Politics Published: Jan 11, 2012 - 1:55 PM

Rep. Kirkley-Bey sets big goals

By CT General Assembly

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Deputy Speaker Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey (D-Hartford) said that she will be spending her last year at the legislature fighting for Connecticut’s most-at-risk children and youth. She announced today that her top priorities in the upcoming legislative session will be securing housing for families living in shelters and fully funding summer youth employment programs.

“No child should have to list a shelter as their home address," said Kirkley-Bey. “One homeless child is one child too many. We are one of the wealthiest states in the country and it’s inexcusable that we have children who have no place to call home”

Kirkley-Bey said she will be pushing for a state program that rapidly moves families out of shelters into permanent housing by offering rental assistance, utility deposits, bill payments, and other services.

“With unemployment among our young people at an all time high we must help kids and young adults find work in this tough economy. Summer jobs programs give these kids a sense of self-worth and help our working families—and they also put money back into our local economy,” said Kirkley-Bey.

The Hartford lawmaker noted that studies have shown that young people and the working poor put a much larger proportion of their earnings back into the economy than others.

Kirkley-Bey, serving her 10th term representing Hartford’s Asylum Hill, Clay-Arsenal and Northend neighborhoods, is the first and only woman of color to serve as Deputy Speaker. Last month she announced that this will be her final year at the legislature. A former welfare recipient and public housing tenant, she has been a strong voice for Connecticut’s working families and the state’s most vulnerable residents in the almost two decades she has served at the Capitol.

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