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Blumenthal: Partisan Politics Taking Toll on Economy

The U.S. Senator told members of the Southington Chamber of Commerce Tuesday that the economy has begun to take a turn for the better – but partisan politics must be stopped to accelerate the recovery.

Credit: Jason Vallee.
Credit: Jason Vallee.

When walking around Connecticut and talking with residents and business owners, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said the one topic he hears about the most is the need to find solutions to economic recovery and job creation.

The nation is heading in the right direction – with Connecticut lagging just a little behind – Blumenthal said Thursday, but for the success to continue and economic recovery to accelerate, the nation must hold politicians accountable and end partisan disputes.

“I’ll tell you what we should not be doing in Washington and that is, number one sequester and number two is the partisan acrimony, fighting, contention and gridlock,” Blumenthal said. “For me, it has been the most frustrating part of my job.”

Blumenthal spoke before business owners from around the community at Hawk’s Landing Country Club on Tuesday morning during the Southington Chamber of Commerce Celebrity Breakfast. For the second straight event, the chamber invited Connecticut’s top politicians for a question and answer session regarding the state of the economy.

In recent months, the economy nationwide has stabilized with national unemployment dropping to about 7.5 percent, Blumenthal said, but Connecticut is lagging behind and more needs to be done to accelerate the process including lowering energy costs, improving educational opportunities in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and finally by eliminating partisan politics.

For companies already in business, Charlie Cocuzza said the biggest concern remains to be energy costs and said little seems to be going on to help curb such costs.

“For my business and many others, one of the biggest costs of operations is energy,” said Cocuzza, owner of Omega Communications Inc. “Costs spiked years ago for electricity, and gasoline is settling in at the mid $3 range and everybody (in Washington) seems to accept it. What is being done?”

Blumenthal said the simple answer, at least right now, is very little.

He said federal legislators need to work together in an effort to develop a comprehensive energy plan that more closely monitors and regulates prices, as well as looking for more long-term sustainability from alternative energy.

Current plans, including the implementation of solar and wind power, help provide some relief but will not meet the nation’s needs.

In order for this to happen, as well as other solutions, residents including Councilman Louis Martocchio said something needs to be done to break down partisan walls and find solutions that cross party lines and help move the country back in the right direction.

Blumenthal said the best way to begin breaking down the issue is to eliminate filibusters and let a majority vote stand on both the Senate and U.S. House of Representative levels for the country to find success.

“Some of these rules and attitudes currently in place need to be changed and the best way is for people like you to turn to Washington and send a message that you will hold them accountable,” Blumenthal said.

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