State Rep. Vincent Candelora is the Connecticut Alliance of YMCA’s 2017 legislative champion, a recognition for his work supporting and advocating on behalf of the organization.
Candelora, R-North Branford, received the award during a ceremony Thursday at the Rotary/YMCA Teen Center on Elm Street in Wallingford. His legislative district includes a section of Wallingford.
“I certainly support the organization and their concepts,” Candelora said during an interview Friday.
Sean Doherty, executive director of the Wallingford YMCA, said in a statement that Candelora received the award because of both his efforts pushing for legislation backed by the statewide alliance, and for his support of YMCAs in his district.
“He has always been a significant supporter with any child protection legislation, Care for Kids funding, as well as support of services and costs for our veterans,” Doherty said. “On the homefront, Representative Candelora, has always been a strong advocate of the Wallingford Family YMCA, its programs, services and our impact on the Greater Wallingford community.”
Candelora, who owns CT Sportsplex in North Branford, said he began working with Ys in the surrounding area in 2000. He would let the local facilities use the complex for their programs, he said.
He also began running camps and programs similar to those offered by the Ys, so he said he understands their needs. “I’ve become appreciative of the issues they face with the state,” he said.
Some of those issues included passing legislation to create standard forms for required paperwork for camps and programs.
He also said the Care 4 Kids program is crucial because it provides funding to help parents who meet certain income requirements get child care. Restoring funding for the program, which has been subject to concerns about reduced federal aid, was a key issue for lawmakers on both sides this session.
Candelora said he also expects bipartisan support to continue on the issue of opioid addiction. He said is glad YMCA has recognized its role in dealing with opioid addiction, as the injuries sustained in youth sports can lead to access to prescription painkillers.