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John McKenna

Feb 20, 2023

State Sen. Stephen Harding Jr. addresses the crowd at Patty's Restaurant. State Sen. Harding and state Rep. Karen Reddington-Hughes were holding their first joint meeting with constituents who came from all over Northwest Connecticut to participate.

Patty’s Restaurant in Litchfield on Saturday hosted a coffee and conversation opportunity with state Sen. Stephen Harding Jr., R-Brookfield, and state Rep. Karen Reddington-Hughes, R-Woodbury.

Both were elected to their posts in November. Harding represents the 30th District’s 14 municipalities and Reddington-Hughes the 66th District towns of Litchfield, Warren, Morris, Bethlehem and Woodbury.

The legislators were holding their first joint meeting with constituents, who came from all over Northwest Connecticut to participate in the forum. Among the local officials in attendance were Morris First Selectman Thomas Weik and Litchfield Hills Probate District Judge Jordan Richards of Northfield.

Discussion in the hour-long session touched on the state’s new early voting process, money needed for removal of ash trees, the potential of a bear hunting season, the state’s improving fiscal health, rising electric rates, the willpower of the state Republican Party in a state dominated by Democrats, funding for social services, the state’s school meals program, and the environment.

Early voting, the legislators said, will give more people a chance to vote but has to be planned appropriately so as not to burden small towns with the cost of running 10 14-hour election days before the designated Election Day. Both expressed support for at least a limited hunt to control the bear population. The state’s fiscal health is improving, Harding said, because legislative Republicans were involved in instituting spending controls six years when the Senate was balanced between Democrats and Republicans.

Constituents cited escalating electric costs as one of the biggest issues they face. The problem, Harding said, is the Eversource Energy and United Illuminating are monopolies that control the energy market.

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