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Lawmaker Honored for Protecting Children's Interests in Recession

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May 26, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan is being honored as "Legislator of the Year" by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. The group's executive director, Ann Pratt, calls Donovan instrumental in protecting funding for a wide range of programs that benefit children and families, in what has been a very tough budget year.

"Speaker Donovan was selected because he created a first-in-the-country Children in the Recession task force, which focused specifically on the devastating effects of recession on children."

The task force submitted legislation to streamline access to important programs for children, adds Pratt, as well as making it easier for working parents to attend college, and to coordinate some state services. The bills were passed by the General Assembly and are awaiting action by Gov. Jodi Rell.

Donovan says his focus during the session has been on preventing cuts.

"I think the big thing was the budget. There were a lot of proposed cuts to children, particularly."

Eliminating the Commission on Children had been proposed, as well as closing the family resource centers in schools and reducing funding for day care centers and the HUSKY health insurance program. Ultimately, however, state lawmakers voted to protect those programs.

In addition to Donovan, 56 other legislators are being honored at today's Children's Champions event at the State Capitol, for their commitments to improving early childhood programs. Four state representatives have been singled out for special recognition: Catherine Abercrombie (D-83rd, Meriden); Beth Bye (D-19th, West Hartford); Karen Jarmoc (D-59th, Enfield); and Diana Urban (D-43rd, North Stonington).

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT