There’s much talk and desire for bipartisanship, but few real examples.
Fortunately, a notable display happened March 27 when Democratic and Republican leaders gathered at a Capitol press conference to support bioscience and call for legislation to spur the sector’s growth.
This coalescing of General Assembly leadership was well timed—Connecticut has invested heavily in the life sciences and biopharma as a foundation for jobs and economic growth.
Sen. Joan Hartley, (D-Waterbury), co-chair of the legislature's Commerce Committee, emphasized that “Connecticut has the opportunity to become a global leader in bioscience and precision medicine.”
She said these two areas will grow “in the next one to three years, and Connecticut is well-positioned to be the place where much of that growth happens, creating new jobs and providing the shot in the arm our economy needs."
“This isn’t about one political party, one university, or one business," she said. "This is something that will benefit us all, and we all need to work together to make that happen.”
Citing three bioscience bills that received overwhelming bipartisan support, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) noted that Connecticut “is locked in a global competition to create good-paying jobs and support high-growth industries."
“Our talented, hardworking, and highly educated work force is second to none," he said.
"Connecticut possesses all of the ingredients to capitalize on the exponential growth that is set to occur in precision medicine and biomedical research.
"These bipartisan proposals will help set Connecticut on a course for tremendous growth.”
SB 959 provides for evaluating and strengthening Connecticut’s workforce pipeline to better meet the needs of the bioscience and precision medicine sectors.
It aims to ensure that Connecticut’s state colleges and universities prepare students for jobs in these sectors, including researchers and clinicians, data scientists, health informaticians, and genomic counselors.
SB 962 establishes clear metrics to measure the effectiveness of state funds being used to support bioscience and precision medicine.
As this industry grows, the legislation aids state economic development officials in assessing how best to target financial support to maximize job growth and economic impact.
SB 968 continues the work of the successful Connecticut Health Data Collaborative, a network of public and private partners with diverse and complementary backgrounds.
This is something that will benefit us all, and we all need to work together to make that happen.
Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano (R-North Haven) sees a commonsense approach to the bills.
“We have an incredible workforce in our state and Connecticut should always be looking at new ways to support those workers and to grow new job opportunities," he said.
“Proposals to bring to light more information and oversight are certainly ideas that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can come together on, show unity and work to further explore ways to support industry growth."
Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) praised the work of the Connecticut Health Data Collaborative.
“This group has proven to be critical in the advancement of our bioscience sector across the state and we need to continue encouraging that kind of cooperation between stakeholders,” Looney said.
“The Yale Center for Genomic Analysis, The Jackson Laboratory, Mount Sinai Genetic Testing Laboratory, the University of Connecticut, our hospitals, and insurance companies are pieces of a gathering critical mass of bioscience and precision medicine organizations throughout Connecticut that will have strong and positive reverberations across the state.
“Establishing Connecticut as a hub for bioscience research and development will continue to attract and increase a skilled international and national bioscience workforce.”