Contact: Lawrence Cook
June 4, 2013
State Senators Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) and Gary LeBeau (D-East Windsor) this evening celebrated the unanimous and bipartisan Senate passage of a bill that includes three ethnic heritage celebration provisions that they have both long advocated for: an officially recognized French-Canadian Day and an Italian-American and Irish-American months in Connecticut.
Among other things, House Bill 6671 requires the governor to proclaim March as Irish-American Month, October as Italian-American Month, and June 24 as French Canadian-American Day, and that ‘suitable exercises’ be held in the State Capitol and elsewhere to celebrate Connecticut’s diverse ethnic heritage.
Sen. LeBeau—himself of French-Canadian heritage—has been seeking such a day since 2006. There are approximately 105,000 Connecticut residents of French-Canadian heritage in Connecticut, comprising the fifth-largest ethnic group in the state, and many of the original settlers helped power Connecticut’s mighty industrial revolution.
“It’s absolutely fitting and proper that Connecticut take one day out of the year to recognize the contributions that French-Canadians have made to our state,” Sen. LeBeau said. “So much of our history, our culture, our success as a society here in Connecticut is due to the hard work and sacrifice of immigrants like the French-Canadians. One day to look back and pay homage to these people and their lasting influence here in Connecticut would be fun and informative for everyone.”
Sen. Cassano, who is of Portuguese and Italian descent, has been seeking Irish-American and Italian-American months in Connecticut since he was first elected to the Senate in 2010.
“The contributions of Irish and Italian immigrants to Connecticut are, literally, immeasurable,” Sen. Cassano said. “When you look back in Connecticut history at some of our best-known politicians and religious leaders and soldiers and entertainers and athletes, it is chock-full of Irish and Italian surnames. And, of course, they comprised a huge part of our labor force as Connecticut was earning its reputation as an industrial powerhouse. There’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more in these two months about our state’s ethnic history.”
The bill, which had previously passed the House of Representatives, now heads to Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s desk for his consideration and possible signature into law.
Member: Legislative Management
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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