State Representative Tim Ackert (R-8th) today came together with his colleagues in the State House of Representatives to formally kick-off the 2013 Legislative Session.
State Rep. Ackert and the rest of the General Assembly spend the majority of the morning in the Hall of Representatives at the State Capitol in Hartford taking the oath of office and listening to the Governor Dannel Malloy deliver the annual 'State of the State' address.
This year, Ackert, who represents the towns of Columbia, Coventry, Tolland and Vernon, was appointed to serve as Ranking Member of the Education Committee, a position that deals with all matters relating to the Department of Education; local and regional boards of education and the substantive law of collective bargaining covering teachers and professional employees.
Rep. Ackert expressed enthusiasm with the position, but was quick to acknowledge that there is a lot of progress to be made, particularly with Connecticut's achievement gap.
"Right now, our state has the largest achievement gap in the nation - and that’s just unacceptable," said Ackert. "The education reform bill passed last year was comprehensive and effective in more ways than one, but we need to make sure we are following up on the new procedures and programs we put in place, and improving them where we can. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to secure a brighter future for our children, and I'm looking forward to getting started."
Rep. Ackert also serves on the Higher Education & Employment Advancement and Human Services Committee.
In addition to the large achievement gap facing Connecticut's schools, the General Assembly will have its hands full dealing with the with an estimated $1 billion budget deficit and a state economy that has yet to show any strong signs of recovery.
Ackert said while the Governor made many fine points in his address today, he disagreed with the amount of fiscal and economic progress the Governor touted in his address.
"The Governors address today included many great points that members on both sides of the aisle can certainly agree with," said Ackert. "However, he also mentioned how far we have come as a state, particularly regarding education and the fiscal state we were in - that is where I disagree with him. I believe we have only scratched the surface to where Connecticut needs to be - both in terms of our finances and our economy. With that being said, it's very important that the decisions we make in the next couple months are responsible, prudent and are decisions that help will promote job creation - rather than deter it."
The 2013 regular legislative session convened today, January 9th, and will adjourn on June 5th.
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