Across the nation we face the challenge of how to make our communities safe places to live and work. As a Member of Congress, I am dedicated to introducing and supporting legislation that reduces crime and better protects the residents of the First District of Connecticut. From preventing gang violence, to protecting consumers from potentially harmful products, to ensuring that our first responders have the resources they need, I have and will continue to work hard to make our community a safe environment for all.
Following a period of youth violence in the summer of 2006 in Hartford, I became even more determined to make our community a place where youth are supported and violence is not tolerated. In response, I introduced the City Youth Violence Recovery Act, which would focus on providing youth access to mentoring, counseling, and mental health services. The legislation is currently being considered in the House of Representatives as part of the larger Youth PROMISE Act, introduced by Bobby Scott of Virginia. Please know that I continue to work with Hartford community leaders, as well as my colleagues in Congress, to find additional ways to rid our cities and towns of youth violence.
In addition to reducing youth violence, I continue to fight hard to ensure that our seniors are protected and have safe environments in which to live. I am proud to have introduced legislation to provide grants for nursing facilities to make critical improvements to their fire sprinkler systems in order to best protect their patients.
Supporting our police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical responders is one of the most important things Congress does. It is vital that municipalities have the resources to hire, train and equip these first responders as they work to keep our nation and local communities safe, and I have continually worked to support programs that help keep responders in the first district.
I am strongly committed to finding ways to reduce violence in our communities, and I am particularly concerned with youth violence--both its perpetrators and its victims. I am currently working hard in Congress to make sure the cities and towns in our district have access to programs and resources aimed at reducing youth violence and assisting those who have experienced crime firsthand. I have worked hard to write and support legislation that would award grants to partnerships between a state mental health authority and one or more local public or private entities to alleviate the effects of youth violence in urban communities. Partnerships like these should lessen the effects of youth violence by providing violence-prevention education, mentoring, counseling, and mental health services to children and adolescents.
Supporting our First Responders
My father was a firefighter at the Pratt & Whitney facility in East Hartford while I was growing up, and his service is a constant reminder for me of how important our first responders are to our community. As Congress considers legislation dealing with funding for local fire, police and emergency response team please be assured that I will do all in my power to ensure that our dedicated public volunteers receive the funding that they deserve.
In the past, Connecticut has witnessed firsthand the terrible and unacceptable consequences of allowing cost to stand in the way of nursing home fire safety. I have and will continue to work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to improve the safety of our nation's nursing homes by making funds available so that all nursing homes have functioning fire sprinkler systems.
An essential part of safety in our communities is ensuring that the products we use every day are properly regulated and don't cause us unintended harm. By identifying hazardous materials, especially those that pose serious risk to our children, we can prevent accidents from occurring.
Violence Against Women
Domestic violence is an issue with which every community struggles. Since it was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has provided critical funding and services to victims of domestic, child, sexual and other kinds of abuse. In addition to setting up critical grant programs to aid state and local communities, VAWA changed federal law relating to interstate stalking, intrastate domestic abuse, federal sex offense cases, and HIV testing in rape cases. It was reauthorized in 2000 and expanded to help prevent sexual assaults on campuses, provide transitional housing for victims of domestic abuse, and protect elderly and disabled victims of domestic violence. I will continue to fight for funding for programs that help victims of domestic violence and aid in its prevention.