Op-ed: I Am Running For State Senator Because Education Is The Economic Engine Of The Future Of Our Communities.

Sahron Beloin-Saavedra
Sharon Beloin-Saavedra
Special to CTLatinoNews.Com
I subscribe to the philosophy of “lose the label” – we as a community are all in this together. A good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from and a bad idea is a bad idea no matter where it comes from.  I am a person who can successfully work in a bipartisan fashion to get things done. During my 11 year tenure on the Board of Education I have enjoyed a good working relationship with Mayors of both political parties.  I believe our State and Country are at a crossroad with political vitriol and myopic views of what both the problems are and what the solutions can be. We need to bring sensibility back into our decision making. This is why I am announcing my candidacy for the Sixth District Senate seat comprising New Britain, Berlin and a part of Farmington.
I am a strong proponent and champion of public education.  I believe education is the greatest economic engine our communities have. I also believe our business community should be integrally involved with secondary school reform ideas – marrying their need for a skilled workforce with high school programming.  Our students need to have choices upon graduation that allows them to be both college and workplace ready. I am proud of the work I have done on the New Britain Board of Education in this area.  New Britain High School has three very successful academies:  Health Academy, Finance Academy and our Satellite Careers Academy. We are in the process of developing additional academies with an interest in creating a minority teacher recruitment pipeline.  The education of our State’s labor force is vital to our economic future.
My public service experiences have provided me a strong foundation to become your State Senator. During my college years, I interned at the State Capitol for Rep. Irene Favreau.  Upon graduation, I went to work as Clerk of the Human Services Committee and was later hired as the Legislative Assistant to Sen. Joe Harper, Chair of the Appropriations Committee.  I served on the New Britain City Council during Mayor DeFronzo’s administration; I served on the Board of Finance and Taxation during Mayor Blogoslawski’s administration; I served on the Commission on Persons’ with Disabilities during Mayor (Tim) Stewart’s administration and I was elected to the Board of Education in 2005 and became President of the Board in 2008 – a position I have held for 8 years.
Some of my proudest accomplishments on the Board of Education are the successful completion of two school building projects (with another one in the pipeline); creation of our high school academies; kindergarten redesign; lowering class size; increased music/art programming; technology expansion throughout the district; quality and quantity of Advanced Placement courses; and cost saving measures through newly negotiated contracts, a transportation audit and conservative hiring practices.
I have been a strong and outspoken voice for equity and equality for public school students and am an active participant with CCJEF (Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding) and CABE (Connecticut Association of Boards of Education).  As your State Senator I would work with other legislators to assess and reduce mandates that often create a strangle hold and undue burden on our local systems. I believe it is critical to seek strong allies and partners with local officials around issues affecting our communities.
I am a life- long resident of New Britain.  Attended all local schools graduated NBHS in 1983 and CCSU in 1987.  I am married to Edgardo Saavedra (21 years) and we have three children Noah, Gabby and Alexandra.  Two of my children are challenged by autism.  Hearing the diagnosis of autism was a life changer. I went from being paralyzed by this diagnosis to becoming an advocate for my children and all children who are faced with various barriers or difficulties to overcome.  My children have been my greatest teachers.  I am blessed and humbled to be their mom.  My daughter, Gabby is a senior at NBHS and will graduate this June – she becomes the fourth generation of the Beloin family to have this honor.
I share this information with you so that you may come to know me a little better.  I am a regular person, your neighbor, your acquaintance, the person you see at the grocery store or in the stands at a football game. I am a cheerleader for every child and for our families and community members who want to live a good quality of life is a safe and stable community with shared responsibility and shared opportunity.