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Klarides’ Statement On Awarding No-Bid CT Reopening Contract to Boston Firm

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May 142020
 

Following is a statement from Rep. Themis Klarides:

“The lack of transparency and blatant disregard for any public input or comment about critical government functions – the safety and health policies that must guide us in the coming months – is appalling. The people who run the businesses and are the backbone of our economy are the first people we should talk to, not out-of-state consultants who will earn millions telling us how to run our lives.

“And we learned of this development from the Lamont administration just after its chief public health official was fired.

“We have a 50-member ‘Reopen Connecticut’ council in place, most of whom are not subject to Freedom of Information Act statutes, and now we find out that the administration has awarded a $2 million no-bid contract to a Boston firm to carry out the work.

“Gov. Lamont, on one hand, preaches transparency and then conducts business behind closed doors without any consideration of FOIA laws. What else is going on that we don’t know about now, but may learn of in the near future?”

 

Wait, What? Klarides Announces She is Not Running in 2020

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Apr 212020
 

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, the first woman to lead the Republican caucus in Connecticut, and who has served for 22 years in the state legislature, today announced that she will not seek re-election for a 12th term in the General Assembly this November.

Klarides, elected in 1998, (R-114, Derby, Woodbridge, and Orange) said it was a combination of personal and professional considerations that led to her decision, one that she has agonized over for months.

“This is truly a citizen legislature and we are blessed to serve those that bestow their trust in us. I have tried to live up to those expectations every day for the last 22 years.

 “Times change and we have to move on and make decisions about balancing life and how we can best serve those that rely on us,’’ Klarides said. “This is the end of an extremely fulfilling and challenging chapter in my life. But anyone who knows me understands that my commitment to public service is ongoing. 

Klarides thanked all the current and former colleagues that she has served with, Republicans and Democrats. She is most proud on a statewide level of her support for taxpayer issues and opposition, most recently, to the implementation of tolls. Locally, her commitment to charities and non-profit organizations has been a priority.

Klarides said she will continue to work with her colleagues for the rest of the term in office to get the state back up and running. 

“Government must respond to those who need it most in this time of crisis: the workers who find themselves unemployed, our seniors and first responders who sacrifice daily. We must help them so that they, in turn, can care for their loved ones. I commit to continuing to work to find solutions and common ground that make sense for the taxpayers who ultimately will have to foot the bill,’’ Klarides said. 

She also cited some other accomplishments during her tenure in office:

  • The passage in 2017 of the bipartisan budget after a 10-month impasse that did not raise taxes and put in place significant spending and borrowing caps that stabilized the state budget;
  • Her longstanding commitment to women’s health issues and healthcare, including expanded insurance coverage of breast care treatment and awareness.
  • Support for victims’ rights, including domestic violence, drunk driving, and anti-voyeurism laws.

Klarides Calls on Gov. Lamont to Finally Release Fire School Funds

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Mar 042020
 

File photo from 2015 fire school session

With the debate on tolls over, House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today called on Gov. Lamont to make good on a 2018 campaign promise and finally release money he identified for a fire training school in Beacon Falls.

Klarides noted that in campaigning for governor Lamont came to the Naugatuck Valley and promised that if elected he would come through for the Naugatuck Valley and finally build the facility slated for Beacon Falls.

“It is appropriate now that the tolls issue has been concluded for the time being that the governor make good on his campaign promise and authorize the money,’’ Klarides said. “This is not about politics, this is about public safety.’’  

Lamont delayed acting on a bond package for municipalities and state projects while the tolls issue was being debated. The governor made clear he would not finalize a bond package until the tolls were dealt with. Last month he acknowledged that he could get the toll plan through the legislature and abandoned it after months of rancorous public debate.   

The long-delayed school was planned nearly two decades ago when officials first drew up a priority list of schools to build. The Valley Fire Chiefs Regional Fire School was identified but the $14 million authorized for construction was never finalized by the state Bond Commission. The facility was designed to serve 22 towns in the Greater Naugatuck Valley. Currently, firefighters train at a variety of sites around the state.

Klarides noted that local and state officials from both political parties have long advocated for the training school.

“As I have repeatedly said, this transcends political philosophy and party affiliation. This project has been on the books for almost 20 years and needs to be completed,’’ Klarides said.

  

Orange Board of Education Member Challenging Klarides

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Feb 222020
 

Mary Welander of Orange officially launched her candidacy on Saturday for State Representative in the 114th House District, serving the towns of Derby, Orange and Woodbridge. Mary enters the race with the goal of representing and fighting for comprehensive educational opportunities for our children, advancement for families, and stronger support for seniors in the district.

“For too long we have been waiting for someone to put our needs and priorities first, and it hasn’t happened,” said Welander. “Opportunities have been missed, families are being left behind, and people aren’t being helped. And that is what this is all about: helping people. It’s not about building up a name for yourself; it’s about building up our communities. The truth is that things aren’t going to get better for the everyday families in our communities until we have more people from those families involved in making the decisions that affect our everyday lives. We feel the effects; we should be part of the conversation.”

“Mary Welander is a dedicated community advocate who is committed to addressing the challenging issues in education, economic improvement, the environment, and a better quality of life for all our citizens.” said Paul Davis, former State Representative and Selectman, and current member of the Amity Board of Education. “Mary’s focus is on people, not politics.”

“Mary understands what our community is facing and is ready to work so that our families have the best chance for success in their futures,” said Beth Heller, First Selectwoman of Woodbridge. “Her commitment to our towns and real-life problem solving is clear and we look forward to Mary truly representing Woodbridge in Hartford.”

Mary is a member of the Orange Board of Education and currently serves as the Vice Chair of both the Finance and Personnel, Policy, and Transportation subcommittees. She is also Co-President of the Race Brook School PTA. Mary is an Ambassador for Connecticut for Sandy Hook Promise and regularly promotes education-based, common sense solutions for gun violence prevention programs both within the state and through bi-partisan outreach trips to Washington, DC. Mary has recently joined the team of Pirie Associates, an architecture, landscape, and interior design firm in New Haven committed to sustainable and equitable built environments.

Marc Garofalo, former Mayor of Derby, said, “Mary shows true commitment to bipartisan problem solving every day with her work on the Orange Board of Education. She has dedicated herself to making better futures for families in her town and I know she will do the same for the families of Derby.”

Mary and her husband Matt (a college professor, small business owner, and volunteer Scout leader), live in Orange with their three children and their dog, Bauer. These days Mary is often found at High Plains Community Center and other various pools cheering on their daughter and the rest of the ARAC Swim Team, or attending meetings for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or other various organizations she and her family are part of.

“My dedication to the Orange Board of Education will not change; serving on the board and working in a bi-partisan way to help our children is a huge honor for me,” Welander said. “My commitment to all of our towns hasn’t wavered, in fact it has grown. This district, my neighbors, our schools, and our state deserve someone who will do the work and fight for them. Problems aren’t solved by pointing fingers and I am tired of hearing the same arguments while nothing changes and families continue to struggle. Orange, Derby, and Woodbridge deserve more. I hope I can earn their trust and support.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about Mary or her candidacy for State Representative can visit www.welanderforct.com or @welanderforct on Facebook.

 

Area Lawmakers Ask Gov. Lamont to Host a Toll Meeting in their Communities

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Jan 092020
 

Area lawmakers, House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria, Rep. David Labriola, Rep. Charles Ferraro, and Rep. Kathy Kennedy, sent a joint letter on Wednesday to Governor Ned Lamont asking him to host additional Town Hall Meetings about his CT2030 Transportation Plan that includes truck-only tolls.

Last week, it was uncovered that the Governor and Democratic lawmakers in Westport were preparing to host a secret meeting about the Governor’s transportation plan. The purpose of the secret meeting was to give anti-toll supporters as little notice as possible about the meeting. The governor and Democratic lawmakers announced this week that the rescheduled meeting in Westport will be open to the public.

In the joint letter to Governor Lamont, Republican lawmakers said, “Not unlike Westport, our districts are concerned about Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure and we would like to give our constituents an opportunity to learn
more and ask questions with regard to how CT 2030 will affect them. We believe a Town Hall could be beneficial to better understanding your proposals.”

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, added, “This is an opportunity for the public to finally learn of the details on the proposed toll system that have been sorely missing up to this point. We would welcome Gov. Lamont and officials from his administration to present their plan to our constituents.’’

For more information about CT2030 visit ct2030.com. Governor Ned Lamont has yet to make his updated toll plan available to the public.

Klarides’ Statement On October’s Regressive Grocery Tax

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Sep 192019
 

As a new tax on some food items was revealed, State Rep. Themis Klarides expressed her concerns with the plan and its eventual impact on many Connecticut households.

Here’s what she said:

On October 1st shoppers will be paying a 7.35% tax on some groceries, but not others. In the latest budget, the tax exemption for groceries was quietly altered. When some Democrats proposed raising the tax by one percent on meals at restaurants, they justified the increase as a luxury tax.

Eating out is a choice, and if people can afford to go to a restaurant, they should not feel the impact of a one percent tax on meals. When the language was drafted, however, they included “grocery stores” as one of the entities that sell meals subject to additional taxation.

Meals, unfortunately, is defined as all “food products which are furnished . . . in a form and in such portions that they are ready for immediate consumption.” Every food product, therefore, in a grocery
store is now subject to tax scrutiny.

So what foods at a grocery store are in a form that is immediately consumable? The Department of Revenue Service has issued a non-binding, advisory opinion which lists some examples, such as five or fewer muffins, donuts and bagels, salads in packaging 8 ounces or less, cans of soup, nutrition bars, cooked rack of ribs or rotisserie chickens, sandwiches, and popsicles.

Because this opinion is advisory only, grocery stores are left to determine what items will be subject to tax. With a possible tax audit over their shoulder, grocery stores are going to air on the side of caution and put a 7.35% sales tax on any items that might fall under this definition.

To add more confusion, if a shopper purchases any of these items along with sodas, bottled water or other beverages, those beverage items will now become taxable at 7.35% whereas if purchased alone, they’d be subject to no taxation.

Why? Because the new law taxes all “meals” sold by a “grocery store” “and spiritous, . . . soft drinks, sodas or beverages . . . in connection therewith.” So now the new taxation may impact other items in your cart because of something else in your cart.

Because this 7.35% tax on groceries targets small portioned food items, I am concerned for what this means for the people and families of Connecticut. What will be the impact on our senior citizens, empty-nesters and young men and women living alone? Over the last decade, Connecticut’s tax
policy has crept in to every moment of our daily lives and driven long time residents to move out of state. I share the public’s frustration with these regressive taxes and the government’s continued need for more of your hard earned tax dollars.

Please call your legislators and tell them exactly how these taxes will impact the lives of you and your family.

Orange Legislators Upcoming Office Hours With Constituents

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Jun 112019
 

State Reps. Themis Klarides (R-114), Charles Ferraro (R-117) and Kathy Kennedy (R-119) will host post-session office hours in Orange for constituents this Friday and next Monday.

The first event will take place at Chip’s Restaurant, 321 Boston Post Road, on Friday, June 14, from 8-9 a.m.

The second session will take place at the High Plains Community Center Cafeteria, 525 Orange Center Road on Monday, June 17 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

With the session ending June 5 at midnight, the legislators will go over the major issues debated in the 2019 legislative session, like the two-year state budget, tolls, the minimum wage increase, and any other issues constituents choose to discuss.

For anyone who is unable to attend but would like to talk to their state representatives, you can contact them at 1.800.842.1423 or send an e-mail to Themis.Klarides@housegop.ct.govCharles.Ferraro@housegop.ct.govKathy.Kennedy@housegop.ct.gov.

Klarides’ Statement Regarding The Removal Of The State Capitol Police Donated Flag

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Feb 212019
 

On behalf of the House Republican Caucus, we would like to make it clear that we stand with our State Capitol Police and support their donation of the handmade American Flag, created by one of their own officers. This flag is a source of pride and unity for not only our police unit here at the Capitol, but their families, and the families of those in law enforcement around the State of Connecticut.

This flag intended to honor the work, dedication, sacrifice, and lives of our past and present officers. To suggest that this American flag that was donated by the State Capitol Police is anything other than honorable is categorically false. The House Republican Caucus would like to publicly request that the American flag honoring our law enforcement officers here at the Capitol and throughout Connecticut be put back in its rightful and approved location, the Police Memorial Hall here at the Capitol.

This flag was approved by the Chief of Staff of each caucus, House, and Senate, Democrat and Republican. The flag hung in the memorial hall for two months before being removed yesterday. The placement of the flag was rightfully assigned to hang in the Police Memorial Hall as the 2019 contribution from State Capitol Police and we would like to see the flag promptly reinstated.                                                                                                                                                                                         

House Republican Caucus

Klarides Urges Consumers to Shop Around for the Cheapest Energy Rates

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Jan 032019
 

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today reminded consumers and business owners they can combat rising energy rates by shopping around for alternatives to the Standard Service generation rates that rose with the beginning of the new year.

The alternatives can be found by accessing energizect.com and entering data that will lead customers to potentially cheaper sources.

“Connecticut residents and business, already burdened with the highest electrical rates in the country, are again facing another hike in their monthly bills,’’ Klarides said. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approved the rate hikes in response to the higher generation costs and purchase agreements the utilities were exposed to.

The estimated average monthly rate hike for Eversource customers is $12 and $16 for Avangrid (United Illuminating) customers.

The high consumer costs are the result of failed deregulation of the industry dating to the 1990s, a lack of natural resources in Connecticut and subsequent regulations that require higher cost energy to be available to consumers.

Klarides said the reality is that Connecticut’s location at the end of the natural gas pipeline puts it at a disadvantage to virtually every other state. “We must pursue strategies that do not penalize the very people who can least afford these increases in their monthly bills,’’ she said. “But people should know there are alternatives to the Standard Service rates offered by Eversource and Avangrid right now.’’

The state Consumer Counsel’s office urges customers who shop for alternative rates to carefully review all offers, and the terms and length of contracts, before signing them.

Nov 142018
 

 

Today, House Republican Leader Themis Klarides called the recent reports of anti-Semitic acts at Amity Regional High School unacceptable.

“These reported acts of hatred are unacceptable in any place and at any time,” Klarides said.

Klarides has reached out to school officials, including Principal Anna Mahon and acting Superintendent James A. Connelly, and has pledged her full support to local officials. “I am available to them in any capacity they deem appropriate,’’ she said.

“These young people need to be assured that they will be safe and protected,” Klarides said. “As leaders in our communities, our first priority must be protecting their rights and safeguarding their daily lives. This behavior cannot be tolerated.”