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Expanding Bridges Milford
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of Bridges Milford, an important community organization that has helped thousands of families in our area.
Bridges is a place where people who suffer from a mental health illness or addiction problems can get help and find hope. It is a true lifeline for families and serves a vital need in the community. For these reasons, I led efforts among the Milford delegation to secure state funding for a project to expand Bridges’ facilities to accommodate the growing demand for services.
In January, the state Bond Commission approved $600,000 for the Bridges project, which is great news. With additional funding from Milford Bank, Bridges is hoping to raise enough funds to complete the project.
The new building is named in honor of former Bridges board president Moses M. Malkin, a longtime advocate for people who struggle with mental health and addiction issues and one of the founders of Milford Mental Health. His widow, Hannah Malkin, donated $100,000 to the expansion project.
In 2011, Bridges served more than 7,000 mostly low-income clients through its prevention, mental health and addiction recovery programs.
Fighting to End Lead Poisoning
Last month, I spoke at an important educational forum in Hartford and highlighted some fantastic news: We have saved nearly 1,000 children in Connecticut from lead poisoning over the past decade.
That means 1,000 fewer kids suffering from kidney and brain damage and lead-related developmental disabilities and behavioral problems. The number of new cases of lead poisoning in children is dramatically down, thanks to efforts to increase awareness and more intensive intervention and lead remediation programs.
This is one of those instances when government works, when lawmakers rise above their political differences and rally around an important cause. And what is more important than protecting the lives of young children, so that they can grow up happy and healthy and ready to succeed?
At that forum, I joined my colleagues in the House and Senate as well as health advocates from around the state in calling for renewed focus in the battle against childhood lead poisoning. We celebrated strides made toward the goal of preventing lead contamination in children, but also acknowledged that the fight is far from over.
I will not stop until every child in the state is safe from the dangers of lead poisoning. I am so grateful that residents and health advocates around the state have rallied around this cause and worked tirelessly to implement these life-saving policies.
Improving the Economy
New statistics from the state Department of Labor show unemployment in Connecticut has dropped to a three-year low, and that a total of 10,500 new jobs were added in January, February and March of this year.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate is now down to 7.7 percent as of March, lower than the national average of 8.3 percent. That’s great news for our state, but we still have a long way to go in lowering that rate even more.
New jobs legislation that we passed last fall is already starting to put people back to work all over the state. One of the programs that came out of that legislation, the Small Business Express, is helping local manufacturers expand and grow jobs.
Recently, I welcomed news that Nature’s First, Inc. in Orange was one of the many new companies that will receive Small Business Express grants this year. Nature’s First, Inc. manufactures the food products it sells in health food stores and supermarkets including Whole Foods, Stop and Shop and other major regional chains. The company will retain four and create two new jobs as ownership leverages an investment of $370,000 with a Job Creation Incentive Loan of $100,000, and a Matching Grant of $100,000.
This grant award sends a message that Connecticut supports small businesses and is focused on growing jobs.