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State Politicians Host an Intimate Gathering in New Canaan

From left, O'Dea, Boucher and Frantz
From left, O'Dea, Boucher and Frantz
Even with the trio making up a third of the crowd gathered Thursday night, state Senators Toni Boucher and Scott Frantz and state Representative Tom O'Dea hosted a Town Hall forum and entertained the half-dozen gathered New Canaan residents. 

A wide variety of topics were touched upon, and the three came prepared with a presentation that ranged from state spending and the budget, where taxes go to a review of controversial measures, both adopted and blocked, and bi-partisan legislative agreements passed over the last year to new laws and even the recent Con Ed power failure that caused headaches for Metro North travelers. 

Each of the legislators hung around for the entire originally scheduled meeting, which was set to run from about 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and most stayed afterwards to chat more with the half-dozen folks who'd attended. 

"[The people are] my boss," said O'Dea after the meeting. "I need to hear from my bosses what they want done and what they need done and what their concerns are. I work for constituents and I need to hear from them. That's why I like doing these things. It's for listening to what people have concerns about."

Constituents listened as the politicians explained their positions on why state government has grown too large as spending increases at a far greater rate than percentage increases for inflation of population over the same period of time, heard that there has not been a single "net total" new job created since 1990 and why Connecticut is one of the most tax-happy states in the union.  

Boucher, who announced in August her intent to run for the position of Governor,  said it wasn't about the number of people who showed up, only that she made herself available and the people know she's there to listen if they want to talk. 

"People appreciate that you made the effort. They may not be able to come out, but they say, 'At least she's reaching out,'" Boucher said. "I have seven towns [I represent.] This is my third [Town Hall] and I have two more next week. The previous two were very well attended—surprisingly so, I thought. And we talk about whatever the audience wants to talk about. You have to keep reaching out and understanding and listening to what is the number one priority on the minds of the people you're representing to do the job responsibly."

New Canaan resident Eric Twerdahl engaged the politicians a number of times with his thoughts and questions throughout the evening, and he said he wished more of his fellow New Canaanites had joined him. 

"I think people are not quite always aware of many issues going on in town, they're not aware of issues at a state level and they're not aware of many issues at a federal or national level," Twerdahl said. "So most of us get our information from the media, at a federal level. This is an opportunity for us to get information about what's going on in our state from our representatives who come to forums like this. The disappointment is there should be more people from town that come to these forums so they too can understand what the issues are at a state level."

Frantz echoed O'Dea's sentiment and said they were all happy to be there and hear out anyone who wanted to come voice their concerns or ask questions. He said meetings like Thursday's are for the people to actively participate in the democracy in which they live. 

"Public discourse is the heart of democracy," he said. "We're working for you. You are our bosses and, on top of that, there's the function of getting advice. There's very, very good ideas that come from people in the public that you wouldn't necessarily expect to show up at places like this."

joe October 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM
why does kate regan walk around town freely when she murdered a resident. where is justice????
Brent October 18, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Joe - this is the 2nd time u have randomly mentioned Kate Regan..Why? What's the agenda? Do you understand that people don't sit in jail while the judical process takes place. That is unless they can't pay bail. Try to watch a few episodes of Law and Order from time to time.

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