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Voters should re-elect Osten, other incumbents, says tribal leader

In this age of divisive hyperpartisanship, southeastern Connecticut should be proud of its bipartisan legislative delegation. Our delegates are truly a model for the rest of the General Assembly on collaborating effectively and putting the needs of the community first.

Three of our region's state senators serve on the powerful Appropriations Committee responsible for allocating crucial state budget dollars. Sen. Cathy Osten shares leadership of the committee, with Sen. Paul Formica as ranking member and Sen. Heather Somers as a long-time member.  Sen. Norm Needleman serves as co-chairman of the Energy Committee. All four legislators are actively engaged and subject-matter experts on issues of critical importance to the region. Each senator is well informed and well respected and deserves our collective vote come November.

We are equally fortunate to have an impressive group of state house members including: Representatives Carney, Cheeseman, Conley, De La Cruz, Dubitsky, Lanoue, McCarty, Nolan, Riley, Ryan, Smith and, notably, Mike France, who has ably represented the region for many years, and Kate Rotella, my own state representative from the great town of North Stonington.

These dedicated public servants have sacrificed much to be our voice in Hartford. They are passionate advocates for our regional interests, including everything from Electric Boat, Millstone, and tourism to our tribal casinos and mom & pops, among others. They have earned another term in office and we need to turn out in support of their re-election.

On a personal note, I am compelled to single out state Sen. Cathy Osten for honorable mention. Cathy's state Senate district is home to both the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Reservations and she never lets anyone forget it. She is the first to make sure that both casinos are recognized among the state's largest employers and the first to inquire about the wellbeing of each and every one of our employees. She respects tribal sovereignty and takes great pride in the Native American culture that is indigenous to Connecticut.

Sen. Osten is not only a champion for our region, she is also my good friend. It is both an honor and privilege to work alongside her under the Capitol dome. Her tenacity and perseverance are awe-inspiring and she is always willing to work across party lines to bridge the alliances necessary for the benefit southeastern Connecticut.

Please join me in supporting Cathy, and all the aforementioned candidates, this election cycle. We need their experience and resolve to do what needs to be done to see our region through this pandemic and onto a healthy economic recovery with safety paramount in mind.

Rodney Butler is chairman Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

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