Gene Borio: Our State Reps Really Listen

It was not the most glamorous event last week.

But Thursday’s “city hall” meeting with our state legislators at Town Hall drew about 30 Westporters.

Alert “06880” reader Gene Borio was there. And although the subject matter was dry — the budget, transportation, infrastructure — the 3 politicians were very impressive.

State senator Toni Boucher, and representatives Gail Lavielle and Jonathan Steinberg (Tony Hwang was working late in Hartford) addressed many tough issues with “equanimity, intelligence and perspicacity,” Gene says.

Also: bipartisanship.

There was no rancor or petty sniping between the 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat.

The setting was utilitarian, as Gail Lavielle, Jonathan Steinberg and Toni Boucher addressed important local issues with honesty and intelligence. (Photo/Gene Borio)

The setting was utilitarian, as Gail Lavielle, Jonathan Steinberg and Toni Boucher addressed important local issues with honesty and intelligence. (Photo/Gene Borio)

As the legislature balances Connecticut’s deficit, current and future needs, and the necessity for new funding sources, the intelligent discussion covered topics like our tax burden, loss of jobs and residents, Metro-North, and possible tolls.

The panel strongly critiqued a proposed bill that would create an entity — the Connecticut Transit Corridor Development Authority — empowered to encourage business development within a 1/2-mile radius of rail or bus transit stations. Westport alert: It would have little local oversight — and even worse, would have the power of eminent domain.

On affordable housing, the representatives gave kudos to Westport for addressing the issue years ago.

blog - CT sealThe legislators emphasized their support for environmental groups, Sherwood Island and the Westport Library. They heard — and were moved by — heart-felt stories about what happens when people served by the Department of Developmental Services (and their caregivers) grow old.

Afterwards, there was a friendly meet-and-greet. Gene says that one rep noted how gratifying it is to come to Westport, with its intelligent, informed and engaged citizens.

Of course, Gene notes, “we elected them. We’re pretty fortune to have these no-nonsense politicians, who clearly and truly serve in a tough job.”

That’s Hartford. I’ve said the same thing before, about Westport’s public servants.

Washington: Are you listening?

One response to “Gene Borio: Our State Reps Really Listen

  1. Bart Shuldman

    What did anyone say about the huge unfunded liabilities the state has and the significant budget issues we face? Did anyone present their solution?