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In the acrid political climate in which we now live, there’s perhaps no more valuable quality in a candidate than the ability to reach across the aisle. With a proven track record of building consensus, State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-12) embodies that quality—and he’s just getting started.
As an environmental educator, I’ve been impressed with the breadth of the bills coming out of the Environment Committee, which Ted has chaired since his election in 2015. There’s real responsiveness and initiative demonstrated there, and proof that “invest” and “protect” are not mutually exclusive. From launching the nation’s most far-reaching pollinator protection law to supporting our farms with state-of-origin labeling and farm-to-school food purchasing incentives, from charting a path to the elimination of single-use plastic bags in Connecticut to finding creative ways to fund our understaffed state parks, Ted has demonstrated his willingness and ability to tackle underdog environmental issues while growing our economy. That alone is a balancing act that many decry as impossible.
But the real story of his short tenure is his astounding record of success in bringing his colleagues together. In just two years, every one of the 38 bills that came out of the Environment Committee came out with either overwhelming or unanimous support of both parties. He’s resurrecting the critically endangered concept of teamwork in government.
Anyone can blame economic woes on a party, and many lose sight of what truly makes our lives better in their efforts to appear more fiscally responsible. Connecticut’s issues are big-picture issues, and require someone with the heart, humor, and holistic view to bring people to the table to do what’s right, regardless of party doctrine or bottom line. Ted Kennedy is all that—and hard-working, to boot. We need to keep him in the State Legislature.
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