HARTFORD — State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus has joined a bipartisan panel of lawmakers who work together to improve Connecticut's economy through support of the state's manufacturing industry.
Zupkus, a member of the legislature's Commerce Committee, has joined the Manufacturing Caucus. She kicked off her work with the bipartisan group by participating in a presentation and roundtable discussion led by the state's Department of Economic and Community Development as well as the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology and the New Haven Manufacturers Association. Representatives from dozens of manufacturing firms participated.
“There was a time when manufacturing was the undisputed backbone of our local and state economies as well as our job market, but the combined impact of growing operating costs, an increasingly sour regulatory environment, and overseas competition has weakened this critical piece of Connecticut's economic landscape,” Zupkus said. "I'm proud to be a part of a group that strives to change that trend. We need an environment where manufacturers can thrive, and that starts by ensuring that government works alongside these job creators--not against them."
The state's manufacturing industry, Zupkus said, offers skilled jobs with good salaries--a point that should be attractive in a state where the unemployment rate has been higher than both national and regional averages. Lack of opportunity sees many young people leave the state.
The legislature's Manufacturing Caucus was formed less than a year ago. Some of its early initiatives include: developing strategies to reduce energy costs; enhanced training for incumbent manufacturing employees; encouraging innovation by helping startups with access research; and increasing and expanding apprenticeship opportunities in key manufacturing occupations.
State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus represents the 89th General Assembly District covering Bethany, Prospect and parts of Cheshire. She is a member of the legislature's committees on Commerce, Public Safety and Human Services.