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Republican Leaders’ Letter To The Governor, re: Covid-19

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Apr 212020
 

(photo from live science.com)

Dear Governor Lamont,

We are writing to you on behalf of the House Republican Caucus to thank you for your tireless effort in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to convey our concerns about how we move forward together as a state.

Our laws allow you to make and change some policy decisions without legislative approval during these times of crisis. However, it is critical that we continue to work together for so many reasons, not the least of which is that your extraordinary authority is short term; however, the consequences of some of your decisions will be lasting. Some of the consequences will be helpful to families and others may be unintentionally harmful. It is important that we have continuity in our partnership, even when you are allowed to make decisions unilaterally.

As we alluded to in our last letter to you, it is our job as state legislators to be engaged in our districts and to listen to the constituents in cities and towns that we represent. This role allows us to share with you intimate knowledge and different viewpoints of residents and businesses throughout our diverse state. The reopening of the state is no exception; positions on this critically important decision differ based on a host of factors, but most significantly, based on where a person lives within the state.

The mechanism for reopening our state is reversing the policies in your Executive Orders. So, the most basic question that we have to answer together is: When do we start rolling back those policies? Understandably, the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group does not have that answer yet; however, the Chairs of the Group generally indicated the concerns, observations, and outcomes that will guide decisions to begin the process of reopening our state:

  • 14-day decline of cases/hospitalizations
  • Mass testing, contact tracing, and self-isolation
  • Protect high-risk populations
  • An adequate supply of PPE
  • Continued physical distancing regulations
  • Adequate healthcare capacity for all

    In concept, we agree that these are concerns that should be assigned significant weight. However, the fact that Group members have not yet identified specific non-public health concerns, in the same way, makes us question the degree of attention that is being given to other areas that impact the lives and livelihood

of our citizens. Waiting on a cure or a vaccine is not an option so I think you would agree we must consider a balanced approach to reopening the economy and protecting Connecticut residents.

For example, although there has been reporting on job losses, these numbers are not highlighted in your press releases in the same way that you focus on the points above. The state has also seen a dramatic increase in domestic violence as a result of social distancing policies. But, your office does not release daily numbers showing increases in spousal and child abuse. In addition, the policy to ban “elective” medical procedures takes a toll on people with serious health conditions. To be clear, we are not implying that you are intentionally misleading the public by not publishing this information; rather, we are concerned that these kinds of unintended consequences will continue to be overlooked or diminished while considering when to reopen our state.

We are particularly concerned about the impact of isolation and social distancing policies on children. Professionals who regularly work with children would add an essential perspective to the Advisory Group. Therefore, we recommend including a special education teacher, pediatric social worker, experienced DCF employee, and a pediatrician to the appropriate subgroup(s). These are some examples of professionals who have direct contact with a vulnerable population and who would provide needed insight into policy impacts.

Again, we believe that your motives and intentions (and those of the Advisory Group) are sincere and good. We are suggesting that we continue our partnership during these times, which includes sharing different viewpoints and truly working together to reopen our state.

In closing, we are not proposing an immediate reopening of the entire state. We are asking for 1) greater communication with legislative leaders before decisions are made and 2) greater communication with the public regarding the impact of policies being implemented.

As always, thank you for your commitment and the commitment of your staff during these difficult times. We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Representative Themis Klarides House Republican Leader and  Representative Vincent Candelora Deputy House Republican Leader

Chamber Hosts Morning Jolt With State Legislators

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Feb 182020
 

The Orange and Milford Chambers of Commerce will host a joint Morning Jolt Coffee and Conversation event with local legislators at Eli’s Restaurant, 285 Boston Post Road, Orange, on Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 7:45 to 9 a.m.

Guests include: State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114), State Sen. James Maroney (D-14), State Rep. Charles Ferraro (R-117) and State Rep. Kathy Kennedy (R-119).

Reservations are required, so don’t procrastinate, e-mail director@orangectchamber.com or call Carol at 203-795-3328, or pstaneski@milfordct.com or call Pam at 203-878-0681.

Recap: State Lawmakers’ Town Hall Coffee Hour

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Feb 032020
 

State lawmakers, State Reps. Themis Klarides, Charles Ferraro and Kathy Kennedy held a pre-session coffee hour Thursday morning at the Orange Town Hall to talk with residents about the issues that will be discussed during the upcoming legislative session, which will start on Wednesday, February 5th.

Rep. Klarides said, “Of course until we settle the issue of tolls it is going to keep dominating the legislative landscape. But there are other matters outside of the budget cuts that need to be made to balance just this year also up for discussion: marijuana legalization and sports gambling to name a couple.’’

“Tolls will be one of the major topics being discussed before and during the legislative session,” said Rep. Ferraro. “Tolls are the number one thing Democratic lawmakers want to pass in Hartford. Instead of looking at ways we can save taxpayers’ money, they are always looking at ways to increase revenue sources. We need to make our state more affordable and stop the unnecessary revenue grabs.”

Rep. Kennedy added that she enjoyed listening to Orange constituents express their concerns about state issues including tolls, job training, the effect of the minimum wage on small businesses and the state budget.

“The issue that dominated the conversation was tolls. People just do not trust the government, they think a truck-only toll option will inevitably lead to tolls for all cars at every location,” said Rep. Kennedy.

To contact the lawmakers or to sign up to receive their updates, visit cthousegop.com

A Morning Jolt With A Twist

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Aug 132019
 

Every month, the Orange Chamber of Commerce hosts its Morning Jolt gathering for members at Eli’s Restaurant, Orange.

This month’s event will be a little different than the usual networking format because Orange is pairing with the Milford Chamber and there will be four special guests.

On Tuesday, August 27, The Morning Jolt Coffee and Conversation event will be with our CT Legislators, State Rep. Themis Klarides, State Sen. James Maroney, State Rep. Charles Ferraro, and State Rep. Kathy Kennedy.

Mark your calendar for Aug. 27, from 7:30-9 a.m. at Eli’s, 285 Boston Post Road.

Reservations are required. In Orange, call 203-795-3328 or e-mail director@orangectchamber.com. Milford members call 203-878-0681 or e-mail pstaneski@milfordct.com. 

House Passes Sports Helmets Safety Bill Introduced by Klarides Sisters

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May 012018
 

Yesterday, the House unanimously passed legislation, introduced by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides and State Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria, which will provide consumers with better information regarding the safety of sports helmets.

The Klarides sisters brought this legislation forward after, Jason Klein of Force3 Pro Gear, a local Derby business, expressed his frustration that his company and others were unable to share their helmet safety test results with the public.

According to Klein, sports safety helmets are tested by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. The NOCSAE helmet standard uses a pass/fail threshold to determine whether or not a helmet meets the standard performance criteria. The NOCSAE pass/fail threshold is 1200 Severity Index units or SI. A helmet must test below 1200 SI in all 16 designated and random impact locations, including impacts at a helmet in ambient, high and low temperatures.

Klein said in testimony, “There’s been no place for an athlete or parent seeking helmet safety information to turn and no way for them to compare results with other helmets currently on the market.”

Rep. Klarides and Klarides-Ditria said in a joint statement, “Helmet manufacturers should be able to tell the public that their protective equipment is tested and safe. We want to thank Jason for bringing this forward. This legislation will keep athletes of all ages safe.”

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Klarides On Malloy’s Call For A 90-Day Budget

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Jul 182017
 

“Having the state run by executive fiat is the least attractive scenario that we face. House Republicans are prepared to vote on our two-year budget now, and formulated a temporary, one-month budget version as well that does not gut social services programs.’’

Republicans raised concerns before the end of the fiscal year about social services being cut and about allowing raises for judges to go forward absent the enactment of a budget.

Klarides Questions Malloy’s $22 Million Bonding for Hedge Fund to Renovate Offices

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May 252016
 

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides this week questioned why Gov. Malloy has approved $22 million in bonding this Friday to help Bridgewater Associates, the world’ s largest hedge fund, renovate three offices, in Westport, Wilton and Norwalk.

3 Klarides Orange Chamber EventThe State Bond Commission is expected to approve the item on its agenda Friday.

“With all that has transpired in the last two weeks with the state’s budget a mess, and unfinished school construction projections hanging, to make the world’s largest hedge fund a priority, I find it dubious,’’ Klarides said. “Of course we want to keep highly skilled, well-paying jobs in Connecticut. But we all know that other vital projects will not be funded because we have to curtail our borrowing.’’

According to the commission agenda, the state loan and grant will allow Bridgewater to retain 1,400 jobs in Connecticut and add on another 750. The company can forgive the loan if it meets those goals by 2021. The project involves expanding and renovating the company’s existing offices and installing alternative energy systems.

Klarides pointed out that Bridgewater has more than $150 billion under management.

Gov. Malloy previously proposed giving the company $115 million to move its headquarters to his hometown of Stamford. After objections were raised, the project was eventually scrapped.

 

Klarides, Staneski, and Slossberg Tour Sikorsky

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Feb 242015
 

State Reps. Pam Staneski (R-119), Jason Perillo (R-113), Kim Rose (D-118), Sen. Gayle Slossberg,(D-14), State Rep. Laura Hoydick, (R-120) with House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114), State Rep. Ben McGorty and United Technologies, Government Relations, Jackie

State Reps. Pam Staneski (R-119), Jason Perillo (R-113), Kim Rose (D-118), Sen. Gayle Slossberg,(D-14), State Rep. Laura Hoydick, (R-120) with House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114), State Rep. Ben McGorty and United Technologies, Government Relations, Jackie

State Representatives Themis Klarides (R-114), Pam Staneski (R-119) and State Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-14) participated in a two-hour-long facility tour for area lawmakers at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford on Monday, Feb 23.

Both Rep. Klarides and Sen. Slossberg voted last session to support an incentive program to bolster Connecticut’s aerospace industry, foster the creation and retention of jobs and protect our national defense. United Technologies Corporation, which is the state’s largest private employer, does business with companies in Orange and Milford, and many employees reside in the towns.

Staneski, is serving her first term in the General Assembly was impressed with the Sikorsky plant.

Staneski said, “The presence of Sikorsky in the region has a direct impact on the district, we have a vested interest in keeping them in our state. After touring Sikorsky my belief is only reinforced that we must maintain and encourage good paying jobs for Connecticut residents.”

Klarides said, “Sikorsky Aircraft is a beacon for jobs and manufacturing in our state. We recognize that Sikorsky’s continued strong presence in Connecticut has a substantial impact on hundreds of small companies that do business with them and the thousands of employees they employ.”

“This is a great example of a successful partnership between state and private enterprise,” said Sen. Slossberg. “Sikorsky is thriving and continues to hire a large number of students from UConn and our vo-tech schools. Their business success is great news for the more than 1500 UTC employees and nearly 100 UTC suppliers in our towns.”

 

Klarides Exposes Flawed, Partisan Process for Licensing Legislation

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May 232013
 

State Rep. Themis Klarides

State Rep. Themis Klarides

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) spoke out this morning against the hurried and sloppy technique majority legislators used to craft and force through a controversial bill allowing undocumented immigrants to attain driving privileges.

The bill, which was called for debate by Democratic legislators after 10:00pm, would grant undocumented immigrants the privilege starting in 2015.

“The process by which this measure came through the legislature has been, frankly, irresponsible and disappointing,” Rep. Klarides said. “With many important questions left unanswered, this far-reaching policy was hastily rushed through in the dead of night by majority legislators, postponing the start of the debate until after 10:00pm.”

The measure did not go through the normal legislative process, and has not passed through a single legislative committee.

“This divisive and important issue is very meaningful to a lot of folks in this state, and has the potential to help a lot of people. It deserved a comprehensive and fair evaluation, and likely would have garnered bipartisan support, but was instead driven by stubborn partisanship.”

Klarides supported an amendment to create a task force aimed at accurately determining the effect this sweeping program would have on Connecticut. It was defeated on party lines.

“Without a study or any effort to thoroughly vet this concept, we can only speculate the impact this bill will have on homeland security, public safety, insurance policy holders and insurance companies. Perhaps even more troubling is that we have no plan to allocate the financial and staff resources needed for the DMV to manage the colossal influx of demand that will cripple their day-to-day operations.”

Seven states that granted driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants have since repealed the law.

“Hastily ramming this legislation through at a time when most people are asleep, including many reporters and investigative watchdogs, illustrates the proponents’ underlying motive: pure politics.”

The bill now awaits action by Senate. The 2013 legislative session adjourns June 5.