The lack of jobs was the most
common complaint among those who testified, but State Rep. Frank
Nicastro said the solution was, in part, obvious.
Luis Mercado, one man who
testified, said that a “couple months ago, I lost my job, lost
Mercado sat with his wife and his
four young girls during his testimony.
“We’ve got to stop paying out
large sums of money to corporations who are shipping jobs
overseas,” Nicastro said.
Teens are affected by the lack of
“It’s very hard for teens to find
jobs during this recession. That’s why I’m encouraging teens to
stay in school,” said Taurean Ellison, 19.
Other complaints mentioned often
were a lack of health care, a dearth of housing, and the need
for affordable, quality education.
“Sometimes I felt like no matter
how many hours I work, I still can’t put enough food on the
table,” said Ellison.
Isabelle Palumbo, from
Southington High School, said, “The recession has taken its toll
on children, especially teens.”
Samantha Iacobucci, a youth
council member from Newington summed it up.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat,
speaking at a forum on how youth are coping with the recession. In the
foreground is a member of the congressman's Youth Cabinet, Carson
Collier of Berlin.
Majerus-Collins/Youth Journalism International
“There’s just no jobs,” Iacobucci
Larson hailed the Youth Cabinet’s
role in expanding the chance to hear directly from youngsters.
“I think it’s extraordinary. It’s
the first of its kind in the nation. I’m so proud,” said
Larson. He called the group an “outstanding achievement.”
Larson said the recession could
cause 35,000 Connecticut children to slip into poverty.
Larson said the most important
thing the hearing did was provide “the ability for children to
talk to children.”
Brown echoed the sentiment when
he said “the action taken today will give a voice to the
State Rep. Frank Nicastro of
Bristol, said, “We need to hear the youth of this state pouring
He said that government leaders
need to listen to young people’s concerns “and then move forward
and do what’s best.”
Larson said “this is a great
concept, a great idea. There is much work to be done.”
Speaker of the House Christopher
Donovan said, “I am wary that in our state, we’ll have an
economically stunted generation.”
He talked about how important it
is to address the economic issues that affect children directly,
and criticized the governor’s plan to cut even more funding that
currently goes to needy children.
A retired University of
Connecticut social work professor, Archibald Stuart, said the
budget cuts are dehumanizing children and depriving them of
their basic human rights.
“These cuts in welfare are our
Auschwitz,” Stuart said, comparing budget reductions to the
infamous Nazi death camp.
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