For the past four years, it has been the highest honor of my life to serve as State Senator. All I can say is thank you to the people of Shelton, Stratford, Monroe, and Seymour for giving me this opportunity.I measure my life by the impact I have on others, and being a State Senator has given me a chance to help people. Whether through legislation or helping an individual with a problem, I have loved working to improve our community and our state. I hope I have made a positive difference for our families.
I was proud to fight for smaller government and lower taxes for our state, although more often than not we were not successful in this fight. By co-authoring budget proposals that reduced government spending by 8%, I demonstrated we could eliminate our state budget deficit without raising taxes. Unfortunately, these proposals for consolidating agencies, privatizing social services, and resetting discretionary spending were not adopted. Politics today does not have enough specific, well-thought out fiscal proposals, and I tried to offer budgets that offered some fiscal sanity in Hartford.
For our communities, we had a number of wins on the state level in the past few years. For Stratford, we passed landmark legislation preventing consolidation of toxic waste in residential neighborhoods, which forced the EPA to work with local residents on the cleanup of Raymark waste. In Shelton we received $3 million for the Riverwalk, and continue to receive support for our downtown redevelopment efforts. All of our communities saw the first increase in state education funding in almost twenty years, a move towards us getting a fair share of this funding.
Best of all is helping the hundreds of people who have called me with personal issues that I have been able to help resolve. Sometimes the most rewarding part of this job is not the legislative debates, but helping people solve a problem facing their family.
I would like to thank all the people who have enabled me to serve. First and foremost is my wife Alex, who has always been there with patience and love as we have gone through this journey. I thank my legislative aide Katie Kenneally, and all the hard work of the staff at the State Senate. I want to thank the donors and volunteers who have helped me in my elections. Finally, I would like to thank all the voters in the 21st for sending me to the State Senate twice.Taking over from a living legend like George "Doc" Gunther (who represented the district for forty years in the State Senate) was a tall order. I hope I have continued his legacy of listening to people, then being clear and blunt about the course I believe we should take. I was the first State Senator from Shelton to represent this district since the 1950's, and the seat now goes back to a Stratford resident—our new State Senator Kevin Kelly. Kevin is an amazingly dedicated and thoughtful individual, and will fight for all our communities up in the State Senate. He will do us proud.Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your State Senator. I hope I have made a positive difference both for our communities and for Connecticut. I know for me, it has been the experience of a lifetime. It has been an honor.