Students at New Fairfield Middle School learned the number one rule of serving as a state representative: Keep in touch with your constituents. Sixth grade science students learned that lesson courtesy of state Rep. Richard Smith, who visited the school last week in response to a bevy of emails he received from students concerned about a Gov. Dannel Malloy budget proposal that would close a salmon hatchery in Kensington. The students use fish from the hatchery in one of their course lessons. Smith spoke to roughly 200 students in the school’s foyer, first asking them to describe their course work. From there, Smith explained the state’s financial problems—namely, a $3.5 billion budget deficit—and ran through a few budgeting basics. Smith asked the students if any of them received allowances from their parents, and if they did, how they’d budget their money if they were paying household bills. What if the cost of keeping their lights on went up, or even the heating bill, yet their allowances stayed the same? Many students agreed that they would rearrange their priorities.
Smith pointed out to the students that their emails are what brought him to the school, and he encouraged them to remain active in the community.