The violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump extremists January 6 – compounding utterly shocking behavior by Trump and his surrogates for the nine weeks preceding it – have now stained American election proceedings with bloodshed and mayhem previously reserved for despotic power plays in developing democracies.
It is reprehensible that provisions of the U.S. Constitution and this nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power have been desecrated and treated so contemptuously by Trump and his submissive, complicit sycophants. It is disgusting that Trump – who was sworn to protect and defend the Constitution – instead willfully incited and repeatedly encouraged such degradation of American democracy.
Just ten weeks ago, Trump received more than 1,800 votes from Woodbridge residents. It is troubling to think so many, so nearby, were so willing to co-sign Trump’s four-year assault on time-honored American values. I believe we will all be better served beginning next week when, not a moment too soon, a new administration will begin to restore decency, diplomacy, and dignity to the United States and its government.
In Hartford last week the new legislative session got underway, with an outdoor swearing-in ceremony on state Capitol grounds yielding new representation serving Woodbridge and its residents. State Senators James Maroney and Jorge Cabrera and state Representative Mary Welander are now in place to help Woodbridge – and Connecticut – emerge from the pandemic, address other pressing challenges, and provide timely constituent services.
Senator Maroney is the longest serving member of the delegation, beginning a second Senate term after having previously served in the House. Senator Maroney is the Senate chair of the General Law Committee and the Regulations Review Committee; he is also vice-chair of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, with membership on the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, and the Insurance and Real Estate Committee as well.
“The coronavirus pandemic really hit families and businesses hard and we (must) strive to protect the future of Connecticut. From work, to health care, to being in the classroom, several changes were made in order to stay safe and healthy this past year,” Senator Maroney said. “The session will look a bit different this year but discussing issues virtually won’t stop me…I’m excited to get to work.”
Senator Cabrera is the Senate chair of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and vice-chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. He is a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, Insurance and Real Estate Committee, and Human Services Committee as well.
“I am looking forward to working…to address the needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and tackle important issues like health care reform, transportation, education, (and) supporting our small business community,” Senator Cabrera said. “I’m going to…see if the legislature can do something to provide hazard pay for frontline workers, people who work in nursing homes, nurses, grocery workers, people who have been on the frontlines from the very beginning, who didn’t have the luxury of working from home, who had to go to work every day.”
State Representative Mary Welander, with an impeccable advocacy record for young people and public schools, is vice-chair of the Children’s Committee and a member of the Education Committee. She serves on the Regulations Review Committee besides.
“The online aspect of this session will bring new challenges to be sure, but it may also bring opportunities for collaboration and non-traditional problem solving that might not occur normally. We have serious concerns that need to be addressed as we…begin the recovery phase of this pandemic and I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to this role,” Representative Welander said. “One very specific thing for education would be looking at the process in which special education is reimbursed for schools, because that is a unifying concern for every district across the state.”
“I am honored to be serving in the General Assembly…and encourage anyone to reach out (Mary.Welander@cga.ct.gov) if I can be of assistance,” Welander added.
Of the two dozen freshmen legislators this term, only eight (five Democrats, three Republicans) were profiled in a Hartford Courant story last week: Senator Cabrera and Representative Welander are two of them. Woodbridge residents are fortunate and will be proud to now be represented by these proven – and promising – public servants.
Laurence Grotheer is the current chairman of the Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee. He has more than 20 years’ experience in state and municipal government working professionally, in appointed positions, and in elected office.