Business owners in Colchester really get it. Although they each offer a unique product, from specialty meats to entertainment to clothing and artisans' wares, they all share a commitment to their community and lending a hand to local entrepreneurs.
On Sept. 10, I toured several Colchester businesses, stopping at Quality Consignments, which helps other local resellers by renting them space in the store. And I visited Café on Main, which hires local bands to entertain on weekends. A couple of men at the bar said they were voting for me because of my business experience. And two women in a booth said they were voting for the first time ever -- and that I had their support!
At Noel's Market, a small, family-owned grocer, Jamie Noel told me they make their own sausage and that their Porketta roast is the talk of the town. The store has been in the family for more than 20 years.
At Indigo Lily Co., a home-goods store on the town's Merchants' Row, sells jewelry, greeting cards, hand-knit scarves and books by local artists and authors, I met owner Carissa Brown, who opened her business so she could make a living and not have to send her daughter, Indigo Camie, to day care. Now she shares the store with Indigo and a second daughter, Lily, while her husband, a swim coach, gets his degree in sports and leisure management at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Most items are handmade, many by local artists. "We believe that it doesn't take more than a look at the community around you to find the most unusual gifts and such talent," Carissa told me. "We find it important to keep things handmade and created right here in the U.S.A."
I encouraged Carissa to join my Women for Linda coalition, which includes women of all ages who believe Washington needs more female lawmakers. Connecticut has never been represented by a woman in the U.S. Senate.
As a mother and a grandmother, I know the challenges women face. Right now women across Connecticut and our country are struggling to keep up with the bills and put food on the table. But just as families are cutting back, we see government racking up debt that will fall on the backs of our children and grandchildren.
I want to get to Washington to help stop the runaway spending and the massive debt that follows.