Legislators meet with Chamber of Commerce

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
East Hartford - posted Thu., Jan. 16, 2014
East Hartford Chamber of Commerce President Timothy Coppage, state Rep. Henry Genga, Mayor Marcia Leclerc, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, AT&T representative Abby Jewett, state Rep. Timothy Larson and state Rep. Jason Rojas. Photos by Lisa Stone.
East Hartford Chamber of Commerce President Timothy Coppage, state Rep. Henry Genga, Mayor Marcia Leclerc, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, AT&T representative Abby Jewett, state Rep. Timothy Larson and state Rep. Jason Rojas. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Woodcliff Estates hosted the Legislative Breakfast sponsored by the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce and AT&T on Jan. 14. Guests of honor included state representatives Timothy Larson (D-11), Henry Genga (D-10) and Jason Rojas (D-9), and state Sen. Gary LeBeau (D-3).

Mayor Marcia Leclerc was also on hand to lend her support to the day’s event. “The Chamber breakfast was well attended,” she said. “This is a great way for people with businesses to voice their concerns and feel connected with their delegates.”

After enjoying breakfast, guests began stating their concerns to the elected officials. “There is talk about a railway between north and south, but what about east and west?” asked one person in the audience. This was one of the topics that EHCC members had on their minds. As of today, there are plans for a railway to commute between New Haven and Boston. However, they said, there are no plans for any new form of transportation going from the western to eastern Connecticut. The hope is that if there were either rails or busses passing through the Hartford area that connected the east and west areas, there would be more commerce brought to the local businesses.

“The DOT is currently looking into the possibility of a new bus route that will run from Hartford to Storrs,” said LeBeau. “One can never predict the future, but Cleveland has had success with a plan similar to this. I am very hopeful.”

Another topic of concern was keeping business local. “We need to look into a better system of choosing who gets state bids,” said Larson. “Just recently, Ken Corneau of United Steel in East Hartford lost a major construction bid to a company out of New York. He lost that bid by only $1,000. That just doesn’t seem right. We need to find the deficiencies in the system so that we are able to keep the jobs right here in East Hartford.” Larson went on to address the room in regards to how the local businesses are being treated by the state when either growing their businesses or getting a business off the ground. “We need to listen to you. We want to know how you are being treated throughout the process,” he said.

Genga was voicing his concern over current metal health policies and what he sees as deficiencies in the system. “We need to address the mental health issues when they first come to light,” said Genga. “We can’t afford to ignore situations that will turn into bigger problems down the road. Early recognition is the key. We need to be sure that all the people that need the help are able to get it.” Genga reflected back to his days as a teacher at East Hartford High School. “There were children that were kicked out of their homes and had nowhere to go,” he said. “These are some of the situations that would lead to major problems down the road. We need to focus on providing the proper mental health care for our children.” Genga believes that if you take care of people with emotional and psychological issues early on, the entire community will benefit.


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