When I was 12, I was crushed across the hips by a heavy steel-reinforced concrete sewer pipe. My ileum was snapped like a potato chip on either side of my spine. My arms were saved only because I raised them at the last second in surprise and fear. It sounds awful, and it was a lot of pain, over two months in the hospital, and nearly a year before I could walk or run normally again.
Right after the accident, my doctor told my mom that I had a 50/50 chance of ever walking or running normally again if I were placed in a body cast. The other option was agreeing to remain motionless for two months, which is what I tried. And it worked for the most part.
Back in 1970, there wasn’t much on TV for a bored eleven year-old to watch. So when I wasn’t doing my school work, I watched a lot of Sesame Street, The Galloping Gourmet, and the news. Slim pickings, so an unexpected benefit was having really long spells to just lay there and think about life, and how I had ended up in the hospital.
The first responder was a heroic policeman from my hometown of Newington, CT. He was flummoxed by the situation: how to remove the long, heavy pipe squeezing me against another stack of sewer pipes, so he radioed for a tow truck operator. Between the two of them, they used the truck winch and a big piece of wood to pry the pipe off enough for ambulance attendants (third on the scene, about 20 minutes later). With the help of about five adults, I was rescued. The 4.5 mile ride to Hartford Hospital was on a bumpy state road, and I passed out from the pain.
While I lay there in bed, I wondered: how did my life get saved and how could I recover? It occurred to me that without government and tax dollars there would have been no enterprising policeman, or police car. No police radio for communication. No roads for the cop, the tow truck man, or the ambulance. No ambulance, no attendants, and no hospital. No middle school teachers who took turns driving to the hospital weekly to keep me up to speed on my studies. No doctors or nurses or orderlies to treat me and help me get better. No water, sewer, or electricity to keep the hospital running. No rehab folks to teach me to walk again. So from a young age I had an appreciation for the wonderful things that wise use of tax dollars can accomplish.
So although I’ve spend most of my life in the private sector, I’ve always had a government role in the back of my mind. I wanted to give back to the society that had saved me. I waited until my children were older before I ran for a state office, and at 54 I’m one of the older “freshman” legislators. My first term I’ve served on the House Committee on Finance, and on all five subcommittees. I’m the only regular member who does so. I see my role as your fiscal watchdog. I humbly ask for your vote and your support so I can continue to learn, and continue to grow as a legislator and as a guardian of your tax dollars.