Greenwich's newest member of the state legislative delegation, Stephen Walko (R-150), was sworn in at the state capitol on Jan. 9. Following the ceremony, he witnessed his first state of the state address by Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Here are Walko's thoughts and impressions of the opening day of the 2013-15 legislative session.
"First, I am deeply humbled by the entire experience. Sitting in the Chamber reminded me of all the people that came before me to shape the laws of the State of Connecticut. Just thinking of the people who sat at the desk I now occupy within the Chamber is awesome. Yesterday reminded me of my predecessor, Lile Gibbons and all that she has done for Greenwich, my family for all of their love and the voters of the 150th who put their trust in me. It is a responsibility that I think of everyday and take seriously.
"The State of the State address began with great emotion. The tragedy at Newtown clearly weighs on the Governor and his commitment to change the manner in which Connecticut addresses gun violence and mental health is without question. Finding practical solutions to prevent such a tragedy in the future will be an essential aspect of this legislative session.
"Transitioning from the Newtown shooting to the other issues facing our State was no easy task but the Governor did a good job in doing so. While the Governor acknowledged the major issues such as job growth, education achievement gap, and energy costs, the details of solutions will be the difference between success and failure. For instance, while there is universal agreement that Connecticut must do a better job at fostering job creation, there are major differences of opinion as to how we achieve our goals. Prior decisions have been made to offer forgivable loans to individual companies as a manner in which to attract and/or retain those companies. This type of action does little to address the fact that Connecticut has been rated near the bottom in business environment. We must create a business friendly environment through the creation of new laws or the elimination of old laws to attract businesses to our State. We need to create the reputation that the Connecticut government has its doors open to businesses and it will not unduly burden businesses.
"I am excited to begin the session; to work with Democrats and Republicans and solve the many problems that face our great State; to assist the residents of the 150th District in their interaction with the government; and to be thoughtful and deliberate in making decisions. I remain optimistic that the Governor and the leaders of the Legislature will work with all Representatives to address the issues that are important to all of us."