Esty gets help from senior Democrat

Washington — Just because Congress is on a two-week spring break doesn't mean lawmakers aren't busy pressing their agendas.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, held a telephonic town hall Thursday with the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, to press Democratic priorities and bash a GOP budget promoted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

This is the second time a Democratic leader has helped Esty with an event. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the House Minority Whip, helped host a town hall with Esty in Farmington in February.

Constituents called in with concerns about dwindling federal heating assistance, the planned shutdown of control towers at six Connecticut airports and cuts to special education programs.

The Democratic lawmakers assured the callers that Van Hollen's Democratic alternative to Ryan's budget would fix those problems.

"I believe budgets should reflect priorities," Esty said.

Van Hollen, praised Esty, a freshman who was elected to Congress last year, for "hitting th ground running."

But it was not all pleasantries.

One caller, Robert from Goshen, said he was dismayed that Connecticut approved strict new gun laws.

"We're big gun guys," in Goshen, Robert said. "I think it's a knee-jerk reaction (to the Newtown shootings)."

Esty said she was more familiar with pending congressional legislation than Connecticut's new laws.

She also said, "There's a need to do better in this country to make sure every place in America is safe."