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Welander Seeks Second Term

Welander Seeks Second Term

With her first term in the state House coming to a close, State Rep. Mary Welander is seeking a second term representing those living in the 114th House District – stretching from Orange and Woodbridge, up into the Wintergreen area of Hamden, and adding a slice of Derby after the most recent round of redistricting.

At a time when the public coffers are full, the Orange Democrat can point to a significant record of procuring financial support for projects in the towns she represents, as well as legislative successes.  For a rookie, a remarkable record.

On her website, www.welanderforct.com, she lists the following projects supported by state funds:

  • For Woodbridge: $300,000 for Senior Center renovations; $2 million for the Old Firehouse renovation into a Community Center, a Woodbridge delegation effort led by Sen. Jose Cabrera;
  • For Orange: $200,000 for the first-ever, fully accessible public playground at Fred Wolfe Park; $100,000 for Orange Senior Center operations; $10,000 to repair the historic clock in the Orange Fire Station;
  • For Derby: $1.3 million to replace aging emergency generators at Griffin Hospital, a bi-partisan Derby delegation effort led by Rep. Klarides-Ditria; $300,000 for infrastructure upgrades at TEAM headquarters and program expansions.

Welander also led state efforts to team up with the federal delegation and procure $24 million for building and safety upgrades to the Derby/Shelton train station.  The funds are split between the state and federal departments of Transportation.  For the Valley, and Derby in particular, this project is expected to spark the long-awaited economic renewal.

Welander said the train station is to be developed into a multi-modal transportation center, with a bus transfer station, electric vehicle charging stations and more.  There is also money for safety upgrades to the popular Greenway trail along the Housatonic river bank.

The Derby station is on the rail line from Bridgeport to Waterbury.  At the same time the city has approved an apartment complex with market-rate housing units in the vicinity.  “Derby has a ton of potential,” Welander said.

Children’s Mental Health:  When asked about the accomplishment that is most important to her, she pointed at the new programs focusing on children’s mental health.  The state has created a task force to identify where mental health services are lacking and set aside $22 million for school-based health centers.  The goal is to get kids and families the help they need before they reach the crisis point, she said.  “That’s a huge win for a first term,” she said.

The legislature also passed an Act to Improve the Availability and Provision of Mental Health, Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services to children, which had 116 sponsors from both sides of the aisle.  It set money aside to help parents pay for mental health treatment, as well as ways to attract more providers to the field.  “It was a huge project,” she said.  The locally based clinics are not mandates, she said.  Rather, the districts that experience a need for mental health services can opt in.

All in all, the state is in a pretty good position to face the future, she said.  “It is in a much better place than a lot of other states.”  People are moving here, people are starting businesses, they enjoy a high quality of life.  “Connecticut is a pretty good place to live.”

By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent

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