Crisco says farewell to constituents
Editor’s note: Longtime Democratic state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco Jr., D-17, of Woodbridge, was defeated in the November election by Republican George Logan. The district includes Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge.
I would like to thank my constituents for the privilege of serving as your state senator for the past 24 years.
As I write this, the start of the 2017 legislative session is just one week away. But for the first time, I will not be there.
I was first elected to the state Senate in 1992, a Wilbur Cross High School and UConn grad who spent most of my life commuting back and forth from the Valley to my day job as director of government affairs for the United Technology Corp.
There are all kinds of ways to serve your fellow man: for a long time I took a lot of pride in my athletic accomplishments on the football field at Wilbur Cross and UConn. Teamwork and dedication, win or lose, were the hallmarks of my youth, and they instilled in me in spirit of effort and compromise, of commitment and acceptance.
There really is no better place to spend your time than in the General Assembly. I really consider it my second home. The staff and the other legislators become your second family; you rely on them for advice, and for comfort, for support, and you come to trust their judgment. You have to, because there are so many important issues that we deal with.
I had been in the legislature just six years when I struck on the idea of creating a “Family Day” in Connecticut to celebrate what I think is the most important teacher of individual responsibility and morality.
As the father of six and the grandfather of 18, I honestly believe that.
I was happy to launch the Connecticut Hall of Fame in 2006 to recognize all the famous and productive people who have called Connecticut their home. Katharine Hepburn, Mark Twain and Igor Sikorsky were the first three inductees.
Along the way I kept the annual 17th District Senior fair going on at Warsaw Park in Ansonia. I was happy to sponsor the annual Young Women in Technology Expo to help introduce 7th-grade girls to the types of careers you might find at UTC or any of the other high-tech companies now located throughout Connecticut. There were state grants, too, for the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center and the Sterling Opera House in Derby, for athletic fields and libraries, animal shelters and affordable housing and recreational trails. I worked with area legislators to help keep the Troop I Barracks in Bethany.
I used my position as chairman of the Insurance Committee to fight for better patient care, especially when it came to women’s breast cancer.
I was so happy to be introduced to Dr. Nancy Cappello, because we had a years-long partnership working to improve health insurance coverage for women’s breast exams, which led to the legislature’s passage of the “dense breast tissue” and breast MRI bills, which have undoubtedly saved many lives here in Connecticut, throughout the nation and the world.
This has become even more of a personal issue for me now that my wife is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
My concern for the health and welfare of Connecticut’s residents is also reflected in my creation of the Biomedical Research Fund, which has awarded millions of dollars over the years to Connecticut-based researchers doing work in heart disease, cancer, smoking-related illnesses, Alzheimer’s, stroke and diabetes.
Just two months ago I was at Griffin Hospital in Derby to celebrate $1.3 million to be used for research at Griffin’s Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center.
Everything I’ve done in my life has been in that spirit of teamwork and dedication, win or lose, showing effort and commitment whether it be in a practice or the big game. I’m so happy to have fought and won for you, and to have had your support and your trust for so many years.
It is my sincerest hope that the work I have done will live on for years to come, doing good, and that you and your families have a wonderful new year, this year and for the future to come.