Saturday, January 3, 2009


Opening a new chapter in my life of public service is exciting so writing a blog from the Capitol seems to be a good venue to share my experiences and observations. I hope to provide a unique perspective on the business of the Connecticut General Assembly as a freshman senator.

I followed my two Republican predecessors’ careers in the Connecticut State Senate over the past fourteen years so some of my comments may reflect on Mark Nielsen and David Cappiello’s terms. I am glad David will remain with the Senate Republican Caucus as a policy advisor.

The Connecticut General Assembly session opens on Wednesday, January 7th. The incoming State Senate has five freshmen – four Republicans - Kevin Witkos, Toni Boucher, Scott Frantz and me - and one Democrat – Anthony Musto. Three of us are new legislators while Kevin Witkos and Toni Boucher join the Senate after distinguished careers in the State House.

My professional experiences in financial services and municipal government administration bring a unique perspective to the extreme challenges we face in the state legislature this year. All of our budget deliberations must assume the current revenue streams are dry and find less expensive alternatives to deliver core state government services.

Only a small number of current legislators were on hand for the last major budget crisis in 1991 that created the state income tax. State government’s reliance on the income tax has grown in leaps and bounds since then.

With dramatic reductions in tax revenue due to the Wall Street mess we are now faced with difficult decisions – do we reduce state spending to match the belt-tightening in homes across Connecticut or keep operating a bloated government with dozens of new tax increases?

Connecticut legislators have a good opportunity this year to make bold decisions to transform our government into a 21st Century model of efficiency. Bold decisions require action – not blue ribbon commissions and task forces. Let us dust off the dozens of studies and reports, look at the best practices of every state government and develop a plan for 2009.

This Wednesday I’ll be joined by friends and family as I take the oath of office. Check back for my report on the opening day experience.

May God Bless Governor Rell, my fellow legislators and I with the strength and wisdom we’ll need to make the right decisions.