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Families Impacted by Governor’s Cuts to Developmental Services Speak Out

Today Republican lawmakers joined families impacted by Governor Malloy’s recent budget cuts to renew their call for a special session to restore funding for health care and social services. The governor’s $103 million worth of rescissions released last month include reductions to programs that provide direct services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Republican leaders stand with disability advocates in opposition to cuts by Governor Dannel Malloy, October 1st .

At a press conference this morning, Senate and House Republicans welcomed parents from CT DDS Families First to the Capitol to share their stories. The group includes parents and family members of those in need of care who will be hurt by cuts to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The families will all be impacted by cuts made to the following programs:

  • Employment Opportunities and Day Services – Funding in this account pays for all day
    program services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Community Residential Services – Funding in this account covers all residential
    expenditures for individuals with developmental disabilities including transitioning
    individuals from the Southbury Training School to other less costly residential programs.
  • Cooperative Placements Program – This program funds court ordered placements for
    individuals in need and mainly funds private providers.
  • Voluntary Services/Behavioral Services – This program provides services to individuals
    with significant behavioral issues.

As of September, 2,102 individuals were on the DDS waitlist; this is a group of people in need of services who have yet to receive any from the state due to lack of funding and capacity. The governor’s new rescissions and funding holdbacks include a $3 million cut from employment opportunities and day services, a $1.8 million cut from community residential services, a nearly $700,000 cut from the Cooperative Placements Program, and a nearly $300,000 cut from voluntary and behavioral services.

In total, combining the governor’s rescissions with the cuts made in this year’s budget, compared to the funds requested by the agency, that’s a $10.8 million cut to employment opportunities and day services, a $10.7 million cut to community residential services, a nearly $1.3 million cut to the Cooperative Placements Program, and a $3.5 million cut to voluntary and behavioral services.

“Republicans are united in our opposition to the governor’s cuts to programs that help some of the most vulnerable individuals in our state. The central role of government should be to protect and empower citizens. Reducing these services so drastically year after year skirts the state’s basic responsibility to help those in need. These rescissions are devastating for families waiting for care,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “While the legislature was successful in restoring many of the debilitating cuts the governor initially proposed in February, this round of cuts sets us back again. Governor Malloy initially proposed much larger cuts to DDS in his February budget proposal including cutting voluntary and behavioral services by over 60%. In the negotiated budget that passed the legislature, many of these funds were restored.

“I hope state leaders realize the brutal effects of these cuts on Connecticut families. Clearly, we all saw the damage that would be caused by the governor’s initial cuts. Now that more cuts are back on the table we need a special session to completely rethink our state’s priorities. We all need to be a part of a much larger conversation to move Connecticut forward without hurting those most in need,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby).

Klarides, Woodbridge Officials Kick Off “Heat Kills” Campaign

WOODBRIDGE — House Republican Leader Themis Klarides on Monday joined officials from this community and others to kick off an awareness and response campaign that will have business owners help remind people about the dangers of leaving children and pets unattended inside their vehicles when it’s warm outside.

The “Heat Kills” campaign, unveiled at a Town Hall news conference, will see business owners put stickers in their shop windows that remind customers: “if you love’em, don’t leave’em.” The stickers direct residents to contact Woodbridge Animal Control if they see a child or pet unattended in a vehicle.

“We’re here in a unified fight for the defenseless—it takes just a few minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to skyrocket, sometimes causing tragedies that are entirely preventable,” said Klarides, who serves the 114th House District covering Woodbridge, Derby and a section of Orange. “By partnering with businesses, places where we all go day in and day out, we’ll be able to get this important message to so many more people.”

Ellen Scalettar, first selectman in Woodbridge, hailed the partnership between several communities

“Woodbridge is happy to participate in the ‘Heat Kills’ campaign,” she said. “So many groups—Woodbridge District Animal Control, the Woodbridge Police Department, the Woodbridge business community and our partners in Bethany and Derby—are working together to spread this message to help keep children and animals safe.”

The program launched in Woodbridge is modeled after one started earlier this year in Fairfield by state Rep. Brenda Kupchick and supported by that community’s police department.

“I’m thrilled to see another town pick this up and, really, the goal would be to see every town pick this up,” said Kupchick, whose effort in Fairfield was inspired by the heat-related death of a baby in Ridgefield last year.

Beth Heller, deputy first selectman in Woodbridge, was at the news conference and recounted the case of a dog two years ago that died after being left in a car here for two hours.

Also looking to prevent that type of tragedy is Seymour, which is considering launching a program and was represented Monday by Deputy First Selectman Nicole Klarides-Ditria. Derby’s Chief of Police, Gerald Narowski, was at the “Heat Kills” kick-off as well as Woodbridge police officer Joseph Kubik. Bethany’s State Representative, Lezlye Zupkus, was at the event too.

“The only way we make this better is by doing it together,” Rep. Themis Klarides said.

Any business owner who wants a sticker should call Woodbridge Animal Control at 203-389-5991.

Klarides, Perillo and McGorty Announce Bond Funds for Derby-Shelton Bridge

HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114), and State Representatives Jason Perillo (R-113) and Ben McGorty (R-122) have announced that at today’s meeting the State Bond Commission has authorized $2 million for rehabilitation of the Derby-Shelton Bridge.

The funds will provide grant-in-aid to the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (VCOG) to finance the rehabilitation of the bridge, which spans the Housatonic River between the two towns.  The project includes resurfacing of the bridge’s deck, installation of new lighting, and the addition of bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

“This span is vital to the entire region for both commuters and for economic expansion. Thousands of motorists rely on this bridge to get back and forth to work and to home. We appreciate the investment in this project,’’ Rep. Klarides said.

derby shelton bridge

“The Derby-Shelton Bridge has tremendous historic value,” said Rep. Perillo.  “It was built in 1918 and is one of only a dozen concrete arch bridges in the state. It originally carried two sets of trolley tracks in addition to the vehicular lanes. This work will help restore the bridge to its original historic feel and will complement in-process redevelopment efforts in Shelton. I am pleased we were able to secure the funds, and I want to thank the Bond Commission for its assistance in making this grant a reality. I’d also like to thank Rick Dunne, Executive Director of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments and Jim Ryan, President of the Shelton Economic Development Corporation for their invaluable assistance in moving this project forward.””

“The rehabilitation of this bridge is one of the key elements to revitalizing the downtowns in both Shelton and Derby,” said Rep. McGorty.  “By creating greater accessibility on this bridge for foot and bike traffic we are expanding access to our local shops and restaurants.  Having a viable conduit between the two of them will vastly improve economic development in both towns.”

A study unveiled last autumn by the VCOG noted that Derby and Shelton should do more to link their respective downtown areas, particularly by improving the connection between them with “transit-oriented development” including making the area friendlier to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  The improvements to the bridge are a critical element to the overall plan.

The three legislators worked in concert with the Department of Transportation and administration officials to secure the funding.  The planned improvements are expected to begin in 2017.

Klarides in End-of-Session Wrap-up News Conference

Klarides, House & Senate GOP Unveil A Better Budget Plan for Conn.

House & Senate Republicans Urge Legislators to Adopt Clean Election Proposals

HARTFORD – Connecticut House and Senate Republicans slammed Democrats for their failure to lead on the important issue of campaign finance reform. Democrats are pushing forward a campaign finance bill that fails to close clean election loopholes and address the flaws exposed during the last election cycle.

The proposed legislation, SB 1126 An Act Concerning Revisions to Campaign Finance Laws, drafted by Democrats in the Government Affairs and Elections (GAE) Committee, also excludes all of the Republicans’ campaign finance proposals made this year in an effort to strengthen the Citizen’s Election Program.

“Connecticut’s Citizen’s Election Program is broken, and so is Connecticut’s promise to taxpayers,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “Nearly a decade ago, Connecticut made a deal with taxpayers: fund state campaigns with taxpayer money in exchange for clean elections untouched by the influence of special interest groups. But after years of attacks on this program, Connecticut is unable to uphold its end of the bargain. We have an obligation to right this wrong. Unfortunately, the legislation now under consideration by the GAE Committee does not go far enough to plug the holes in this quickly sinking ship.”

“Republicans have offered five sensible fixes to Connecticut’s broken campaign finance system to close loopholes and once again eliminate pay-to-play for state contractors. They were ignored. And the bill up for consideration makes things worse,” House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) said. “This bill does nothing to regain the public’s expectation of clean elections in Connecticut,” Klarides added.

Senate and House Republicans proposed a package of reforms to election laws this year, including the following changes:
1) Cap organizational expenditures by state parties (SB 612)
2) Reduce individual donor limits to state parties from $10,000 to $5,000 (HB 6084)
3) Stop state contractor funds from being used in state races (SB 385)
4) Eliminate grants to unopposed candidates (SB 224)
5) Reduce all Citizens’ Election Program grants by 25% (SB 225)

None of the above proposals were included in the overarching committee bill.

Republicans also took issue with two sections of the Democrats’ proposal that would further weaken clean election laws. One section would change regulations to limit the time the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) can conduct an audit to three months and would prohibit audits on candidates who were audited in the previous election cycle, which could foster system abuse. Another section would eliminate an SEEC regulation which would open the door to allow candidates to funnel their unused campaign funds to another candidate through coordinated campaign expenditures, thereby circumventing the intention of public financing.

“Those who want more transparency in Connecticut political campaigns will be sadly disappointed if this legislation passes in its current form,” said Sen. Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury), Ranking Member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. “If this bill becomes law, money will continue to trump sunlight, and Connecticut will continue down the wrong path. Our campaign laws already have gaping loopholes, but those loopholes will grow even larger with this legislation.”

Long-term Transportation Plan Announced by Klarides, House and Senate Republicans

HARTFORD — Today House Republican Leader Themis Klarides joined House and Senate legislators roll out a plan to prioritize transportation across the state of Connecticut. By securing a predictable and sustainable funding source and empowering transportation experts to plan for the future, “Prioritize Progress” aims to create a safe, reliable and multi-model transportation network including roads, bridges, rail, bus, and port improvements.

“This is a comprehensive transportation plan that accomplishes many goals: It defines a 10-year horizon where we propose funding an additional $5.3 billion to re-build our infrastructure. We do not raise any taxes and the plan does not include tolls,” said state Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby), House Republican Leader. “This plan will also save Connecticut $305 million in debt services.”

“Over the past century our state has never had a truly predictable and reliable revenue stream to fund transportation projects,” said Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven), Senate Minority Leader. “Our plan will reprioritize state spending to put the focus on transportation. We are proposing a way to live within our means and simultaneously advance Connecticut for the future.”

The “Prioritize Progress” plan involves (1) establishing a predictable and sustainable funding stream for transportation totaling at least $1 billion every year for the next 30 years, and (2) reinstituting the Transportation Strategy Board to aid the Connecticut Department of Transportation in identifying community needs and prioritizing safety improvements.

Benefits of the plan include:
– An annual transportation funding mechanism guaranteeing at least $1 billion annually over the next 30 years
– No tax increases
– No tolls
– A reduction in the current level of state bonding
– Flexibility in setting transportation priorities
– A sustainable and predictable funding plan to support future generations

Key components of the plan would require the state to:
– Reserve a set amount of General Obligation Bonds to be used solely for transportation priorities.
– Preserve current Special Tax Obligation bonds dedicated to transportation.
– Fill all vacant positions at the Department of Transportation to ensure that the agency can efficiently carry out the state’s needed transportation projects. As of January 1, the DOT is 114 positions below where they were 6 months previously.
– Re-establish the Transportation Strategy Board (TSB) to work alongside CTDOT to assess proposed projects, identify community needs.

Klarides, House & Senate GOP Call for Changes to Clean Elections Program

HARTFORD–Connecticut Senate and House Republicans are calling for the state to clean up its clean elections program. At a press conference at the Legislative Office Building today, Republican legislators outlined a plan to close loopholes in the state’s current public campaign financing laws.

“Connecticut a decade ago made a deal with the taxpayers of this state: Underwrite the elections and take the money out of politics. Today, the system that we have bares little relationship to the program that was originally adopted and that taxpayers and voters were sold,” said Representative Themis Klarides (R-Derby), House Republican Leader.

“Time and time again we have seen the majority party chip away at the clean election system that Connecticut once took great pride in. We created a public financing system to ensure honest, fair elections. But that’s not what we have now. It’s time to close the loopholes,” said Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven), Senate Minority Leader.

The Republican legislators are proposing a package of legislative reforms to election laws including the following changes.

1)     Cap organizational expenditures by state parties

Currently, political parties can make unlimited organizational expenditures on behalf of participating candidates. Republicans are proposing the following limits:

  • Candidate for Governor                                      $250,000
  • Candidate for Constitutional Officer                 $75,000
  • Candidate for State Senate                                 $10,000
  • Candidate for House of Representatives          $3,500

2)     Reduce individual donor limits to state parties from $10,000 to $5,000

In 2013, individual donor limits to state parties was increased along with the amount state parties could make in organizational expenditures to a campaign. Republicans are proposing to roll back donation limits to previous levels.

3)     Eliminate grants to unopposed candidates

Currently, candidates for state office (constitutional officers, senators, and representatives) are eligible for Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) grants even if they are unopposed.  The amount of their grant equals 30% of a full-grant. Republicans are proposing to eliminate these grants.

4)     Stop state contractors from donating to a federal account to fund a state race

The State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) needs to be able to enforce Connecticut’s current laws that contractors from donating to state races. Republicans are proposing legislation to help SEEC enforce this law.

5)     Reduce all Citizens’ Election Program grants by 25%

By reducing CEP funds across the board, the state can save taxpayers approximately $7 million in gubernatorial election years and $2.4 million in Presidential years.


Current Grant Amounts

Proposed Grant Amounts

(25 % reduction)




Constitutional Officer



State Senator



State Representative



“We must re-double our efforts to eliminate certain grants, reduce the money we spend on elections and curb the influence of outside groups that have been allowed over time to re-enter the field,’’ said Representative Klarides.

Rep. Themis Klarides Supports VNA Community Health Care’s Fall Prevention Program at Woodbridge Senior Center

Falls can happen to anyone, but if you’re over 65, a fall can be especially devastating. According to the Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention, which provides up-to-date, research-based protocol for clinical and community settings. In an effort to extend this message of caution and save our senior citizens from falls, Rep. Themis Klarides attended the “Keeping Woodbridge Residents on Their Feet” event at the Woodbridge Senior Center.



Following a special lunch served by the Senior Center, representatives from American Medical Response and VNA Community Healthcare began a presentation on how falls happen, and how they can be prevented.

According to the program, falls are the number one cause of accidental injury in CT residents aged 55 and over. An older adult seeks emergency services because of a fall every 18 seconds.  For that reason, senior citizens are encouraged to seek help. Even the proper use of a cane can aid in getting seniors up and moving about safely. Because increased mobility leads to stronger, balanced bodies, recommended forms of exercise include Tai Chi, Yoga and Dance.

Seniors were also advised to be aware of the following potential fall causes:

  • Difficulty walking, getting up or sitting down.
  • Losing their balance.
  • Taking four or more medications on a regular basis.
  • Drops in blood pressures and dizziness.
  • Problems with vision, hearing, numbness in feet, memory and confusion.
  • Foot pain and ill-fitting shoes.
  • Hazards at home.

To safeguard against these dangers, it was suggested that seniors seek sturdy shoes with a high-grip sole, talk with their doctor about shortening prescription lists, replace unsteady furniture and remove obtrusive furniture, and make sure all aspects of their environments are visible at all times by turning on lights, taking a moment to observe, and keeping glasses clean.

In addition to Fall Prevention, the VNA is available to help regarding the following services:

  • Benefits or entitlements.
  • Medicare.
  • Medical Alarm services, such as MobileHelp (1-800-800-1710).
  • Private care.
  • Community services.
  • Support groups.

For further information, questions, or concerns, speak to a nurse at 1-866-862-0888 or visit

For more on Fall Prevention, please visit

The VNA HelpLine is also available toll free at 1-866-474-5230.




Rep. Klarides Attends Unveiling of New Fitness Center at Derby High School

Derby High School was recently selected as one of three school districts in Connecticut to receive a $100,000 gift from the National Foundation for Governor’s Fitness Councils.  On Wednesday the school unveiled a brand new fitness center, which will be open to middle school students and eventually to the public on weekends.

Though this is a small school district, Derby was chosen over 200+ applicants mainly because of its variety of school programs that encourage healthy lifestyles. Efforts of teachers, students and the community to promote healthy habits include the middle school’s sixth grade healthy cooking participation, the high school’s fundraiser for the American Heart Association and the district’s partnerships with Griffin Hospital to display “NuVal” nutrition scores in schools and the non-profit “Valley Initiative to Advance Health and Learning in Schools.”



“I would like to thank Coca-Cola and AOL, who donated the money to the Foundation that provided this wonderful resource for our students,” said Rep. Klarides (R-114). “The Derby school system and community is truly in need of these infrastructure and equipment upgrades, which will go a long way toward helping our young folks learn and compete. In order to focus on their learning, students need to feel physically strong and healthy. This will improve their mental and emotional well-being and ultimately, their academic performance. The success of our students and educators is critical, and these improvements are money well invested.”


For more information on the National Foundation for Governor’s Fitness Councils, please visit:


Photos Courtesy of the Valley Independent Sentinel.

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