State Senator Julie Kushner, D-24th, was recently honored in Washington, D.C., as a “2019 Game Changer” for her role in creating new public policies in Connecticut that benefit working women and men and their families.

Kushner, who serves the towns of Sherman, New Fairfield, Bethel and Danbury, led the fight this year for the creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Connecticut as well as an increase in the state’s minimum wage.

Kushner and her House co-chair on the Labor and Public Employees Committee, State Representative Robyn Porter, were honored by Family Values @ Work, a national network of broad coalitions working in 27 states for legislative public policies such as paid sick days and family leave insurance.

The 2019 Game Changer awards are made in five categories; Sen. Kushner and Rep. Porter were recognized as “Policy Champions” for their outstanding leadership in the successful fight for a new paid family leave program in Connecticut which begins on Jan. 1, 2022.

“All of us at Family Values @ Work have been impressed with your unyielding commitment to a comprehensive paid leave fund in Connecticut,” said Ellen Bravo and Wendy Chun-Hoon, co-directors of Family Values @ Work.

“We so appreciate you for making sure the program values all care and all families and remains under public administration,” they said to Kushner and Porter. “Thank you both for making a difference for so many people in Connecticut and inspiring our movement nationwide.”

Kushner has long been an advocate for work-family issues; in 2018 she ran for election to the state Senate on a platform of paid family and medical leave and has continued to fight for access to paid leave as well as affordable healthcare, a woman’s right to choose, pay equity, and public education.

“A lot of strong, progressive legislation has started in the states, often with Connecticut leading the way, and then gained national prominence and momentum to make it the law of the land,” said Kushner.

“I applaud Congressmember Rosa DeLauro in her efforts to pass Paid Family Leave at the federal level,” she said. “I think paid family and medical leave is one of those issues that would benefit America as a whole, and we already have some momentum, because eight states - including five in the Northeast - and the District of Columbia now have paid FML laws on their books.”

“That’s about a third of the population in America covered by paid family leave,” Kushner said.