State Senator-elect Will Haskell (D-26) released his committee assignments Friday afternoon, and they seem to be good fits given what he campaigned on–and where he’s most experienced.
Haskell announced that he has been selected to serve as chairman of the General Assembly’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, and also as vice-chairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.
The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee deals with matters relating to public and independent colleges and universities in Connecticut, private occupational schools, post‑secondary education institutions, the state Board of Regents for Higher Education, the state Office of Higher Education, job-training institutions and programs, apprenticeship training programs, and adult job-training programs.
The Government Administration and Elections Committee deals with matters relating to elections and election laws as well as personnel and labor relations, fire marshals, the fire safety code, the state building code and school building projects, the Freedom of Information Commission, the Office of State Ethics, the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board and the State Elections Enforcement Commission, state and federal relations, interstate compacts, compacts between the state and Indian tribes, constitutional amendments, and other matters
Fresh from graduating Georgetown University last May, Haskell campaigned on several issues he said were crucial to young voters and college-aged residents. His assignments make sense given many of the areas he championed, including student loan relief, absentee ballot and voter access, and attracting and retaining young workers.
In a press release Haskell made a statement:
“I’m thrilled to be serving as the Senate Chairman of these two committees; they fit in well not only with my interests, but with the interests of my constituents,” Haskell said. “During the campaign I focused heavily on making Connecticut an exciting place for the next generation of Connecticut residents to live and work, and serving as Senate Chairman of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee is going to help me accomplish that goal.
“I expect one of the issues I’ll be looking to address is the student loan crisis; Connecticut has the third-highest average student debt in the nation, at about $35,000 per person. It’s time to tackle this head-on and invest in Connecticut’s students.
“Regarding employment advancement, again and again on the campaign trail I heard business owners crying out for a high-tech workforce. In Connecticut we do a great job of educating students in high-tech careers, but too often they don’t stay here. A goal of mine as chairman will be to see what we can do in Connecticut to ensure that young college graduates stay here to start their careers, families and small businesses.
“As Senate Chairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, my philosophy is simple: I believe that as a society we are better off when more people vote. It’s really that simple.
“And this should be a bipartisan issue, a small ‘d’ democratic issue. It’s good for our democracy. I want to make it easier for students to vote. I want to make the absentee ballot process less burdensome and more modern. If you are interested in voting, if you are a citizen and you want to be a part of our participatory democracy, you should be able to vote in Connecticut.”
Haskell’s appointments become effective when he is sworn in to office on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.