Legislators play the critical role of representing their constituents’ opinions in the state senate. They also make laws that are necessary to ensure the welfare of the citizens of the state. Many times, the members of the House of Representatives in each state go on to serve for many years. One such representative is Senator Millie Gonzalez representing the 3rd District in Hartford, Connecticut. She has been a member of the house since 1997 and recently in 2017; she was elected as the Deputy Majority Leader. During her long term in office, she has brought and supported many bills before the house that have contributed to the welfare of the residents of the state of Connecticut.
Millie Gonzalez was born in Puerto Rico on the fourth of August, 1950 in the town of Adjuntas. She has seven siblings and lived in the town where she attended Adjuntas High School. After her education, she moved to the United States in 1981 and began working as a Deputy Sherriff in the superior court in West Hartford. She was also an Assistant Registrar of Voters in the same district. She has three children; two boys and a girl, with her husband, Ramon Arroyo.
Millie’s political career began in 1986 in the Hartford Town Committee. She held the position for ten years after which she was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives. She represented the 3rd District of made up of several Hartford neighborhoods including Behind the Rocks, Parkville and Frog Hollow. Between 2003 and 2004, she was the Assistant Majority Leader in the house. In the following year between 2005 and 2006, she held the position of Assistant Majority Whip. She continued her streak with a seven-year position as the Deputy Majority Whip-at-Large from 2007 to 2014. After that she was promoted to Chief Majority Whip for a year and eventually, in 2017, she was made the Deputy Majority Leader of the house. She is also a member of the house committees for Public Safety, Appropriations, Security and Housing.
Throughout her political career, Millie Gonzalez has expressed strong views concerning several areas of life including education, law enforcement, healthcare, the minimum wage among many others. To begin, she wants more technical high schools in the state to improve the levels of skill among workers. In addition to this, she has proposed free community colleges in Connecticut which have many advantages. These include easing the financial burden of college tuition as well as the reduction of student debts. Free college would also allow more people to attend college as they work or bring up a family. Free education would be a huge benefit to the residents of the state of Connecticut.
For many years, Millie Gonzalez has expressed her support for reforms in family court. In connection to this, she sponsored a piece of legislation proposing that the best form of parenting for children whose parents are divorced is hare parenting. The only exception should be in cases of child neglect or abuse by a parent. Another bill she sponsored in connection with family court reforms proposes that parental alienation should be defined as a form of child abuse and to recommend children with their alienated parents. Also under Millie’s belt is the 2014 law that sought to limit the use of costly guardian ad litem’s. Following this, in 2019, she sponsored a bill mandating that the ad litems are only employed when deemed necessary in extreme cases approved by the Department of Children and Families. To further add credence to her position on family court, she and fellow hose members prevented the reconfirmation of Judge Jane Emons in 2018. Judge Emons is a controversial family court, and she failed to be reconfirmed although the committee passed a positive vote. To increase public awareness on family court, she organized a public hearing in 2019 on the subject o parental alienation as well as necessary reforms in family court.
On the matter of healthcare, she objected to the cutting of Medicaid for single people. Governor Dennel Malloy brought the proposition. Gonzalez argued that it would be improper to fix the state budget by disadvantaging and discriminating against poor people. In 2015, Gonzalez partnered with fellow representative Jason Rojas to sponsor a bill on housing. The bill stipulated that three-quarters of all affordable housing projects should be built in affluent neighborhoods. The main reason for the proposal was to reverse the trend of constructing low-income housing subsidized by the federal government in the most impoverished areas. The bill was a radical one that would have been transformative and visionary. It garnered a lot of o interest throughout the country, with an article on the proposal appearing on the New York Times. Despite this, the bill never received a vote, and it died.
On the matter of law enforcement, Millie Gonzalez is a strong supporter of body cameras on police to ensure objective evidence on police activities. Body cameras have gained widespread popularity for many reasons. In the same area o law enforcement, she achieved a considerable measure of success in ensuring that family court judge Jane Emons was not reconfirmed to her position. The minimum wage is another area in which Gonzalez expressed her support for an increment. In a bill sponsored by the representative in 2019, it was proposed that the minimum wage be increased until it got to $15. This began with an increase of 90 cents to $11 in 2019, then annual increments of $1 until 2023 when the wage will be $15.
Legalization of marijuana has been the center of debates all over the country, and Millie Gonzalez has not been left behind. In 2019, she sponsored a piece of legislation proposing that the sale and taxation of marijuana be made legal for adults over the age of 21. The proceeds from the taxations would be used to combat some of the effects of opioid use in the state of Connecticut including addiction, depression and other mental and physical illnesses. It is clear that the fight against drugs has failed miserably and the legalization of drugs for adults is one argument that has gained popularity. It is meant to ensure that the profits made by black market trade in drugs are made legal so that the government can collect revenues. Legalization will also ensure a reduction in crimes and convictions related to sale and use of drugs, resources which would have been diverted to more useful areas.
It is evident that the state legislature deals with important issues concerning their constituents’ welfare including housing, health, minimum wage, law enforcement, and education. The House of Representatives in Connecticut has done an excellent job in fulfilling its mandate. Some of the challenges the house faces include budget gaps that prevent efficient delivery of services to the people, the rising costs of healthcare and reform, high cost of education, the challenge of clean energy alternatives and unemployment. The underlying issue in all these problems is inadequate money to meet the state budgets which has led to rising taxes in an attempt to cover the deficits. The bills sponsored by representatives including Millie Gonzalez will be instrumental towards addressing the challenges faced by the state of Connecticut.
Caulkins, Jonathan P., Beau Kilmer, and Mark AR Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know®. Oxford University Press, 2016.
Page, Lindsay C., and Judith Scott-Clayton. “Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses.” Economics of Education Review 51 (2016): 4-22.
State Representative MINNIE GONZALEZ, Deputy Majority Leader – Proudly Serving Hartford. Connecticut House Democrat. http://www.housedems.ct.gov/Gonzalez/BiographyTompkins, Al. “Top Nine Issues Facing State Legislatures” Poynter. 11 Jan 2009. https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2009/top-nine-issues-facing-state-legislatures/