US Senator Joseph Lieberman and Rev. Cornell LewisUS Senator Joseph Lieberman traveled to Hartford’s North End Church of Christ Monday to hear about the Capitol city’s anti-violence and job-training programs and to announce the Senate has earmarked at least $500,000 in federal funding for Hartford’s new Public Safety Complex, in addition to $200,000 for the city’s youth services division. Capitol Workforce Partners’ Tom Phillips said in 15 years the state will see a 13 to 15 percent labor shortage and about 40 percent of the future workforce will be coming from urban areas. “It’s no longer just a social issue, it’s an economic issue,” Phillips said.
Lieberman touted his seniority in the Senate as the reason why Hartford was able to get those funds. He said Mayor Eddie Perez was “a pest” when it came to calling up his Washington DC office to guarantee money for the city. But as pesky as Perez may have been and with Lieberman’s 18 years of seniority, if it had not been for the additional state funds Hartford’s legislative delegation was able to secure then Capitol Workforce Partners would have received less funding this year than last year. The Hartford delegation, led by State Rep. Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey, was able to secure $4 million in state funds to help Capitol Workforce Partners enroll an additional 200 youth into its programs. Phillips said an estimated 1,600 youth in the Greater Hartford region will be employed this summer. State legislators were able to secure $1.3 million of the $4 million grant for the Greater Hartford region. Part of Lieberman’s campaign push in his challenge against Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont has been seniority in the Senate and how it’s a benefit to those in Connecticut. He stayed on message Monday too when he said, “the longer you’re there the easier it is to squeeze the tree, but the tree is getting harder to squeeze as the money is a little less every year.” On several occasions Lamont has disputed that Lieberman’s seniority is a benefit to the state of Connecticut. In the lone debate against Lieberman, Lamont said, “When it comes to bringing home things for the state of Connecticut, we are 49th out of 50 states—49th out of 50. New Jersey is last. I think we can do an awful lot better.”