State Rep. Mike Bocchino Advice to lawmakers: listen
Serving the 150th district has been one of the greatest honors of my life. When I was first elected in 2014, I had much to learn about the General Assembly and the challenges awaiting us in Hartford, but I went into my first session, and each since, prepared to advocate for all of my neighbors no matter what.
The learning curve was steep, but I developed a better understanding of the issues and a greater appreciation for the legislative process as a whole. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to meet and help so many outstanding people in our district who often shared their concerns about state government, and their ideas about how to fix these problems.
With that in mind, my advice to my successor and the 2019-2020 Legislature is simple: listen. It’s easy to come out of the gate with your own ideas and it’s even easier to grab the mic and talk about your proposals at length — but doing so will not help you in the long run. Your constituents need you to hear them, and when you do, you’ll find some of the best solutions come from them. Remember, they elected you to represent their best interests — not yours, not the lobbyists’ and not your party’s.
Although I had hoped for a different outcome this past November, I leave knowing that we accomplished a lot these past four years. The most recent budget cycles saw historic budget reforms such as a borrowing cap to limit spending, mandatory votes on future union contracts, and the restoration of our state’s all-important Rainy Day Fund. We saved the Medicare Savings Program and fully funded the Retired Teacher’s Health Care fund.
We also prioritized transportation and education without raising taxes, strengthened our laws fighting domestic violence, and expanded resources available to our war heroes. As Ranking Member of the Labor committee, I helped facilitate passage of a bill reducing the gender pay gap by bringing all interested parties to the table. We also honored the memory of Greenwich native Emily Fedorko with the introduction and passage of Emily’s Law — a bill providing for safer boater recreation.
I’m also proud of the lead role I took with our Greenwich delegation to successfully secure funding for the new New Lebanon School. Although the governor and his administration vowed that they would never allow for a new school in Greenwich to be funded, our hard work paid off and our delegation prevailed. I cannot thank Sen. Scott Frantz, Rep. Livvy Floren and Rep. Fred Camillo enough for their support and extraordinary efforts throughout the reimbursement process. What a team! Greenwich’s new state-of-the-art elementary school is scheduled to be completed and opened next month. I wish the students, teachers, staff and administration all the best in your new home. You truly deserve it.
The challenges facing our state will require everyone’s undivided attention, and solving these problems is not the sole responsibility of our elected officials. We all have a responsibility to build a better Connecticut, and as I embrace the opening of new doors in my life I can assure you that as a private citizen I will not sit idly by and allow our beautiful state to continue down a path of fiscal destruction, and neither should you. Make your voices heard and stay involved.
Finally, I wish all the newly elected legislators success in their roles, and I wish everyone in the 150th district and the entire town of Greenwich much happiness in the New Year ahead, but most of all I wish you all good Health.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I will always treasure that time. I’d like to give special thanks to my family, especially my wife Shannon and my two sons, Michael and Sean, whose love and support over the years has meant more to me than anyone will ever know. Ladies and gentleman, Elvis has left the building.
Mike Bocchino has served two terms representing the 150th district.