Strong Relationships – the Key to Success


By State Representative Aimee Berger-Girvalo.

If you’d asked me, when I was first elected to serve in 2020, how I planned to get anything done as a new, unknown representative in a chamber with 150 others, each trying to get their own priorities passed, I’d have optimistically told you I’d just need to be persistent. That instinct certainly wasn’t off-base, but I learned early on that you can be as persistent as you like – if you don’t have strong relationships with your colleagues, you might as well sit it out.

As a freshman legislator I was told that I probably wouldn’t pass any bills for a few years. Six months later, my first proposal, a law requiring gyms to install defibrillators, passed with bipartisan support and co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle that I’d personally recruited.

The next year, I was told my first bill had been a fluke, and I shouldn’t get used to passing something every year, especially in short sessions. Sure enough, my proposal, the largest tax credit in the country for families who experience a stillbirth, passed with even more co-sponsors from the other side of the aisle than the previous one.  And this year, as I stepped up as acting chair of the Transportation Committee, I led two comprehensive bills to bi-partisan passage in the House, in reportedly record debate time.

Maybe it’s the work I’m willing to put in with my colleagues on their bills, maybe it’s the time I spend hanging out on the other side of the chamber answering questions before my bills are called for debate, or maybe it’s just the trust I’ve built by being honest, direct, and open. Whatever the reason, I am so grateful for these relationships and the opportunity they afford me to pass meaningful bills that help Ridgefield and Connecticut.

This Letter to the Editor appeared in The Ridgefield Press’s online edition on July 1, 2024.

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