affordable when it comes to everything from energy to health care. We must work to ensure that everyone has opportunity – opportunity for education and advancement. Opportunity for a healthy, prosperous life in our state.”
– Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford
“We must enact sound housing policy that addresses the dire need for increased production of housing of all types. For families with or without children, for young professionals, for the elderly, for those with physical and intellectual disabilities, for those entering society from prison, to address housing insecurity and homelessness. Which is to say, we need more affordable housing, not less.”
– House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford
“What is unique, I think, to Connecticut, opposed to what we’re seeing at the federal level, is we can certainly disagree on policy – we’re going to continue to do that, this nomination has nothing to do with waving a white flag.”
“The respect that [Ritter] has for the process and for this institution is so critical. And when we have seen politics go in the wrong direction, this speaker met the moment at the perfect point in time to make sure Connecticut remains an institution of deliberation, of collaboration, of debate.”
– House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, on nominating Democrat Matt Ritter for an additional term as Speaker of the House.
“Sometimes people think that the fact that [Republicans and Democrats] get along somehow means that either I’m not doing my job or you [Candelora] are not doing yours. That is such a false narrative that has gripped politics over the last couple of years on both sides, and it’s so inaccurate when what we agree on is that we have an institution to run that is steeped in history and grounded in tradition.”
– Speaker of the House Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, in agreement.
On preserving the 2017 budget agreement
“In 2017, this state, and this chamber, was probably at the worst and lowest moment it could be – not because people didn’t get along, but because the state was out of really good options and decisions to make, and really smart, bright people on both sides committed themselves to a way out. Five years ago, we put in restrictions that don’t sacrifice the future or sacrifice the present, and those restrictions that we put in place – those covenants, that bipartisan deal – is why today we enjoy the largest rainy day fund in the history of Connecticut.”
– Speaker of the House Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, on the 2017, bipartisan budget agreement.
“There was a decision for Republicans back then, to allow the state to really fall into a massive budget impasse that would have cost our cities, our towns, our children’s education – it would have cost them dearly. And we did come together on a bipartisan basis and did some great work. One of those items was creating caps that we have in place that allow for fiscal restraint in a way that’s allowing us to pay down our unfunded liabilities, and certainly that’s an issue near and dear to Republicans, and we will continue to make sure those caps remain in place.”
– House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, on protecting the safeguards of that agreement.