BRISTOL â€“ Sen. Henri Martin, Rep. Whit Betts and Rep. Cara Pavalock-Dâ€™Amato are bringing back â€śCoffee with your Legislatorsâ€ť starting Friday at Roddâ€™s Restaurant.
â€śCoffee with your Legislatorsâ€ť will once again be held the first Friday of each month from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the restaurant at 854 Farmington Ave. in Bristol. In addition, it will also be held on the third Friday of the month at Eagleâ€™s Nest Restaurant at 163 Main St. in Plymouth. The event offers residents a chance to hear updates from the capitol and to share their concerns with their local legislators.
Martin said he is looking forward to getting back out and talking to residents again on Friday.
"There's no question that the covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on every facet of our lives,â€ť he said. â€śBeyond all of the health dangers and safety concerns and changes in people's work status, we have missed out on over a year's worth of in-person interactions. I am very much looking forward to reestablishing my routine of being able to meet with constituents, hearing their questions and concerns and lending a hand in any way I can from my post as state senator.â€ť
Betts said that residents have â€śreally enjoyedâ€ť this opportunity to speak directly with their legislators in the past. He said that he received several inquiries during the legislative session from residents wondering when this event would return.
â€śItâ€™s a good opportunity for people to ask questions and, if they donâ€™t know the answers, to become informed,â€ť he said. â€śI think people appreciate that we do something like this during a time that woks for them. Republicans consistently reach out to people that we represent so that they can be informed on the positions that we take. We try to communicate with them and represent them the best that we can.â€ť
Betts said that he suspects that a wide range of topics will be discussed Friday, including marijuana legalization, the rights of tenants and landlords, and the covid-19 vaccines.
â€śI feel absolutely terrible for landlords right now,â€ť he said. â€śThey feel absolutely helpless with the courts overbooked and continuing to grant stays of evictions. There are a limited number of people who absolutely abuse their apartments and then move on to the next place. Itâ€™s a very heavy price that the landlords pay and the feel like thereâ€™s nothing they can do.â€ť
Betts said that, come the fall session, he expects that the gas tax issue will resurface. Also, he said he expects that Democrats may seek to create an â€śequity investment fundâ€ť using a portion of revenues from marijuana sales.
â€śMy concern is that this money will be used to pay for pet projects and circumvent the spending cap that we put into place in 2017,â€ť he said.
Cara Pavalock Dâ€™Amato said she looks forward to â€śgetting back in the grooveâ€ť, seeing people again and listening to their thoughts on the legislative session.
â€śItâ€™s been white a while since the last one,â€ť she said.
Topics that Pavalock-Dâ€™Amato said may come up include marijuana, free prisoner phone calls and the increase of minimum wage and how it will affect seniorsâ€™ access to home care.
â€śA new issue that has come up is that home care businesses didnâ€™t get an increase in reimbursements,â€ť she said. â€śWith the increase in minimum wage, a lot of seniors could lose their homecare. Thousands of seniors could be stuck without people coming into their homes.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.