Nothing like a state budget gap to throw cold water on the holiday season. Outgoing Speaker of the House Chris Donovan and incoming Speaker Brendan Sharkey have advised their legislative peeps in an email to “hold the week before Christmas open because a special session may be necessary” to deal with the “deficit mitigation.” What happens in Hartford influences the economics in the state’s largest city.
Bridgeport has an eight-member legislative delegation that will conduct the city’s bidding when the General Assembly convenes in regular session in early January. The State House members from Bridgeport: Auden Grogins, Jack Hennessy, Charlie Stallworth, Ezequiel Santiago, Don Clemons and the newest member Christina Ayala. Come January the city will be represented by two state senators, Anthony Musto (first elected in 2008) and freshman Andres Ayala who risked his safe State House seat to defeat incumbent Ed Gomes in an August primary and then easily won the general election.
For the most part all of the above Democrats have been loyal votes for the Democratic-controlled legislature. As we enter the season of thanks, good will and cheer how this group works together adds great value to the goodies the state’s largest city receives (or not) next year. A united delegation is crucial in efforts to present to legislative leadership the city’s priorities like we want more scratch for redevelopment of the East Side, or we’re on board with opening up the gaming compact for casino expansion that benefits the tribal nations and generates jobs and extra revenue for the city. Not saying this is what they’ll pitch but an example of what could happen with input from Mayor Bill Finch to craft the city’s legislative road map. It would be a miracle if one day the legislature fully funded the city’s tax-exempt properties. Fat chance in this economy.
So what should be the city’s priorities in the 2013 legislative session? And whom would you select to serve as the delegation leader?