Horn ready to dive into work as 64th District lawmaker
TORRINGTON — The job of a state legislator is considered a part-time job. But newly elected state Rep. Maria Horn, D-64, plans to make it a full-time commitment.
“I have a family that backs me up,” she said in a recent interview.
Fresh off her first Democratic Caucus meeting, where she learned the committees to which she would be assigned, Horn said “I want to be a work horse, not a show horse.”
In November, Horn won the seat after a recount in the state House District 64 race showed she beat Republican incumbent Brian Ohler of Canaan by 61 votes. The nine towns that comprise the 64th district, Kent, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon and Torrington, had to recount their votes.
A former federal prosecutor, Horn said she asked to be assigned to the Judiciary Committee, which she was.
Her other appointments are vice chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, and as a member of the Environment Committee. Horn was also selected as an assistant majority leader of the state Democratic Caucus.
“Maria’s background in the law and finance will allow her to be an effective voice on Appropriations Committee and Judiciary,” Paul Summer, Torrington Democratic Town
Committee Chairman, said in an email Monday. “Her commitment to environmental causes and preserving the natural beauty of the 64th District will also be an asset to the Environment Committee.”
Horn plans to focus on issues such as: upholding the value of individuals, the resiliency of the environment and the nature of pollution and broadband internet connectivity.
“We can’t do everything with the budget cuts. But we clearly must uphold the values (of community) and take care of the most vulnerable,” Horn said.
In a September candidate’s forum, she noted that she is involved with the McCall Center for Behavioral Health.
“They teach kids how to deal with stress in different ways” she said. “The most cost effective way (against drug abuse) is prevention.”
Her dedication to environmental protection, Horn said, comes in part from living near the Salmon Kill Valley, which she said contains large portions of undeveloped land.
However, the “environment in not intangible,” she noted. “People come for the pristine area, its an economic asset.”
Visitors go “white water rafting, rent canoes and go to restaurants, Horn added.
She noted a meeting this month about invasive species, which are also an environmental and economic concern in Litchfield County.
The lack of broadband internet service, in the Northwest corner also “hurts the economy and is a safety issue,” Horn said. “Young families won’t move here, because they can’t do their work,” without a reliable and fast internet service.
“We barely have service where I live. In some towns it’s so bad there is almost nothing. We can make it more possible with municipal broadband with a price point that is affordable,” she said. “We can bring service to the door and let municipalities choose” how to use it.
Horn was one of 30 new freshmen in the legislature, she said, and “24 are Democrats.”
Her successful bid in her first run for office was so close, the winner wasn’t announced until more than a week after the election.