Cicarella begins tenure; Kokoruda says farewell

Cicarella begins tenure; Kokoruda says farewell

A message from State SenatorPaul Cicarella:

First, thank you to the voters of the 34th District: Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford for putting your trust in me as your state senator. This is a great district and we all share the common concerns of making Connecticut affordable to provide for our families, living in safe communities and the ability to earn a living as small business owners and public and private employees. 

I was born and raised here in East Haven and was educated in our public schools. I've gone on to coach local students in wrestling and started a family here along with several businesses -- all of which are based in this district. My career started in law enforcement and it has always reflected preserving a safe community. 

If you asked me about serving in state government one year ago, I'd tell you that option wasn’t in my near future. I've been involved in my community at the local level with the intention to make it better. I was approached by our outstanding outgoing State Sen. Minority Leader Len Fasano to run for this seat and, after reflecting on the opportunity, I had no choice but to be a voice for the people of the 34th District. From there, it was off to the races. 

These past eight months of campaigning brought me an even better sense of what you, the people of Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford are going through on a daily basis here in Connecticut in the midst of COVID-19.

Through what I've learned, one thing is abundantly clear: we must find a way to balance keeping people safe and finding a way to get everyone back to work. This goal starts with making the state friendlier for small businesses. These small business owners and their employees must have the ability to pay their bills, unencumbered by the state. 

From a public safety perspective, I plan to advocate for the many middle class families in our community that are experiencing the trickle-down effect of policies that are proving to be a detriment to our safety. This effect is why I requested to serve on our legislature's Public Safety and Security Committee. After dealing with related issues over the last 10 years in my profession, I'll be the voice of our district and do my best to avoid the unintended consequences of policies that are detrimental to our community.

Whether on this committee or my other committees: Appropriations, Housing, and Veterans' Affairs, my goal is to learn, listen and remove existing onerous laws before putting any new ones into place. 

I'm fortunate to have great mentors such as Senator Fasano, and I will bring the lessons that I've learned with me to the Capitol. Foremost of these lessons is listening to all sides of an issue before making a decision or determination. 

I've also learned that constituent issues do not have boundaries. I plan to be accessible to everyone in the 34th District and I am eager to hear your concerns and challenges and bring your ideas to Hartford.

We have a great district with much to offer: developed downtowns, historic properties, agriculture/farmlands and a mix of family-owned businesses and large corporations. At the center of all of these are great, hardworking people. It is my honor to represent you in Hartford. 

A message from outgoing State Representaitve Noreen Kokoruda:

January 5 is my final day serving as the State Representative for the 101st District. It has been an honor to serve the people of Durham and Madison for almost a decade. Over those years, I have met and gotten to know so many of you. We have worked together to address problems and create policies that hopefully made a positive difference for our community and our state.

My top priorities always included improving educational opportunities for every child, meeting the needs of our most challenged citizens, making sure that our small towns had a voice at the Capitol and finally, addressing the long-term fiscal crisis in Connecticut. 

I leave with so many memories and moments that have changed me forever. Certainly, the tragedy of Sandy Hook impacted us all. Meeting those who lost a loved one and discussing school safety with parents, townspeople and, of course, our teachers was difficult but remarkable. The long emotional night we debated the death penalty opened my eyes and my heart to human experiences of so many of my colleagues. Listening to the heart wrenching stories of parents who are terrified about the futures of their adult special needs children was a rude awakening for me and others about an ever-growing problem that our state has been slow to really address. I learned that you can understand a states' priorities by looking at where it chooses to spend its resources and the importance of ensuring that those resources are well spent.

I finish serving you all knowing that I tried my best, worked hard every day and always put the people of Durham and Madison first in everything I did. I wish Representative-Elect John Michael Parker the best and know he will serve us all well. Best of luck to him as he takes over. Again, thank you all for allowing me to represent you, I have loved almost every minute of it.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy new year. 

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