By Gracie Girvalo
On Monday, February 3rd, at a party celebrating the many volunteers of the Democratic Town Committee, I had the privilege of meeting and chatting with many other local Democrats. Among those present were State Representative Ken Gucker and State Senator Will Haskell. As friendly and genuine as I remembered, Will asked me how school was going and how I’d been spending my unusually long winter break. I told him I was eager to get back to the second half of my freshman year at the University of Delaware, and my Political Science studies, and in turn, asked how his “freshman year” in the Senate had gone. He was also eager to return — to his second session in the General Assembly. After a few minutes of elaborating on his experiences, and answering my laundry list of related questions, he invited me and my younger brother, Austin, to be his guests for the Legislative Session Opening Day in Hartford.
Two days later, Austin and I hopped into the car and made the early trek to Hartford. When we arrived, Jack Lynch, Will’s Outreach Coordinator, welcomed us and directed us to Will’s official spot in the parking garage. Very cool. We toured the Capitol building while meeting other legislators’ guests. Will and his colleagues sat with us and chatted as we ate breakfast, before leaving us to discuss official senate business.
The Senate Chamber is a beautiful place, architecturally. But even the stunning gothic and federal details disappear into the background when the Senators come together in the room. Their collective energy and excitement lifted us all. We watched the opening day action from the balcony, and then Austin and I had the freedom to walk around, get some lunch, and see the rest of the legislative building. While in Will’s company, we witnessed him being greeted by many people — each of whom, it was quite clear, had been inspired by his commitment and hard work. Their respect for him was evident.
Lunch was followed by Governor Lamont’s speech, delivered in the House Chamber, on the state of Connecticut and plans for the upcoming session. The room was packed with residents, all sharing their high hopes for this great state, and Lamont acknowledged the efforts of many of the individuals and groups who were present.
There was one thing our Governor said that really struck a chord with me. He told us that there was no more time to sleep on Connecticut, that we live in a state with people who have so much to offer, and we cannot let that go to waste. We need to collaborate and celebrate our differences to raise one another up. I couldn’t agree more.
Quite a day Austin and I had in our Capitol. It was inspiring to be standing in a room with such dedicated public servants, each expressing their gratitude for our interest and involvement, and encouraging us to stay engaged. And that’s exactly what we will do.
The Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee provides the column.