From the Capitol: A call to serve
Monday, Jan. 21, is a national day of service. In celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., people around our country take action to live up to the teachings of Dr. King.
We donate our time and energy to strengthening our communities, building bridges and helping people in need. It is a day to break down barriers and work together to address social problems hand-in-hand.
The teachings of Dr. King are perhaps most visible on this day every year. It’s inspiring to see so many people unite to promote change in our community. It’s a day that reminds me of why I entered public service, and what I hope to accomplish every year that I have the honor of serving as a state senator.
In the words of Dr. King, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
I became a state lawmaker to answer that question every day. I am humbled to frequently meet with people at the Capitol who feel the same. While we all may have different ideas for how to best help others, it is when we work together, when we share ideas, when we fulfill our call to serve alongside one another, that our goals are achieved with success.
This year in particular I believe there needs to be a united effort to help those who are struggling in our state. People are suffering from crushing tax burdens, slower economic growth than neighboring states, unaffordable health care and a jobs market that never fully recovered from the Great Recession. The state’s irresponsible financial policies have jeopardized funding for core services for the most vulnerable.
Given these challenges, my personal call to serve as a lawmaker is focused on three goals:
- Make sure Connecticut lives up to promises of affordable and accessible health care. Under current federal law, health insurance premiums in Connecticut have skyrocketed to unaffordable rates. Lawmakers need to work together to figure out how to reduce these costs to make health care truly accessible. I also hope to continue working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to protect insurance coverage for core health services. We have done a lot in our state to insulate Connecticut from the uncertainty of Washington, and that trend of bipartisanship must continue.
- Afford the greatest generation the opportunity to age at home with dignity. Connecticut is considered one of the “oldest” states in the country with a large population of aging individuals. Given this growing population as more baby boomers become seniors, we must continue to work towards helping people age in place, avoiding expensive institutionalized care when possible. That means protecting programs like the Connecticut Home Care Program and Meals on Wheels.
- Stabilize the state budget. In times of hardship, Connecticut has to do what every family does. Live within its means. Spend no more than we can afford. And prioritize dollars for core needs – not wants. This year, I will continue efforts to address our state’s growing tax burdens and high cost of living. Over the past two years, lawmakers passed two historic bipartisan budgets that started to move Connecticut in a new direction. We protected core services, at the same time we reduced taxes on seniors, and as a result of these budgets we have a surplus today. But more challenges are on the horizon. That’s why my call to serve includes a call to promote financial stability wherever possible. Stability is how we grow our economy; a healthy economy is what grows good paying jobs; and jobs are what provide all people an opportunity to succeed.
Dr. King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I intend to continue speaking out to achieve my goals and serve my constituents. I hope you aren’t silent either. When you feel passionate about something, when you want to help others who don’t have a voice, speak up.
Please always feel free to share your thoughts with me at Kevin.Kelly@cga.ct.gov or call 800-842-1412.