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New State Representative Keeping Busy in Hartford

Christopher Kipp

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On November 8th, New Milford elected  William “Billy” Buckbee to the seat of the 67th District in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

Although it is Buckbee’s first term, he is no stranger to the town. A fourth-generation citizen of New Milford, William Buckbee graduated from New Milford High School and has served as a youth sports coach, director of the town’s Harrybrooke Park, Justice of the Peace, and has held positions on New Milford’s Sewer Commission and Homeless Shelter Coalition.

Now at the state capital, Buckbee serves on the legislature’s Children’s, Commerce, and Internship Committees. Recently he gained attention by introducing his first bill, which would require the state to extend commuter rail service to New Milford from where it currently ends in Danbury. New Milford ended passenger service in the 1970s, and the railway station, built in the 1800s, currently houses the town’s Chamber of Commerce. The extension was included in Governor Dannel Malloy’s 30-year transportation plan, but high costs have cast uncertainty on the proposal.

Representative Buckbee and New Milford Mayor David Gronbach both point out that the project would boost downtown businesses, alleviate traffic on Route 7, and link the town to New York City, attracting more homebuyers. The cost is estimated to be $450 million, which Buckbee hopes will come from the state’s commuter rail fund.

While this is obviously the most well known of Buckbee’s bills, the new representative has  also proposed bills that would have district schools buy local produce, remove the $30 fee for having “Veteran” printed on identification, and provide a tax break for hospitals that offer extra services to opioid abusers, introduced because of the town’s heroin dilemma.

Thus far Mr. Buckbee says he has been most surprised by the amount of cooperation he has seen in his brief time in Hartford, even across party lines believe it or not.  

Buckbee’s term will last two years before he will be up for midterm elections in 2018.

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New State Representative Keeping Busy in Hartford