FAIRFIELD, CT—At a town hall meeting this evening, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) launched his Smart Progress for Connecticut initiative. The Congressman held the forum to gather input from constituents on what they think will prepare southwest Connecticut to be a leader in the 21st Century economy.

“Southwest Connecticut can do far better economically but only if we make the smart investments necessary to bring real progress,” said Congressman Himes. “Nothing is more important than making sure Fairfield County comes out of this economic crisis a place where businesses look to invest and generations of our children have access to opportunity.”

Smart Progress for Connecticut concentrates on four key areas that have arisen as critical to Fairfield County’s economic growth: transportation, health care, education, and clean energy. Himes outlined a set of legislative and community development proposals in these areas that will help create jobs in the near-term while investing in important initiatives critical to long-term economic success.

Smart Development and Clean Energy: Energy Efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest energy—families, individuals, and businesses all save if they use less energy. By developing more efficient products and buildings—or incentives to use them—consumers don’t have to change their habits to save money and save energy. The Congressman has introduced legislation to make energy efficient housing more affordable and is working with local groups to ensure weatherization funding makes its way to Connecticut homeowners and renters. Additionally, he is aggressively pursuing grants and appropriations projects that make similar investments in the community.

Transportation: The Smart Progress transportation agenda focuses on long and short-term initiatives that eliminate grid-lock and congestion to ease commutes and ensure an infrastructure that promotes rather than deters economic growth. He is also working with local governments and developers to ensure new housing works with rather than against transportation goals. Short term goals include reducing congestion by making telecommuting more accessible. A longer-term project the Congressman is promoting is the creation of the Cross-harbor freight tunnel under the Hudson River, which would move cargo off local roads.

Education: Smart investments in education turn people into our best resource. From early childhood education to making college affordable and ensuring consumers have the tools to make smart decisions, information is the key to progress. The Congressman has helped make laws that empower consumers to make smart decisions. Earlier this week, he announced his own legislation that will give children the tools to succeed as students and leaders in the future workforce.

Health Care: Investing in the health of Connecticut will improve the quality of life for citizens and lower long-term operating costs for businesses. The Congressman will focus on initiatives that increase access to prevention-based care and make smart investments in research and technology to bring 21st Century progress to health care.

“Preparing Southwest Connecticut to capitalize on the economic opportunities of the future—in the near-term and generations from now—requires smart planning and decisive action,” said Congressman Himes. “I know Fairfield County has the drive and desire to bring smart progress to Connecticut.”