Norwalk political notes: Shutdown help, Lavielle moving up

Gov. Ned Lamont signs HB 5765 on Tuesday. (Christine Stuart, CTNewsJunkie)

Updated, 8:24 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Some Norwalk political announcements for you:

  • Dathan leads food drive for federal employees
  • Duff touts CHFA loans to help federal employees
  • Lavielle given new leadership role



Dathan helps P2P help shutdown workers

State Rep. Lucy Dathan (D-142) on Tuesday announced “an emergency food drive to help boost Person-to-Person’s food supply to help alleviate local federal workers and their families affected by the ongoing government shutdown,” according to a press release.

State Rep. Lucy Dathan (D-142) and State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25). (Contributed)

“The government shutdown, now over a month long, is causing a ripple effect that is hitting each of our communities in very serious ways. The extent of the needs for each particular situation may vary, but having food on the table, even during times of financial distress, is not optional,” Dathan is quoted as saying. “I am hoping this food drive collaboration will bring some relief.”

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), the City of Norwalk, the SoNo Branch Public Library, the Norwalk Public Library and Person-to-Person are joining in the effort to help coordinate collections, which will be dispersed by Person-to-Person’s food pantry program, according to the release.

The public is encouraged to bring food donations and gift cards to:


Norwalk City Hall

125 East Ave.
(203) 854-3200

Norwalk Public Library

1 Belden Ave., Norwalk
(203) 899-2780


10 Washington St.

(203) 899-2790

New Canaan’s Health & Human Service Office

61 Main St.

(203) 594-3076


(203) 655-0048




“As a community supported agency, P2P is grateful to those who step up to help others in need,” Person-to-Person Chief Executive Officer Ceci Maher is quoted as saying. “P2P is committed to providing food for the people who would otherwise go hungry during this unsettling time.”

“Person-to-Person is a community-supported agency that provides emergency assistance for basic needs.  All food contributions from this food drive will be added to their existing food pantry supply for easy distribution to federal employees affected by shutdown. Those in need can access the food pantry to receive assistance by showing their federal employee ID card.”

“I am grateful to our partners, volunteers and everyone who has joined me to make this a reality,” Dathan is quoted as saying. “If you know any federal worker who can benefit from this aid, please be sure to share this information with them and have them visit Person-to-Person for food provisions.”




Duff ‘leads passage’ of bipartisan bill

“State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and the Connecticut State Senate voted today on an overwhelming and bipartisan basis to financially help the estimated 1,500 federal employees who live and work in Connecticut but who have been furloughed without pay due to President Donald Trump’s ongoing federal government shutdown,” according to a Tuesday press release.

House Bill 5765 passed 32-1 and “was sponsored by all six legislative leaders from both the Democratic and Republican caucuses” after being “crafted with the input and endorsement of Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut Bankers Association,” the release states.

Sen. Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott) voted against it, the House passed the measure 127-15 and Lamont promptly signed it, according to a report by CTNewsJunkie.

“The Trump shutdown has now gone on for over a month and Connecticut families are hurting,” Duff is quoted as saying in the release. “Today, we are providing immediate relief for federal employees and their families in order for them to make everyday expenses. I am proud Connecticut is stepping up to help thousands of federal employees and hope President Trump ends his shutdown soon and stops harming the working people of our state.”

The bill became effective immediately and “affects approximately 1,500 federal furloughed employees, non-furloughed employees, and furloughed employees who have been called back to work,” the release states.

“The new program calls for the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) to guarantees loans to eligible employees from private banks. The loans are equal to $5,000 or the regular monthly take-home pay of an employee (whichever is lower), minus any unemployment the employee may be receiving.

“Eligible employees may receive up to three loans, one for each 30 day period of the shutdown. Loans are interest-free for 270 days after the shutdown, and the loans must be repaid within 270 days of the end of the federal shutdown in three to six installment payments.

“The State of Connecticut is guaranteeing just 10% of the aggregate amount loaned.

“The bill also allows (but does not require) municipalities and/or special taxing districts to offer local tax deferment programs and/or water/sewer payment deferments to federal employees affected by the shutdown.”



“Federal employees interested in the loans should contact their bank or credit union to determine whether they intend to participate in the program,” CTNewsJunkie reports. “If they are not, loans may also be available through a bank or credit union other than employees’ usual financial institution. The loans may be available before the end of the week.”




Lavielle a Ranking Member of key Committee

State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) has been appointed as Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s joint Appropriations Committee, according to a press release.

Lavielle, an Assistant Minority Leader now serving her fifth term as District 143 State Representative, previously served for three terms on the Appropriations Committee, where she was Ranking Member of the Transportation Subcommittee, the release states.  Lavielle will continue to serve on the Education and Transportation Committees.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143). (Contributed)

“She also has experience in leadership of a large, prominent committee, having served for two terms as Ranking Member of the Education Committee. As a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, she has worked on the revenue side of the state budget as well,” the release states.

“I am honored to take on this new leadership role, and I am grateful to Republican Leader {Themis} Klarides for the appointment,” Lavielle is quoted as having said in December. “The gravity and depth of Connecticut’s fiscal crisis cannot be overstated, and no matter how you view the situation, it is clear that real structural, long-lasting changes in the management of the state’s finances will be necessary to restore Connecticut’s economy. During this session, we must of course be attentive to the many non-financial issues that are important to the state’s residents, but at the same time, we must be laser-focused on the serious financial problems that affect the state’s ability to implement and enforce good policies in every area. Together with my caucus, I am confident that we will continue to offer workable proposals to reduce spending, improve the business climate and grow the tax base, reduce taxes as spending cuts and revenue growth permit, and invest intelligently in infrastructure, education, and essential social services.”

“The Appropriations Committee, the largest committee in the state legislature, is responsible for determining funding for the state’s departments and agencies, and for drafting the biennial budget, which is approximately $40 billion,” the release states. “The committee also deals with state employee salaries and pensions – the largest fixed cost in the State of Connecticut. For years, Connecticut has run large deficits, most recently surpassing $5 billion. Due to the difficulties of resolving the massive shortfall, the legislature missed its June 30, 2017 deadline and did not resolve the situation until late October of that year.”

The General Assembly is at work in a “five-month session that will end at midnight on June 5. In odd-numbered years, legislators must vote on a biennial state budget, which they must pass before they adjourn,” according to the release.


Ernie DesRochers January 23, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Congratulations to Gail on her new position! I for one have always appreciated her common sense approach to government and how hard she works not only for her constituents but for the people of Norwalk and Connecticut.

Bryan Meek January 23, 2019 at 12:17 pm

One pay period has been missed and the Senator is full on in campaign mode. Once again, our Senator demonstrates his clear lack of understanding of job responsibilities. Congress is responsible for crafting budgets that the Senate and then the Executive can pass. Mr. Duff likes to grandstand against Trump, but the reality is the Speaker of the House has been everywhere on the planet besides DC during the shutdown. How is she getting a budget together when she isn’t even on the job? 10 days in Hawaii, junkets in PR, and a 2 week one that was defunded.

It is a good idea to have credit facilities in place for government workers in positions of national security. I’d like to see the real numbers of high security personnel living paycheck to paycheck. That is clearly a serious problem. We can’t have people in positions where they could be financially swayed against the country’s best interests. This is a big red flag. We should have a national program that gives a zero percent credit facility for three months, secured by back wages when there is a future budget impasse.

DrewT January 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm

WAY TO GO GAIL!! Once again our proven fighter for Norwalk continues to work extremely hard and move up the leadership positions. I am so honored to have her represent Norwalk and be our strong voice in Hartford! No fights harder the.n Gail and she truthfully our best and brightest up there! Keep up the AMAZING things you do for us Gail! WE SUPOORT YOU 1000%!!!!

Isabelle Hargrove January 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm

On behalf of the Norwalk Republican Town Committee, we would like to congratulate State Representative Gail Lavielle on her appointment as Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee. This appointment is a testament to the respect Gail as garnered from her caucus.

Gail’s reasoned voice, work ethics, experience with both the transportation and education committees, and most importantly her dedication to representing her constituents’ long-term interests and values, will make her an invaluable asset in the difficult task of crafting a State biennial budget that addresses our State’s long-term financial issues while preserving the services and resources needed by our residents and communities.

We wish her every success in her new role.

Isabelle Hargrove
Corresponding Secretary, NRTC

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