The following was compiled from a press release supplied by Rep. Gail Lavielle’s office.
State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), who will be sworn in on Jan. 7 for her third term in the CT House of Representatives, has been named ranking member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee. She was also assigned to two other committees, Appropriations and Transportation.
“I am honored to have been named to this leadership position,” said Lavielle. “Nothing is more important to the future of our state than ensuring that all of Connecticut’s students receive a quality education. While our educational system has experienced many significant changes over the past few years, there is much more work to do to make sure that all of our districts are prepared and equipped to serve their students and that they have the local decision-making authority to do it well,” she said.
According to the press release, “During her time in the legislature, Lavielle has been a vocal advocate for education mandate relief, equity in education funding, special education improvement, and early literacy. In 2011, she received the ‘Tip of the Cap’ award for education advocacy from the CT Coalition for Achievement Now. In 2013, the Early Childhood Alliance recognized her work in early childhood education by naming her a ‘Children’s Champion.’”
The Education Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to the state Department of Education; local and regional boards of education and the substantive law of collective bargaining covering teachers and professional employees; vocational rehabilitation; the Commission on the Arts; and libraries, museums and historical and cultural associations.
Lavielle is returning to the Transportation Committee, where she will continue her longstanding advocacy for commuters, transportation infrastructure planning and funding, and safety. As Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee’s Transportation Subcommittee, she played an active role in passing bipartisan legislation that protected the Special Transportation Fund, increased funding for transportation infrastructure, and prepared the creation of a Connecticut Port Authority. She has also worked directly with Metro-North and the state DOT to improve commuter train service on the Danbury Branch Line.
Lavielle will also retain her seat on the Appropriations Committee, which sets budgetary and spending policies for the state.
“Getting the state’s financial house in order must be our top priority, because we are facing a nearly $3 billion deficit in the next biennium. Spending, which increased by 16% over the last four years, continues to outpace revenues, even after the historic tax increases of 2011. If we don’t resolve this structural deficit, we will not be able to fund our critical needs in areas like transportation, education, and social services. At the same time, people and businesses cannot withstand further tax pressure, and many are leaving the state. It will take strong bipartisan collaboration to find solutions,” she said.
Lavielle was a member of the budget-writing team that developed and proposed a fully vetted no-tax-increase biennial state budget in 2011 and several subsequent sets of no-tax-increase midterm budget adjustments. She brings extensive business experience to her role as a legislator. She worked for more than 25 years in finance, marketing, and communication, holding executive leadership positions with Fortune 500 corporations, including chief executive of an Interpublic Group subsidiary and Senior Vice President of Suez Environment, the world’s largest water and wastewater services company. In 2012, she was named “Woman of the Year” by the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Fairfield County, for her leadership in supporting proposals to reduce taxes and state.