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Photo of Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr..

STATE SENATOR

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Listening to You

Named 2017 Legislative Leader by the Connecticut Farm Bureau

Last week I had the honor of being presented with the 2017 Legislative Leadership Award by the Connecticut Farm Bureau, which represents over 3,400 farmers and other members of Connecticut’s agriculture sector. Farming has been an important part of Connecticut’s economy, history and identity. We need to do everything that we can to preserve and protect local farmers. Land and labor costs are high in Connecticut, and local Connecticut farmers are struggling to compete with larger, industrial-size farms of the Midwest and overseas. There is enormous financial pressure for farmers to sell their land to housing and industrial developers. Since being elected to the state Senate, I have worked hard to modernize our agricultural policies so that our local farmers have the resources to succeed in the modern economy.

Farm

Working collaboratively with the Connecticut Farm Bureau, I have been able to write and pass important new laws that support our farmers, diversify their income stream and attract new entrants into the farm sector. We have fortified the CT Grown initiative, strengthened our farmland preservation efforts, enacted protections for bees and other pollinators, and established farm brewery and distillery pathways to complement our successful farm winery program. Recognizing that less than 5% of all food served in our local school cafeterias is produced in Connecticut, we enacted a preference for food service companies who source local products. Most recently, we simplified the permitting pathway for anaerobic digesters that will allow farmers to become renewable energy producers.

Thank You for Joining Me at Office Hours

I want to thank everyone who took the time to join me at my open office hours this week. I value my open office hours because I get to meet new people, engage in meaningful conversations and learn about the issues that are most important to the residents and businesses of my towns, and these two meetings were no different.

If you were unable to attend but have a question or concern you would like addressed, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Otherwise I hope to hold additional office hours in the near future, and will alert you to them through this newsletter.

office hours

Helping Your Neighbors this Thanksgiving

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. You may recall the history of this national holiday began in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists—who were on the brink of starvation and decimated by disease—were befriended by Native Americans who taught them how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish and avoid poisonous plants. After the Pilgrims’ first successful harvest, a three-day feast was held between the colonists and the Wampanoag Indians. But it wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that a national Thanksgiving Day should be held each November.

Food is a central part of Thanksgiving Day, and is a central part of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Day. But not everyone can afford to enjoy a meal with friends and family during the holidays, or any day. In Connecticut, it is estimated that about one in eight households—12 percent of our population—are ‘food insecure,’ meaning they have a reduced quality, variety, or desirability of food in their diet. Children are affected, too.

Please take a moment to think of your neighbors and of those less fortunate than you. You can visit the Connecticut Food Bank website to find a local food pantry near you that is accepting food or cash donations, or is in need of volunteers.

Connecticut Food Bank.

I was recently recognized by Suzanne Hecht and Debra Epstein, who run the Food 4 Kids program. This program provides weekend emergency meals to help nutritionally challenged families in New Haven and the surrounding communities. If you are interested in information about how you can contribute to the program, contact Mara Ginsberg at 203-389-5599, ext. 119 or email at mginsberg@jfsnh.org

food pantry