— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) participated in the ribbon cutting of the newly renovated and expanded New London VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) to better serve veterans’ health care needs in Southeastern Connecticut.
“A moving rededication in New London of the John J. McGuirk VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, providing vets with expanded space & services for health care—much needed & well deserved. Vets merit world class quality medicine close to their homes—as this facility should afford.”
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced $120,000 in federal funding for the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven to provide local police with the latest hands-on training for investigating hate crimes and shootings. With the federal grant, the Institute will offer trainings and workshops to Connecticut police departments and investigators on prevention of community conflict and hate crimes, crisis management, crime scene security and preservation, forensic lab capabilities, and other urgent priorities.
“I’m proud to support CT police & law enforcement with state of the art forensic science training & skills through a $120,000 federal grant to UNH’s @LeeForensicInst. Policing is a profession, deserving advanced know how,” tweeted Blumenthal.
“Forensic science—collecting, preserving & analyzing complex evidence—is critical to effective prosecution & public safety. I fought for this significant grant to provide such expertise, after listening to police & knowing its importance from my own law enforcement experience.”
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited Youth Continuum in New Haven to announce $500,000 in federal funding for the organization to strengthen supportive services for vulnerable youth. The federal grant will provide funding to create much-needed services for homeless youth, young people who are victims of domestic human trafficking, and youth with serious mental health and substance abuse issues. The funds will be used to complete construction on a services center for homeless youth and upgrade existing facilities. Once the construction is complete, Youth Continuum will be able to provide job trainings and paid work experiences for young people at the facilities and build community partnerships, helping reduce youth homelessness and improve social outcomes for this vulnerable population.
“Excited to announce $500,000 in federal funding for New Haven’s Youth Continuum & their work to support vulnerable youth. This vital grant will change countless lives—addressing homelessness, trafficking, substance abuse, mental health, & other challenges,” said Blumenthal.
“This funding is just the first step. Construction on a new services center will be a game changer, offering job trainings & paid work experiences. By building community partnerships, Youth Continuum is changing the trajectory of these young people’s lives.”
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT) visited the Butter Brook Hill Apartments in New Milford to announce $1.7 million in federal funding to upgrade the affordable senior housing complex and improve accessibility and mobility for residents. Home to upwards of 115 residents who are 62 years or older or disabled, the five building complex offers subsidized and affordable one and two bedroom units. By widening walkways, installing remote operating door openers, renovating bathrooms, and expanding parking spaces, the federal grant will make the Butter Brook Hill Apartments compliant with standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Very exciting & important improvements at Butter Brook Hill Apartments in New Milford with $1.7 million in federal grants that we fought for. Visiting with Congresswoman Hayes, I saw the clear need for renovations to make the 102 units more accessible for seniors living there,” said Blumenthal.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited the West Haven VA Medical Center to announce significant building improvement projects at the Newington and West Haven campuses. Amongst the items to be built are a renovated clinical tower, significant expansion of primary care treatment areas, operating room upgrades, additional parking, amongst other critically needed renovations. Blumenthal and veterans groups have fought for these improvements to both facilities. The deadly steam pipe explosion on November 13, 2020, that killed two men highlighted the need to renovate these hospitals.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) visited Norwalk to announce $15 million in federal funding to rebuild the East Avenue Bridge, the Osborne Avenue Bridge, and the Fort Point Street Bridge. The federal grant will provide funding to the Connecticut Department of Transportation to fully demolish and replace three essential commuter bridges in Norwalk as part of the Walk Bridge Program. The 116-year-old East Avenue Bridge, the 127-year-old Osborne Avenue Bridge, and the 80-year-old Fort Point Street Bridge carry four railroad tracks and are all listed as in need of replacement. The funding will allow for construction of replacement bridges, improvements to and accessibility upgrades at station platforms, parking lot reconstruction, and pedestrian flow improvements.
“Replacing the Walk Bridge & 3 others in Norwalk is vital to rail travel on the entire Northeast Corridor—which is why we fought so hard for $15M to help get it done. Bridges built in the 1890’s cannot provide the safety & speed, reliability & resilience, that riders deserve,” said Blumenthal.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt, U.S. Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Jahana Hayes (D-CT), and CT Department of Agriculture Commissioner Brian Hurlburt to announce that Connecticut is the second state to sign the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the agreement, Connecticut will be able to purchase food from local farmers for food banks, schools and organizations that reach underserved communities. This $400 million program is funded through the American Rescue plan and will maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency.
“Thrilled that Connecticut Foodshare is teaming up with USDA’s Local Food Purchase Program to combat food insecurity. This innovative program will create new markets for local farmers & more opportunities for people in need,” said Blumenthal.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) attended a ceremony marking the final phase of construction on the Bridgeport East End Grocery store.
“Exciting to see the final phase of construction begin on the Honey Locust Square development in Bridgeport’s East End & sign one of the building support beams. This new grocery story & retail plaza will help drive economic growth & expand local shopping options,” said Blumenthal.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined New London Mayor Michael Passero in visiting the newly reopened Lighthouse Inn. Reopening after five years of restoration work, the historic Lighthouse Inn is a Colonial Revival hotel and restaurant. This year, the Inn will mark its 120th anniversary.
“Restored to brilliant luster, New London’s Lighthouse Inn is an iconic gem, about to reopen thanks to commitment & caring work by owner Alwyn Christy. I was excited to visit with Mayor Passero, whose enthusiastic support along with the city’s has made a big difference,” said Blumenthal.
“The last time I met Alwyn was at a naturalization ceremony a few years ago, when I congratulated him on becoming an American citizen. In the years since, it’s been incredible to watch him succeed & see how much he has contributed to our state.”
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT) visited Glen Apartments in Danbury to announce $50,000 in federal funding for the New American Dream Foundation to provide more low income seniors in Danbury with hot meals. The federal grant will provide funding for the New American Dream Foundation to expand its hot meal program for seniors. The Foundation currently provides 90 percent of all Danbury seniors living in affordable housing with hot meals, meeting the needs of those who do not qualify for Meals on Wheels. The funding will purchase the meals and help with administrative costs, including managing volunteers and dietary needs, and more.
“Having a hot meal can transform someone’s day. I truly admire the New American Dream Foundation for their incredible work providing housebound seniors with fantastic food. Congresswoman Hayes & I are privileged to announce $50,000 in federal funding to support this critical program,” said Blumenthal.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited Homes for the Brave Annex in Bridgeport to announce $25,000 in federal funding to Homes for the Brave. This funding was secured through the 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited Atticus Bookstore Café and Market in New Haven. Atticus was recently named as the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Family-Owned Small Business of the Year. Owned by Charlie J. Negaro, Atticus currently has two locations. The Chapel Street Bookstore Café location features a café with breakfast foods and beverages, and the recently-opened East Rock Market location has a market and bakery.
“New Haven’s Atticus Café is a star of community spirit & job creation. Named Family-Owned Small Business of the Year by SBA Connecticut, its East Rock & Chapel Street locations are a great stop for a book & a bite to eat.”
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited MarkZero Prototypes in Watertown, a small engineering and manufacturing company working on nationally-recognized innovative solutions to increase drinking water supply. MarkZero Prototypes was among four finalists in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s recent Waves to Water national competition aimed at accelerating advancement in small, modular, wave energy-powered desalination systems to turn ocean water into drinking water using the natural energy in the ocean. As climate change and natural disasters threaten clean water supply, particularly for water-scarce, remote, or island communities, innovative drinking water systems are critical in supporting recovery and ensuring communities have access to clean drinking water. MarkZero Prototypes won in the competition’s Simplest Deployment Category, and scored second in Simplest Assembly category, winning $58,000.
“MarkZero Prototypes in Watertown—a rapidly growing, innovative small business—is conducting groundbreaking work, using natural energy of the ocean to produce clean, safe drinking water. Prize winners in a national competition, they’re making CT proud.”
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined Waterford Public Library Director Christine Johnson and Waterford First Selectman Rob Brule on a visit to the Waterford Public Library to highlight new library programming made possible with federal National Endowment for the Humanities funding. Distributed by the American Library Association (ALA), the Waterford Public Library was one of just 25 communities nationwide to receive this funding. The Waterford Public Library received $1,000 and 50 books related to the Women’s Suffrage movement, as well as digital trainings to support library staff.
“Waterford's library has warm, welcoming, hardworking staff spearheading new exhibits on women’s suffrage & key historic decisions. I was excited to visit with First Selectman Rob Brule & announce more federal grant support. A magnificent community resource!” said Blumenthal.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined state officials and environmental advocates outside East Hartford Town Hall overlooking the Hockanum River to highlight the $10 billion available to address PFAS and other toxic forever chemicals under the recently enacted bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These funds could help address the impacts of PFAS along the Hockanum River.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Environmental and Energy Protection (DEEP) earlier this month issued a consumption advisory for fish caught along the Hockanum River below the Shenipsit Lake Dam in Vernon to the Connecticut River in East Hartford. Long-term exposure to PFAS has been associated with several significant health issues, including cancer, development defects, and high blood pressure.
— On Earth Day, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined Bridgeport Mayor Ganim at St. Mary’s by the Sea at the Ash Creek Sand Bar to highlight the sand spit restoration efforts and call for federal funding for similar projects which protect the environment, create new wildlife habitats, and generate new economic opportunities.
Blumenthal also joined Groton Mayor Juan Melendez, Jr., Town Manager John Burt, Parks and Recreation Manager Mark Berry, and The Nature Conservancy Director of Science Adam Whelchel in announcing a $725,000 federal grant for Groton’s Esker Point Beach and Palmer Grove to strengthen coastal resiliency and reduce pollution in Long Island Sound.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined state and local elected leaders, organized labor members, family and friends of the victims, and community members to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the collapse of L’Ambiance Plaza in Bridgeport. On April 23, 1987, 28 workers were killed at the site of the L’Ambiance development in one of the worst workplace disasters in Connecticut’s history.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) made two stops in Thompson, Connecticut to highlight federal investments in Northeast Connecticut.
Blumenthal joined Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT), and CT Department of Agriculture Commissioner Brian Hurlburt at a celebration of Fort Hill Farms becoming the 400th farm in Connecticut to join the Farmland Preservation Program. Fort Hill is a major local attraction, overseeing 200 milking cows and operating an ice-cream stand and annual corn maze for the public. The farm recently began operating an aerobic digester which produces renewable energy by processing manure and food waste into biofuel to be converted into electricity. Funding for the digester was made possible by a 2018 USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant which Blumenthal, Courtney, and other members of the Congressional Delegation fought for.
“Fort Hill Farms is a Northeast Connecticut institution combining strong family work ethic, decades of farming tradition, and forward-facing technology,” said Blumenthal. “I’m proud to have fought for federal funding allowing the farm to operate an innovative aerobic digester used to produce renewable energy, providing an additional revenue source and an eco-friendly means of disposing waste. With the help of the Farmland Preservation Program, Fort Hill will continue to serve the community for years to come.”
Blumenthal also joined U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT), Thompson First Selectwoman Amy St. Onge, and Eric Pederen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to celebrate the reopening of the new 85-foot steel-truss pedestrian bridge at the Blain Road crossing of the Quinebaug River. While the dilapidated former 54-foot bridge was removed in 2012 due to safety concerns, the new bridge will improve access to over 14 miles of trails on both sides of West Thompson Lake and miles of other connecting trails in Thompson. The reopening of the bridge was made possible in part by funding through the Water Resources Development Act secured by Blumenthal, Courtney, and other members of the Congressional Delegation.
LEGISLATION, LETTERS, & STATEMENTS
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) reacted to President Biden’s announcement that the U.S. has pledged an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine.
“Military support announced today is a positive step—it needs to be followed by more—to give Ukraine a fair fight against Putin’s barbaric war machine. As I’ve urged repeatedly, much more must be provided in air defense, planes, missiles, & the like.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ed Markey (D-MA) sent a letter urging U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to ensure that investments in local transportation from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) make travel accessible for older adults and people with disabilities. The senators urged Secretary Buttigieg to ensure all new start construction projects are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—the landmark civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life—and the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs conducted by federal agencies or receiving federal funding.
“As DOT prepares to distribute $1 trillion to communities to make our infrastructure more efficient, greener and safer, we can also ensure that facilities and transportation systems are built and renovated to serve everyone, including the 61 million Americans with disabilities. The significant investments in IIJA present an ideal opportunity to make our transit systems, which have historically excluded older adults and people with disabilities, compliant with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act,” wrote the Senators.
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) joined 16 of their colleagues in a letter urging Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, formerly Facebook, to increase platform moderation of Spanish-language disinformation on the war in Ukraine from Russian-owned media outlets.
Russian-owned media outlets are increasingly publishing significantly more content referencing Ukraine in Spanish compared to many other leading Spanish language news sites. As a result, posts are spreading rapidly in the United States and across Latin America, causing many to believe Russia’s lies.
“Since the beginning of the year, Russian state-controlled outlets have made a concentrated effort to target Spanish-speaking communities to spread false-narratives leading up to, and in the aftermath of, the invasion of Ukraine,” wrote the group of lawmakers to Zuckerberg. “The viral spread of these narratives stands in stark contrast to assurances that Meta made to the public and Members of Congress that it is prioritizing the pressing needs of Hispanic communities in the United States.”