Day 2 took me through Woodbury, Middlebury, Waterbury, Naugatuck, Prospect, Cheshire and Wallingford. Here’s a full recap:
I started in Woodbury at 7:00 AM — gotta take advantage of those long summer days when you’re only 15 miles into a 100 mile walk.
The first person I ran into in Naugatuck was a woman named Giselle. She works at a home for people with disabilities and makes $15/hour. That’s about 2/3 of her monthly take home income. These are the people that are working hard, playing by the rules, and still aren’t getting ahead.
A few miles later, I met Ricky, a driver for Guida’s. What did he want to talk about? North Korea. He asked what I thought about Trump’s recent meeting with Kim Jong Un. “I don’t know, just looked like a photo op to me,” he said.
At noon, I stopped at Spill the Beans in Prospect to have lunch with the summer interns from my office in Hartford. For many, this internship is their first brush with public service, and I was eager to learn more about their time in the office and their future plans. After lunch, as has become tradition with all my interns, I gave each of them a copy of one of my favorite political books: What it Takes by Richard Ben Cramer. As 2020 heats up, this profile of the 1988 race is a great read.
As I left Spill the Beans, I ran into Mayor Bob, who’s serving his 44th year as Mayor of Prospect. He was busy responding to a reported gas leak (that’s right, he’s also a volunteer firefighter), but he caught up with me later on my route to brief me on town needs.
After a morning full of stops, I needed to get some miles in. So, I put the headphones in and got serious. About 22 miles into today’s segment of the walk, I had two primary thoughts: 1) my legs really really hurt and 2) Connecticut is a very pedestrian unfriendly state (the roadside shoulders I walk on are 17 centimeters wide).
6:00 PM. Town Hall time. We put this event together last minute, so I was really glad to see a packed room at Cheshire Public Library. I took questions for an hour on everything from Social Security to college affordability to the Census. But the topic that kept coming up was, no surprise here, health care — especially Trump’s upcoming lawsuit to totally invalidate the ACA. People are scared.
I was tired, but after we wrapped up questions, I stayed a bit longer to talk one-on-one. These people aren’t just my constituents, many are my neighbors. And while this job can be tough and progress can sometimes feel slow, it’s always worth fighting for your neighbors.