Friday, January 30, 2009

Census taker jobs.

I just wanted to share some information from the U.S. Census Bureau that was brought to my attention:

The 2010 Census – A Great Way to Earn Extra Money

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. The pay is good, the hours are flexible, and the work is close to home.
Census taker jobs are excellent for retirees, college students, persons who want to work part-time, persons who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community.
To hear more about working for the 2010 Census, short video clips are available for viewing online.
Your community is counting on you
Every 10 years, we conduct a census of our population. The results help determine your representation in government, as well as how federal funds are spent in your community on things like roads, parks, housing, schools, and public safety. As a census taker, you'll play a vital role in making sure that everyone is included.
Thousands are needed for temporary jobs
Conducting the census is a huge undertaking. Thousands of census takers are needed to update address lists and conduct interviews with community residents. Most positions require a valid driver's license and use of a vehicle. However, public transportation may be authorized in certain areas.
Earn good pay
Census takers receive competitive pay on a weekly basis. In addition, you will be reimbursed for authorized mileage and related expenses.
Bilingual speakers are encouraged to apply!
All census takers must be able to speak English, but bilingual skills in English and other languages are needed in communities that have a large number of residents who speak a language other than English. If you have such skills, we encourage you to apply.
Get more than just a paycheck
Besides good pay, you'll have flexible hours, paid training, and the chance to work within your own community. You'll earn a place in history, as well as work experience you can add to your resume.
Apply today by contacting your Local Census Office or by calling 1-866-861-2010!
You can read more about this on their website at

I hope this information is helpful.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Honoring Rep. Faith McMahon, who grew up in New Britain.

I was sad to learn today about the loss of a friend and colleague, Rep. Faith McMahon .

Rep. McMahon and I were both elected in 2002, so we served during the same moments in history for our state.  I have a lot of respect for Faith as a legislator and as a person.  She brought great experience and intelligence to her work at the Capital and worked hard as a legislator to help people.

On a personal level, I cannot say enough how much Faith was deeply kind and caring.  She always took a genuine interest in what was important for other people and was thinking about ways that she could be encouraging.

Faith and I spoke about many things, but one of the things she told me that especially interested me is that she grew up in New Britain.  In fact, her childhood home is on Bassett Street, right across from the old High School.  I really enjoyed hearing her tell stories about growing up in New Britain.

My deepest condolences to Rep. McMahon's family.  I know I will miss her.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

We have many challenges before us and much work to do.

But this day, with the inauguration of President Barack Obama, we should remind ourselves of the hope for a better future that our nation made possible this past November.  Today, we embark on a new direction.  And we should remind ourselves the momentousness of the corner we have turned - a moment that was made possible by the hopeful optimism that was carried over generations in our country...

Lift every voice and sing,
'Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on 'til victory is won.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing"
by James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson
sung by the Soul Children of Chicago.

I am so proud of our country.

And now on to building a better future!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rep. John Geragosian ascends to important budget position.

Here in New Britain, we have long known the admirable qualities of State Representative John Geragosian (D-25). He has been one of our state legislators since 1995 and is well known in our community for his generosity, kindness, intelligence and conscience. He is respected among many circles in our community and he has been a strong advocate for our city for a long time. He is now the "dean" of the New Britain delegation, the longest serving of the city legislators.

Now the rest of the state gets to find out what a skillful and principled leader John Geragosian is because he has just been appointed Chair of the state legislature's Appropriations Committee by Chris Donovan, the new Speaker of the state House of Representatives.

News about legislative leadership assignments is not often followed closely outside the walls of the State Capitol, so it might not be widely known just what a big deal this is. The Appropriation Committee deals with the state budget on behalf of the legislature, and the chairs of that committee have an important role in the creation of the final state budget. The position to which John has been appointed is among the most influential and important in the state. It is a real honor for our community to have Rep. Geragosian as Appropriations Chair.

This is not the first time a legislator from New Britain has held this important position. As John McNamara has pointed out , former State Senator Joseph Harper was the Chair of the Appropriations Committee for the State Senate. (The Connecticut state legislature has a system of joint House-Senate committees in which each committee has both a House Chair and a Senate Chair.) And, from 1999 to 2002, one of my predecessors, State Representative David Pudlin, was the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. Rep. Geragosian now becomes the next of the important state leaders to have been from our city.

If you know John Geragosian's family, you know where he got his great qualities from. John is a realtor, taking after his mother, Harriet. Harriet, owner of Unique Reality, is one of the kindest, gentlest people you are likely to meet. Yet she has firm political values for fairness and equality, for which she strongly advocates.

John's father, Harold Geragosian, is a longtime local attorney. Harold is very respected as a strong and skillful advocate and as a man of great principle. He is still remembered as the attorney who, decades ago, advocated for New Britain's Puerto Rican Society when it was being formed and in its early years.

John has taken all of the admirable qualities from both of his parents into his own life's work. He is cheerful and friendly and liked by just about everyone, and yet he is a strong figure helping people. He worked hard as a City Council member from 1989 to 1993. As a state legislator, he has advocated for workers' rights on the job, affordable quality health care coverage, justice and equality and property tax reform. He has an uncanny ability to push aside the hubris of politics and challenge powerful figures on behalf of average, everyday people.

It is that quality that I suspect made him the choice of incoming Speaker Donovan for the powerful Appropriations Chair. With the state facing both a massive deficit and an even worse economic predicament, we will need strong leaders like John to make sure that the state government does not stick its head in the sand just when our state's people need its help the most. Getting through the problems we face will take a person with strong principles, an agile mind, a tough spirit and a really good sense of humor.

This is exactly the combination of talent and demeanor for which our own John Geragosian is known. He did not seek out this position, not being one to put himself in the spotlight. But, here in New Britain, we can be proud to know that he is just the right person for this important challenge.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Budget hearing at the Capitol.

Today, the legislature's Finance Committee is holding a hearing on the state budget.  I am a member of this committee.  And sitting in on the hearing today is the new House Appropriations Chair, Rep. John Geragosian.

The hearing is actually on the Governor's latest deficit mitigation plan, but it is the first opportunity of the legislative session for an open discussion on the serious budget problems that the state faces.  So the discussion has delved into some areas that the state budget deliberations are likely to take this year.

There are a lot of ideas being considered for how to solve the state's budget crisis and we are starting to see what different elected and appointed officials are thinking.  The discussion is very cordial, though it is clear that this year's budget process will be a challenge to the values of our state.

For example, some of the Governor's proposals involving taking important funding out of dedicated funds that are designed, for example, to do things like promote clean energy.  But, taking the good example from President-Elect Barack Obama's emphasis on promoting clean energy, not just for the environment, but also to create new jobs, we need to be investing much more, not less, in clean energy and conservation.

The Governor is also proposing removing funding that is dedicated to the Citizen Election Program - which we just created to remove the influence of special interests from state government.  This money would do little to solve the state's budget problems, but removing it could do grievous harm to the important protections that preserve democracy in our state.

There are difficult choices that will have to be made this year, to be sure.  But if all things are being put on the table, we need to also be taking a tough look at the state policies that benefit those in our state who have the most already, and not just at things that benefit job creation, democracy and the environment, or, for that matter, things like education, health care and property tax relief.  These are things that should be at the top of the priorities to be preserved.

There is a lot of rhetoric that all things should be on the table.  But we need to bring all things onto the table so that we, as a state, can look at all of the difficult choices so that we can really choose to keep the things that we value the most.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Opening Day at the Legislature - facing the economic crisis.

Today, I was sworn-in for a new term at the legislature.  I am very grateful to the people of New Britain and Newington for the honor to serve them.  Thank you.

This is Opening Day at the State Capitol.  It is a day of pomp and ceremony.  But it is also a  day for very serious work - especially this year.  We are facing a serious economic and budget crisis and the people of the state will need the state government to show leadership.  The last thing the people of our state need is a state government that sticks its head in the sand and ignores the need for real solutions.

The current economic crisis did not happen overnight.  And it is not a short term problem.  The crisis began because of the poor economic choices made on Wall Street and in Washington DC that destroyed the once great industrial economy of New Britain and so many places like New Britain.  Those bad decisions undercut our core industrial economy and created a make-believe economy built on borrowing.  It was a bubble that was going to burst at some point.  And that point was 2008.

There will be a great temptation among many politicians to think that we are faced with temporary problems and that all that is needed is to balance budgets in short run.  But that would be shortsighted.  That would be sticking our heads in the sand.

We need real solutions that will rebuild our economy and create jobs.  We need public policies that truly meet the needs of our state's people for job creation, health care, education, transportation, stable communities and so much more.  And, with so many families and senior citizens struggling in these tough times because of unfair policies - especially property taxes - now is exactly the time when we need to correct these unfairnesses.

Connecticut is known as the "land of steady habits", in no small part because change comes slowly when people who benefit from keeping unfairnesses from being reformed keep our state on its steady habits.

There will be tough budget choices in state government this year, to be sure.  But the real tough decision that will be needed from the Governor on down will be the choice to provide the real leadership to move our state forward - for a real economy with more, better paying jobs for average, everyday people and for a future where the unfairnesses of the present are swept away.

And that is something to look forward to on this Opening Day.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Herald, Newington Town Crier and Bristol Press Saved!

It looks like our efforts to make sure that we do not lose our hometown daily newspapers has paid off:

With less than two weeks before staff at The Herald and The Bristol Press were scheduled to cover their keyboards and lock the doors for the final time, a last-minute buyer has appeared to save the newspapers.
Publisher Edward Gunderson announced Tuesday that Michael E. Schroeder, owner of Central Connecticut Communications, has entered into a letter of intent to buy the two daily papers. The sale, which should be complete within two weeks, includes three area weeklies: the Wethersfield Post, the Newington Town Crier and the Rocky Hill Post.  (New Britain Herald) 

There is also a report about this on BristolToday.

The loss of the New Britain Herald would have left the New Britain community without a hometown daily newspaper.  This would have been the last month, ever, that the Herald would publish.  That would have represented a real blow to New Britain. So I am very pleased that this has worked out.

I am also pleased that Mr. Schroeder has purchased the Newington Town Crier and other weekly newspapers.  There was a lot of concern that the weekly newspapers would not be purchased, even if the dailies - the Herald and Press - were.

As we work to build a strong future for New Britain, it is essential that our city remain a regional center.  And an important part of that is having a daily newspaper of record.  We almost lost ours.  And I have proud to have been in a position to help keep it.