Our Democratic state delegation brought home the bacon

Newsletter Volume 2 • Number 50

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Don’t underestimate what Democrats can accomplish with a unified delegation at the state capitol.

If you have a seat at the table, that impact can be measured in dollars. That’s how Democratic state representatives Rachel Khanna (D-149), Steve Meskers (D-150), and Hector Arzeno (D-151) managed to secure crucial state and federal funds for our town—$14.7 million more than expected for Central Middle School (CMS) and over $10 million for local projects and nonprofits in the past two years.

Just this session, their work in the Assembly…

unblocked the stalled Glenville Corridor Traffic Improvement Project,

will allow repairs to begin on the notorious, lurching elevators at the Greenwich Library,

will put a new roof over seniors at Parsonage Cottage, an assisted living facility,

provides money for the Greenwich United Way’s child care program for our neediest families, and other local nonprofits.

Representatives Steve Meskers, Rachel Khanna and Hector Arzeno at the state capitol.

A remarkable multi-million-dollar school construction reimbursement

The most impressive achievement? House Education Committee member Arzeno led the way in securing an unprecedented 20 percent reimbursement rate for the new Central Middle School (CMS) construction—about $14.7 million more than anticipated. It was an uphill battle, created by our town finance board’s fumbling Republicans, who slow-walked the CMS funding last year, delaying the grant application past the regular June 30th deadline. Nevertheless, our House delegation picked up that dropped ball and ran it into the end zone.

They fought for, and preserved, local control

As members of the majority party, our Democratic state representatives have also been uniquely positioned to influence bill language to protect the interests of Greenwich residents. This session, they partnered with our town Planning and Zoning Commission to favorably rework a housing bill to the satisfaction of our P&Z chair, so that local authority remains intact. Read about how they did it.

The contrast with our Republican state senator is striking

Our Republican state senator, as a member of the minority party, was unable to help. He introduced a CMS funding bill in the senate that went nowhere. (He still tried to spin that failure as a success). He also voted No on $750,000 in federal American Rescue Plan funding to help local organizations that care for our vulnerable populations, like the River House, Greenwich Alliance for Education and Family Centers. And he voted No to funding for Planned Parenthood.

Republican BET chair Harry Fisher predicted that our state delegates would fail at getting state reimbursement for CMS. Guess again, Harry!

At the same time, Harry Fisher and fellow Republicans on the town finance board recently rejected a $400,000 Safe Streets for All federal grant that would help address traffic problems and pedestrian safety. Why do our Republican legislators reject returning taxpayer dollars to Greenwich?  

The Republican chair of our finance board believes “Hartford hates Greenwich.” But, clearly a “can do” attitude, voting for local funding, and the right leadership brings home our fair share of state and federal money.

The numbers tell the story. We are very fortunate to have an effective team of Democratic state representatives looking out for all of us—our seniors, our students, and our safety. When you see them, please thank them for their continued work for Greenwich.

From the classroom to the capital

Greenwich Public Schools eighth graders with Senator Richard Blumenthal in Washington, DC last week.

For over forty years, Greenwich Public Schools (GPS) have been sending 8th graders to Washington, DC, bringing to life American history and providing an immersive look at our system of government. The DC field trip had taken a three year hiatus due to COVID, but was reinstated last year.

For many kids, this is a first opportunity to travel to DC, get a taste of independence with friends, and being away from family, and see up close how our government works. In total, 550 GPS eighth graders will travel to DC during the month of May. There is a jam-packed itinerary over three days and two nights, and students are asked to journal their adventures. One 8th grader highlighted speaking with a survivor at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, taking selfies at the Washington Monument and meeting Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Donations make the trip possible, and the DC Trip Fundraising Committee deserves a huge shoutout. Thanks to funding from the Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich United Way, PTAs and generous donors, 80 need-based scholarships were provided this year totaling roughly $45,000, easing a financial barrier for families who might have difficulty with the $800 trip.

Maybe this trip will inspire a future senator or two?

State delegation legislative wrap up. Hear what our state delegation passed this legislative season. 7:00 p.m., Cone Room (2nd floor, Greenwich Town Hall).

Knock doors to help elect Nick Simmons to the State Senate. Meet at the Perrot Memorial Library under the walkway beneath the buildings. Saturday 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.RSVP

Monthly meeting of Greenwich Democrats. Find out what we’re up to, and meet your Democratic neighbors. 7:30 p.m. Cone Room (2nd floor, Greenwich Town Hall).

Old Greenwich Memorial Day parade. March in one of our favorite events of the year! Sign up and join us under the Democratic banner to pay tribute to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.

Honor victims and survivors of gun violence on National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Wear orange. Noon, Greenwich Town Hall.

Greenwich Pride 2024. 1:00 p.m. at Greenwich Town Hall. Join this family-friendly day of fun to celebrate our LGBTQ+ Greenwich community.

Our next book talk is with authors Louise Story and Ebony Reed who have just published Fifteen Cents on the Dollar, How Americans Made the Black White Wealth Gap. Refreshments provided, space is limited. Sign up here. 7:00 p.m., Sorokin Gallery, 96 Greenwich Ave.

Join Democrats from every corner of the state for this annual dinner bash featuring House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Write “Greenwich Table” in the Additional Information field to be seated together. RSVP

Volume 2, Number 50 • May 16, 2024
Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.
Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836