Submitted by Livvy Floren
After 20 unforgettable years serving the 149th Connecticut House District, it is time for me to say goodbye to a job I truly love, and colleagues I will dearly miss, but in the words of one of my favorite philosophers, Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
From my early years in local politics as a member of the Representative Town Meeting and the Board of Estimate and Taxation, to my latest roles as Assistant House Republican Leader and Ranking Member of the Bonding Subcommittee, it has been quite a journey. In my two decades in office, I have served with four Governors, five Speakers of the House, three Minority Leaders, four Greenwich First Selectmen, and three Stamford Mayors, and have logged 174,000 miles on the Merritt Parkway. During that same time span, Doug and I celebrated our fifty-third wedding anniversary, the marriage of all four of our children, and the birth of ten grandchildren.
As I look back on my time in Hartford, I am grateful for the friends I have made and for the important work we have done together. For starters, I am pleased with the work we have done to advance women’s issues, especially our bipartisan efforts on reproductive rights and the expansion of healthcare coverage to include essential benefits for women, children, and adolescents. We’ve also come together as a legislature to address sexual assault and harassment, pay inequality, and domestic violence. I was proud to cosponsor these initiatives and to see these bills prevail in the House and Senate.
I also consider our joint conservation efforts to be landmark accomplishments. We have taken many steps to protect our water supply, air quality, forests, and open spaces because we recognized the need and urgency to preserve our natural resources for our children and grandchildren.
Speaking of young people, we have made great strides in advancing educational and professional opportunities by investing in local schools, including Wright Tech and UConn Stamford, and have championed local businesses that hire from within the community. I have always fought to make Connecticut more welcoming and more competitive for employers because when they succeed, our economy succeeds.
And that brings me to my role in the budgeting process, and the important work we’ve done to keep our state’s finances in order. Balancing the state budget is never easy and difficult choices are required, but we must always remember to live within our means and to put real needs before “nice-to-haves.” Over the years, we have kept important state programs and initiatives funded, but we must continue to reevaluate our spending to ensure viability, efficiency, and sustainability in everything we do.
It is also important to remember that Connecticut is an expensive place to live, work, and raise a family, which is why I always fought for tax reform. One of our greatest accomplishments in this area was a Republican initiative to expand the income tax exemption for pension, Social Security, and annuity earnings to more individuals. Our seniors deserve to retire in this state with dignity and financial security, and I hope future legislatures will keep this in mind because at the end of the day, it is their constituents’ tax money, and it should be collected and spent wisely.
It is never easy representing so many individuals with vastly different experiences and ideas, but every speech I delivered and each vote I cast on the House floor was made with my entire constituency in mind. I have always tried my best to represent you equally because you deserve no less.
Greenwich has been my home for nearly fifty years, and it gives me great pleasure knowing I was able to give back to my community, as well as our neighbor, the City of Stamford. I’ve had the privilege of working with remarkable local leaders, both past and present, who have been exemplary role models that work tirelessly on behalf of our residents. I thank them for their friendship and for being outstanding partners in our common goal of bettering Greenwich and Stamford.
I am also thankful for my family’s love, support, and encouragement, especially during those late session nights. Doug, our children, and grandchildren have always been a source of inspiration throughout my career in public service, and now, I look forward to spending more time with them.
To my colleagues in Hartford, I thank them for the wonderful memories. Whether they served on the left or right side of the aisle, they always advocated in the best interest their constituents, and we learned much from one another. I was fortunate to have served with them, and I wish those also retiring the very best as they begin a new chapter in their lives. Their communities were fortunate to have them at their service.
Finally, I would like to thank you, my friends across the 149th District who have placed your trust in me year after year, for the honor of a lifetime. It has been the highlight of my professional life to serve each of you, and I wish our incoming State Representative Kimberly Fiorello, and the entire 2021-2022 General Assembly, all the best in the upcoming session.
If I could provide just one bit of parting advice to the new members, it is this: remember that politics is not about the next election; it is about the next generation. Always govern, always vote, and always act as if our future depends on it.
I have confidence that each of them will do what is right for the state of Connecticut, and all of us that call it home.