Senator Dodd has established a stellar reputation as a tireless leader on a number of critically important national and international issues during his more than three decades in public office. Whether it has been authoring the FMLA, helping to bring peace and respect for human rights to Central America, or shepherding some of the most significant new rules for our nation’s financial institutions since the Great Depression through Senate passage, Senator Dodd has proven time and again that he possesses the tenacity and legislative prowess necessary to effect positive change for the country.
But first and foremost, Senator Dodd has always been Connecticut’s champion in Washington—a stalwart advocate for the interests and needs of the state and its residents. From his time in the House of Representatives serving Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District to the present, Senator Dodd has consistently put Connecticut first, fighting to improve the quality of life in his home state.
Throughout his career in public service, Senator Dodd has worked hard to support Connecticut’s defense industry, a critical asset to our national security and the backbone of the Constitution State’s economy. In 1980, when he was a third-term Congressman and first-time candidate for the Senate, Chris Dodd played an instrumental role in resolving a seven-month long strike at Electric Boat (EB) in Groton that had left thousands of Connecticut residents out of work. Wading right into the middle of the bitter dispute between EB workers and their management, Chris Dodd went to the hotel in Norwich where the two parties were negotiating and worked through the night to help them to reach a compromise.
Since then, Senator Dodd has fought to ensure that Electric Boat continues to lead the world in undersea shipbuilding and design. In 1992, Senator Dodd successfully fought against President George H.W. Bush’s proposal to rescind funding for the Navy’s Seawolf submarine program. More than a decade later, Senator Dodd led the Connecticut Congressional delegation in securing funds to help develop the Virginia Class submarine, which eventually succeeded the Seawolf. And most recently, in 2008, Senator Dodd joined his delegation colleagues in successfully pushing the Navy to commit to a multi-year contract that would, for the first time in nearly two decades, ramp up production of submarines to two per year.
But Senator Dodd has done more than just go to the mat for Electric Boat. First in 1993 and subsequently in 2005, when Submarine Base New London, America’s premier submarine training and home-porting facility, was threatened with closure by the Pentagon’s BRAC process, Senator Dodd successfully led the bipartisan delegation fight to keep the base open, saving more than 31,000 Connecticut jobs. Senator Dodd has also successfully fought repeated attempts by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations over the years to cut funding for F-22 fighters, whose engines are produced by Pratt & Whitney. And Senator Dodd has worked tirelessly to secure funding for the Black Hawk helicopter, which is manufactured by Sikorsky in Stratford, Connecticut.
Today, as you drive through Connecticut, you can see Senator Dodd’s lasting impact on a number of other areas in addition to Connecticut’s defense industry. Senator Dodd has long been a champion of efforts to promote responsible stewardship of Connecticut’s many natural treasures. He has fought tirelessly to preserve the Long Island Sound, one of the nation’s most significant estuaries and a critical source of revenue for the state, for the benefit of future generations. He also led efforts to designate the Eightmile River, one of Connecticut’s most untouched and pristine natural wonders, as a federally-protected Wild and Scenic River; fought to preserve the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley as a National Heritage Corridor; and worked with his colleagues in the Connecticut Congressional delegation to designate Weir Farm as a national historic site.
Senator Dodd has also worked hard to improve the state’s mass transit system, joining his colleagues in the congressional delegation and state government officials to secure critical federal resources for high-speed rail service in Connecticut. Most recently, Senator Dodd helped secure nearly $121 million to rebuild and modernize the New Haven-Springfield rail line that runs through the center of the state, allowing for high-speed, intercity commuter rail service. When completed, the Tri-City Corridor will alleviate congestion on Connecticut’s highways and provide Connecticut residents with a new and more cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable transportation option.
And while Senator Dodd has always been a steadfast supporter of the projects and industries that keep Connecticut’s economy humming, he has never forgotten about the people—the firefighters, nurses, doctors, teachers, and police officers that keep Connecticut strong. That is why Senator Dodd has long been a proud supporter of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which has provided critically important resources to Connecticut police departments to help them hire, train, and better equip their officers. It is also why, in the summer of 2010, he joined his colleagues to help pass legislation that saved tens of thousands of teaching jobs threatened by the recession, including nearly 1,500 in Connecticut alone.
Senator Dodd has also dedicated a substantial portion of his tenure in the Senate to helping support Connecticut’s firefighters. More than a year before the 9/11 attacks, he authored and helped pass the Fire Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act, to give local firefighters the ability to purchase new equipment and initiate education and training programs. Three years later, in 2003, Senator Dodd scored another significant victory for the state’s career and volunteer firefighters with passage of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER Act), which gives local fire departments the ability to alleviate critical shortfalls in professional and volunteer personnel. Since these bills were enacted, hundreds of grants worth millions of dollars have been distributed by the federal government to help Connecticut fire departments strengthen their capabilities.
Over the years, Senator Dodd has been a tireless advocate for Connecticut. He takes his obligation to represent the people of his state, their needs and concerns, very seriously. Through his more than three decades of hard work on Capitol Hill, the state has transformed dramatically for the better. And that will be his most lasting legacy.