The final day: East Lyme, Niantic, Waterford, New London, and Groton — a scenic route to end the 100 mile week. Here’s the full recap:
I kicked off the fifth and final day of the walk with some familiar faces: my wife, Cathy and our youngest son, Rider. After much negotiation, Rider agreed to come as long as he only had to walk only for 10 minutes.
Cathy and Rider took off, but I wasn’t alone for long. I ran into all sorts of people in Niantic. I chatted about how the President’s immigration policies are hurting private schools, the effect of the minimum wage on local business, and how good the fishing is this summer on the Sound!
In Waterford, I stopped outside the wonderful When Pigs Fly Cafe. Interrupting people’s pleasant outdoor summer brunch is just part of the job description on my walk across Connecticut.
In New London, I popped into Meatballs. The chicken, bacon, and ranch pizza was fabulous. Nabil, the owner, just expanded his small restaurant chain to Connecticut. Come by and support him!
I then stopped and chatted with a group of guys who were concerned by the overcrowding at the city’s homeless shelter and the importance of building a second chance society.
Down the road, I met Freddie. I asked him if he’s lived here his whole life. His answer: “Nah. Just the last 70 years.” Social Security is Freddie’s lifeblood. Talk of cutting it scares him to death.
Close to noon, I put out the Spotify playlist no one asked for but everyone needed: Walk Across Connecticut 2019. These songs keep me going during early mornings and on lonely roads.
I finally reached Groton — the last town on the walk. During the last mile, I saw Cecily and her parents waiting for me on the side of the road cheering me on. What a nice surprise!
I got to the beach and dozens of friends, supporters, and local officials were already there to greet me. I said hello to everyone and took a moment to share one of my biggest takeaways from the walk: the top issues affecting people rarely change from year to year.
Sometimes there’s a temptation as an elected official to chase the headlines. To care about what’s on TV that week. And while immigration was definitely something I heard about a lot this year, and rightfully so, most of what I heard about was consistent: wages, taxes, retirement, schools, safety. It’s a reminder to stay focused on the issues that impact people every single day.
Every year this walk inspires me to work harder for this state and the people l love, and I hope it shows people how grateful I am for this job.
Hanging up my sneakers until next year!