Freshman State Reps say despite long budget battle session, they still love it

State lawmakers meet at the Capitol. (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut House voted 123 to 12 this afternoon to approve the state budget fix unanimously approved by the Senate on Tuesday. Of the 151-member House of Representatives, more than 30 were elected for the first time one year ago.

So, what do these newcomers to state politics think about being part of the longest state budget battle in history?

Almost 11 months after it started, and nearly six months late, the 2017 Connecticut General Assembly session finally came to an official end this afternoon at about 1:15 p.m.

32 of the House members were elected to the House for the first time one year ago never realizing they’d still be in session in November. The session is supposed to end in June.

Republican Bob Siegrist is a landscaper from Chester and says he grew tired of people stopping him at the grocery store asking, “Where’s the budget?”

“It was very frustrating,” he said. “At first, you know, you come up here and you think you’re going to get all these things done. When you get up here, you know, it’s definitely slower.”

Related Content: Senate passes budget fix, may soon need another

Democrat Christine Conley, a lawyer, ran for state representative because she thought Groton had gotten a raw deal in previous budgets.

“I did not expect to still be here in November on the budget, however, I didn’t think we’d finish in June but I thought we’d finish sometime in the summer,” she explained. “That’s how life turns out.”

Republican Stephanie Cummings of Waterbury, also a lawyer, says the fact that the two parties ended up working together to finish the budget is what finally paid off for the public.

“I’m really hoping that it goes into the new year because we’re going to be facing fiscal crisis coming down the pipeline and the only way to resolve it is to work together,” she said.

Democrat Derek Slap of West Hartford, a former TV reporter and legislative aid added, “I hope that carries on into the next session. You know we all own this budget now. Democrats, Republicans, together.”

Related Content: The ‘fix is in’ at the State Capitol next week

Despite the extra long days and hours, every one one of these new lawmakers say they love it. And guess what; the 2018 General Assembly session starts in just 85 days.


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