GUEST COMMENTARY: CCARC disappointed by low legislator turnout

Published on Wednesday, 26 February 2020 19:56
Written by Raymond J. Gorman

On Friday, February 21, 2020 CCARC hosted its annual Legislative Breakfast in partnership with a dozen community non-profits, including Community Mental Health Affiliates (CMHA).

The New Britain Herald’s coverage of this important event aptly portrays the abysmal reality Connecticut non-profits face: CCARC hosts Legislative Breakfast with only 3 of 9 lawmakers in attendance.

This year’s Legislative Breakfast had “the smallest number of state official participants ever,” making it symbolic of the inattentiveness and overall disregard that State policymakers have shown non-profits over the past 10 years.

Of the 19 legislators from across the central Connecticut service area that were invited to the discussion, only 9 responded to confirm their attendance. Of the 9 Legislators who RSVP’d, only 3 attended.

Our sincerest thanks to Senator Gennaro Bizzarro, Representative William Petit, and Representative Rick Lopes for attending the breakfast and showing your support for CMHA and other non-profit providers.

Their willingness to engage our clients, family members and Board representatives was greatly appreciated.

To those legislators who were expected and did not show, your absence was both noted and disheartening to the attendees.

The services that CMHA and other non-profits provide are critical to our communities. We serve some of the most vulnerable, at-risk populations across the state, and it is our clients who most desperately need the advocacy and representation that our legislators are supposed to provide.

The issues that providers face, and the wellbeing of our clients, are far too important to go on being ignored.

Connecticut non-profits have done all that they can over the years, perpetually tightening our belts while state funding has remained flat or been reduced. Year after year we are told to do more with less even as ongoing and new public health crises, from Opioids to Teen Vaping, further increase the already high demand for our services.

The unwavering commitment to the communities and people we serve is what has kept Connecticut’s non-profits going, but it cannot sustain us.

Moving forward, we want to engage and work hand-in-hand with our legislators to tackle these critical issues, improve the quality of life for our clients, and ultimately improve our communities.

The first step is showing up.

Raymond J. Gorman is President & CEO of Community Mental Health Affiliates, Inc. (CMHA) which is headquartered at 233 Main Street, New Britain.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Column on Wednesday, 26 February 2020 19:56. Updated: Wednesday, 26 February 2020 19:59.