As we look ahead to a new year and new session, here’s a recap on the November election results and what this means for our grocery community.

The people of the state of Connecticut and the nation have spoken through the electoral process.  New direction and leadership is the clear message sent from voters as demonstrated in the outcomes.

A new president with a populist message winning an upset victory and aligning with a unified Congress & Senate in seldom seen united control by one party of the White House and Congress. The appointment of the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court will secure all 3 branches of government for Republicans.  The temperate use of these advantages will dictate the credibility of their leadership.

Here in Connecticut the General Assembly remains under Democrat majority control but has moved from 87-64 to now 79-72, a four vote difference on issues of major import or debate.  In the State Senate even closer margins as a 21-15 margin moves to an 18 – 18 tie.  Though evenly matched, Democrats will keep control by the thinnest margin aligning with Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman as the presiding officer in the senate to break ties.  The first such vote will be to seat the majority party.  There were many close races in both chambers and in both parties.

Also in the State Senate will be the “de facto significant decision making authority” on major contentious issues of two moderates in the senate Democratic caucus; Senator’s Joan Hartley of Waterbury and Paul Doyle of Newington.  In another interesting twist sole survivor of the tragic Cheshire home invasion won a seat in the House representing his native Plainville, becoming the second medical doctor in the state General Assembly.

The budgeting process will change as will the consideration of new taxes and fees.  So too will the approach to the regulatory burden and support for economic development, job creation and the business community.  Among many issues to be examined in the new paradigm are public private partnerships, infrastructure investments and overhead costs of government as well as efficiency and effectiveness of government at the state and local levels.

Looming large will be the coming release of information on jobs growth, revenue growth and the balance or deficit of the current budget approaching the midpoint of the state fiscal year and the potential bankruptcy of the Capitol City – Hartford and its effect on the fiscal health of governments state and local in Connecticut.

As we move toward the beginning of session on January 4th, the CFA team will be providing more insight on leadership appointments and committee leadership and assignment changes.  In closing, I am thinking of a comment I heard recently while working as an advocate on your behalf with the legislature, “the closer the margins separating the two parties, the better government the people get”.  In other words the need for compromise generates better solutions in the middle versus the demands presented under lopsided control by either party. I’m optimistic this sentiment will prevail in 2017 and that our state’s newly elected legislature will work better on behalf of its citizens and business interests in Connecticut.

– Wayne Pesce, President