Chamber hosts mid-session talk with lawmakers

State Reps. Liz Linehan (D) and Rob Sampson (R) share some lively banter during a mid-session report from lawmakers on Monday. The event at the library was sponsored by the Southington Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Jen Cardines)

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

Southington’s legislators came to the Southington Public Library on Monday night to give a mid-session report on happenings at the Capitol. The session convened on Jan. 4 and will adjourn on June 7.

Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin, Southington) and Reps. Liz Linehan (D-Southington, Cheshire, Wallingford) and Rob Sampson (R-Southington, Wolcott) were in attendance to speak with their constituents about current legislation.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D) takes notes during the event.

Chamber of Commerce executive director Liz Hyatt organized the event in conjunction with library director Sue Smayda. Hyatt said the chamber heard the call that members wanted to be more informed with their legislators.

“It’s something the chamber is really trying to focus on,” said Hyatt. “There was a good turnout of both the general public and the business community.

Aresimowicz opened the conversation, saying that at the term’s halfway point, committee bills are being reviewed, along with the governor’s proposed budget that was released on Feb. 8.

“We’re all working very hard, and I think cooperatively,” he said.

Sampson said he thinks that the smaller space between the party lines is good and that legislators are communicating a lot more than they have in the past.

“When I was first elected, the makeup of the House of Representatives was 99 Democrats to 52 Republicans. Today it is 79 to 72, so it’s a lot closer,” he said. “The Senate at the time was 24 Democrats to 12 Republicans and today it’s 18 to 18.”

Linehan described her involvement this term as a freshman legislator. Holding coffee hours on a regular basis, she said she stays in touch with her constituents and encourages them to reach out to her.

“I feel like I’m on a listening tour,” she said. “I’m finding out what you all need from me. As a first time legislator, it’s really important for me to talk to everyone.”

After describing their respective roles at the Capitol, the Southington representatives took questions from the audience and met with them after the session to discuss any issues they had.

Lawmakers visited the Southington Public Library to give a mid-session report to constituents.

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