State Rep. Jan Giegler (R-138) on Feb. 20 joined with western Connecticut legislators in announcing the formation of a new Life Sciences Caucus.
State Sens. Toni Boucher (R-26) and Michael McLachlan (R-24), State Reps. David Arconti (D-109) and Dan Carter (R-2), are members of the bipartisan panel.
The legislative caucus, co-chaired by Sen. McLachlan, will aim to promote public policy that supports economic growth and scientific innovation in the state.
Connecticut has a strong presence in many of the industries that fall under the banner of life sciences, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies and devices, and life systems technologies. The Life Sciences Caucus will support the growth and expansion of these industries by meeting to discuss state policy and inviting local and national experts to come speak about their vision for the future of these industries in Connecticut.
“This bipartisan caucus provides an opportunity for our colleagues across the state to familiarize themselves with the many life science companies and research institutions which currently exist across the state which are established and have been creating jobs,” said State Rep. Giegler, a Ranking Member of the Public Safety and Security Committee. In addition to her service on the Life Science Caucus, Rep. Giegler serves on the Transportation and Executive & Legislative Nominations committees. “Danbury is fortunate to have Boehringer-Ingleheim, and Danbury Hospital whom are expanding in our region contributing economic strength and a potential influence to our State in its efforts to gain bioscience recognition.”
“Our goal is to raise the visibility of this job creating sector and pass policies which unleash its endless possibilities,” Sen. McLachlan said. “I’m looking forward to working with pro-business legislators from both sides of the political aisle to discuss policies which can make our economy grow. It’s something that should be done more often in Hartford. We have an excellent opportunity to make the business environment friendlier in western Connecticut and across the state. If we can improve connectivity among manufacturers, institutions and companies in relevant fields, we can generate new ideas, new partnerships, and new jobs.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues in this important bipartisan effort to advance bio technology and the pharma industry in Connecticut,” Sen. Boucher said. “A few of us had previously worked to create tax incentives for R&D to help spur fledgling startups that attempt to transfer innovations from the lab to the marketplace but further initiatives are necessary. Connecticut educated workforce and leading higher education institutions have the potential to emulate the technology corridors of California, North Carolina and Massachusetts. This dedicated legislative caucus, with members from both sides of the aisle, can become a sounding board and advocacy group to reduce barriers to growth in our state. My previous experience with a marketing firm whose focus was on startup bio tech firms in Southern California tell me that bringing higher education, private industry and government leaders together that “get it” can make positive change and help create a more conducive environment for growth in this important area. We are in an exciting pioneering phase of tremendous breakthroughs in medicine. This caucus should help keep the focus on helping to grow this industry in a smart responsible and support a strong foundation for future growth.”
Rep. Arconti said, “We have a chance to do great work in a bipartisan fashion to get Connecticut moving again. Western Connecticut has great life science companies such as Boehringer-Ingleheim, Biodel and Mankind. Our goal will be to grow the life science industries and attract young talent from across the country and the world to come live and work in the great state of Connecticut.”
“This new caucus will take a proactive approach and work in a bipartisan fashion to encourage scientific innovation and stimulate our state economy,” Rep. Carter said. “By working across party lines and with professionals from all facets of the evolving life sciences industry, we can facilitate job growth and contribute to vital developments in fields such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals and technology.”
The caucus will focus on exploring the evolving nature of the life sciences, understanding Connecticut’s strengths and weaknesses in the field, and learning about what measures other states have taken to establish themselves as leaders in life sciences industries.