Some of you might have heard that the budget proposal put forth by Connecticut Governor Rell cuts funding to many of the state's treasures. Instead of sitting by idly, I drafted and sent the following letter to the Governor, cc'ing my local representatives. I highly recommend that other CT residents consider doing something similar.
Governor Rell -
When my husband and I moved to Connecticut in 2004, we did so primarily to be close to family. My husband was born and raised in Fairfield and his family had owned property - a farm! in Bridgeport! – locally, going back several generations.
In essence, they determined to settle in Connecticut for many of the same reasons that people still choose to make the Nutmeg State their home today - it is a wonderful environment to raise a family, offering vast and wonderful resources.
At least it did, until your most recent budget proposal.
Your 2010-2011 budget proposal brings many of the fantastic community assets so valued in the state to their knees: from the Mystic Aquarium (that I traveled to as a 5th grader with my class from Long Island) to the Beardsley Zoo. It is these treasures that make our students more well-rounded, providing hands-on experiences they might not otherwise have.
I recognize that tough times often call for drastic measures. I note that in your budget proposal you make many efforts to maintain funding for education programs, for which I commend you. However, I do feel you are short-changing the youth of Connecticut by cutting these programs that provide education beyond the walls of the classroom.
I strongly recommend you reconsider pulling funding for municipal museums (e.g., the Stepping Stones) and related facilities (e.g., the Aquarium and Maritime Center). Without the much-needed support of our state government, many of these facilities will have no option but to close. As was pointed out in a recent New York Times article, you can't simply shut an exhibit at a zoo. The tigers still need to be fed and cared for, the otters will still squawk for fish and our children will still need a venue to interact with the natural environment, despite living in a crowded city, suburb or rural area.
I appreciate that you have a difficult job, but as the Governor of our state and as a parent, and grandparent, I hope you can help keep Connecticut the ideal environment for families that my husband's ancestors chose generations ago.