During the current legislative session, three housing bills have been submitted with the goal to create more diverse and affordable housing throughout the state. With over 100,000 open jobs and a 3% vacancy rate for housing in Connecticut, we must build more housing if we are to continue our economic recovery. But it is paramount that any new housing legislation must respect the legitimate needs of every town.

Working with town officials and talking to residents, I know that none of these bills will be supported by the people in our district. These bills set requirements for the number of units that need to be built and the density allowed or penalize a community by withholding state funding. I am recommending to fellow legislators that the state should provide more support for towns that build affordable housing and less punitive measures if towns should decide to build less than the state suggests.

If we want the economy to grow in Connecticut, we must encourage new development that includes a variety of housing options. I also have been working with the Department of Transportation to help improve public transit services. Congestion is decreased when people live in the same area they work. People want to live where they work, including those who directly serve our community in our schools, first response, and otherwise. Many people in the towns I serve support new housing that is affordable to singles, young workers, service workers, downsizing families, and more, but they want to retain control over where and how our towns are developed. Any state plan must be one that works locally.

I have advised the House leadership that my constituents and I do not support the currently proposed housing bills. Any new legislation must meet several primary concerns, and I share these concerns with my fellow, local Representatives Aimee Berger-Girvalo of the 111th District in Ridgefield as well as Tom O’Dea of the 125th district in New Canaan. Any new legislation must:

  • help us grow a range of housing stock that considers our towns’ specific land and transportation challenges
  • put no undue strain on our environment
  • benefit our community and the people who live and work here, over developers
  • support the continuing growth of our state and local economies

The current legislative session ends on Wednesday, June 7 at midnight and it is my goal to only consider a bill that addresses all of these concerns. I still support the construction of affordable housing as do many of the constituents I talked to while campaigning. It is not a matter of should we but how do we do it responsibly and with local concerns respected.

There are some people in the legislature who are working to build a bill that can be passed without my vote and the votes of many legislators who share my views. I am monitoring the developments of this new housing bill and will work to ensure that the concerns of our district are taken seriously.

I appreciate the support and advice that many in our district have shared, and I’ll continue to work to make our towns and our state an even better place to live.