State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago has been named chairman of the city’s eight-member legislative delegation. As the delegation leader Santiago will serve as the point person for the city’s legislative priorities for the General Assembly session that begins in January and runs into June.
Santiago represents the 130th State Assembly District that covers the South End, Downtown and portions of the East Side and West End. He was elected to the seat 10 years ago.
The delegation, in addition to Santiago, is comprised of House members Chris Rosario, Steve Stafstrom, Jack Hennessy, Andre Baker and Charlie Stallworth, as well as State Senators Marilyn Moore and freshman Dennis Bradley who won the seat vacated by a retiring Ed Gomes.
Some of the big items on the agenda with a incoming legislature and new Governor Ned Lamont will center on new revenue sources such as commercializing marijuana, sports betting, tolls and MGM’s proposal to build a waterfront gaming destination along the Steelpointe Harbor development area that encompasses the East Side and East End. Its proposal seeking legislative approval for an open, competitive process for a commercial destination in the city passed the House last session but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
The state operates under a gaming monopoly in which the state’s two tribal nations that run Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun receive exclusivity in exchange for 25 percent of the slot take that had dwindled in recent years.
The city’s delegation will also lobby for additional dollars for infrastructure improvements for schools, roads, bridges, rails and flood zones.
During the campaign Lamont pledged to fully fund the city’s public school system and reimburse the city tens of millions more from its allotment of tax-exempt properties. The city receives from the state payments in lieu of taxes for properties such as hospitals, state buildings and colleges, but not full reimbursement. If Lamont can deliver on those ambitious pledges it would represent a financial windfall to the city.