Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

October 16, 2019

Sen. Kushner Receives 2019 ‘Game Changer Award’ From National Organization for Her Work on Paid Family Leave

WASHINGTON, D.C. – State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury), who led the fight this year for the creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Connecticut as well as an increase in the state’s minimum wage, was honored this evening in Washington, D.C. as a “2019 Game Changer” for her role in creating new public policies in Connecticut that benefit working women and men and their families.

Sen. Kushner and her House Co-Chair on the Labor and Public Employees Committee, state Representative Robyn Porter (D- New Haven), were honored by Family Values @ Work, a national network of broad coalitions working in 27 states for legislative public policies such as paid sick days and family leave insurance.

The 2019 Game Changer awards are made in five categories; Sen. Kushner and Rep. Porter were recognized this evening as “Policy Champions” for their outstanding leadership in the successful fight for a new paid family leave program in Connecticut which begins on January 1, 2022.

“All of us at Family Values @ Work have been impressed with your unyielding commitment to a comprehensive paid leave fund in Connecticut. We so appreciate you for making sure the program values all care and all families and remains under public administration,” said Ellen Bravo and Wendy Chun-Hoon, Co-Directors, Family Values @ Work. “Thank you both for making a difference for so many people in Connecticut and inspiring our movement nationwide.”

Sen. Kushner has long been an advocate for work-family issues; in 2018 she ran for election to the state Senate on a platform of paid family and medical leave and has continued to fight for access to paid leave as well as affordable healthcare, a woman’s right to choose, pay equity, and public education.

“A lot of strong, progressive legislation has started in the states, often with Connecticut leading the way, and then gained national prominence and momentum to make it the law of the land. I applaud Congressmember Rosa De Lauro in her efforts to pass Paid Family Leave at the federal level. I think paid family and medical leave is one of those issues that would benefit America as a whole, and we already have some momentum, because eight states – including five in the Northeast – and the District of Columbia now have paid FML laws on their books. That’s about a third of the population in America covered by paid family leave,” Sen. Kushner said. “The bottom line is people want this program. I campaigned door-to-door in 2018 on this issue, and the response was overwhelming from everyone. People elected me to get this done, and now we have the opportunity to make an impact nation-wide. At the most critical moments in the lives of families – taking care of a seriously ill loved one or bonding with a new child – we want families to be there for each other, not worrying about paying the bills or losing one’s job. When my dad was dying in Nebraska, I was there with him; I didn’t have to worry – my job was held and I got my pay. But that’s not the case for the vast majority of workers in America. There’s something very wrong about that in a country where we value families so much.”