Looking Forward to Representing You! 

By Julie Kushner, Connecticut State Senator, 24th Senate District

Early this past February, I recalled what it was like on my first day in Hartford four years ago. I remember sitting at my desk in the Legislative Office Building for the first time and thinking that the task before me was overwhelming. I was elected to serve the people of Connecticut’s 24th State Senate district and the working families of the state of Connecticut. I knew there was a powerful coalition working to pass our two top priorities—paid family leave and a $15 minimum wage. I felt incredibly anxious. But when I opened the desk drawer, I found a note that my grandkids left for me. In charming block letters, they wrote, “You can do it.” 

And, yes, with the help of my colleagues in the state legislature, we did it. When I was elected, Connecticut’s minimum wage was $10.10 per hour. With the passage of Public Act 19-4, for which many people worked hard over many years, Connecticut set a new standard. As of July 1 this year, the minimum wage is $14 per hour, and it will rise again to $15 per hour on June 1, 2023.  

In another important advancement for Connecticut’s families—one in which our state leads the nation—we passed Public Act 19-25, which established an employee-funded Family and Medical Leave program that is already helping thousands of families.  As of July 23, 2022, 28,516 Connecticut families received benefits totaling $122,882,495 from the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority. These funds help families and workers when they need them most.

Numbers like these are abstract until you hear the stories from people living with the day-to-day challenges of providing for and taking care of loved ones. When I want to know how legislation—or lack of it—affects my neighbors, I listen to their stories. I’m visiting voters in the northern portion of Ridgefield, which is now included in the 24th State Senate District. I am thrilled to be meeting you and having meaningful conversations. We are neighbors; our home in Danbury is just over the Ridgefield town line. The concerns you are sharing with me now—about rising prices, gun violence, climate change, and reproductive healthcare options—energize and focus me for the work ahead as your State Senator.  I’m well positioned, serving on the relevant committees to lead on these issues, and find solutions in the upcoming legislative session.

If you honor me by re-electing me to the State Senate, I’ll continue my work to make Connecticut a better place to live, work and raise their families. I’ve been appointed to be the Senate Chair of the Working Group on Indoor Air Quality in Public Schools.  This should be a priority for every legislator; we need to establish standards that will be supported by the state and enforced in every school district.  

We’ve already taken action to reduce taxes, expand mental health services, support our excellent public schools, and give our seniors reasons and support to retire right here in the Nutmeg State. In the next session, I’d like to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to expand abortion rights and reproductive healthcare access, lower the cost of living, make it more affordable to live here, and further work to protect our residents from gun violence.

I know far more now than I did when I first sat at my desk in Hartford. I am proud to have earned a reputation for working hard to ensure the government makes a positive difference in people’s everyday lives, especially in a crisis such as the pandemic. My goal is the same as it was on that first day in Hartford: To serve Connecticut’s families and do so in a way that benefits not just my grandkids, but everybody’s grandkids. I’m just as determined now, as I was four years ago, to deliver on my grandchildren’s belief that, “You can do it.” And yes, I will, with your support.

[in italics] Redistricting has split Ridgefield into two State Senate districts of roughly equal size. Effective with the opening of the 2023 legislative session in January, Ridgefield residents living in the northern portion of the town will be represented by the State Senator who is elected on November 8, 2022, to the 24th Senate District, which also includes a portion of New Fairfield and all of Danbury. Ridgefield residents living in the southern portion of the town will be represented by the State Senator elected to the 26th State Senate District, a seat currently held by Will Haskell, who is not running for re-election. Look for a Democratic View from our candidate for the 26th State Senate District, Ceci Maher, soon.

Find out more about State Senator Julie Kushner’s 2022 campaign, including ways you can help, here. Click here to see her legislative updates and sign up for her e-newsletter.