Murphy discusses local, national issues on bus in Meriden

By:  Bryan Lipiner
Meriden Record Journal

MERIDEN — U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy took to a CT Transit bus this week to discuss local and national issues with city commuters.

Murphy has been speaking with bus commuters since taking office in the U.S. Senate in January 2013.

“I try to do it as much as I can; it’s my version of a town hall (meeting),” he said.

Murphy hears recurring issues when riding the bus, namely the cost of education, as well as the lack of “good jobs” and “quality schools.”

“Young people don’t need a lot of help, but they need more than what they’re getting in order to afford college today,” Murphy said. “Everybody knows they need an education in order to survive.”

“There are thousands of people here in Meriden who aren’t making as much as they need in order to pay their bills,” Murphy said. “It’s the same issues you hear about over and over again, because the struggles haven’t changed.”

Selicia Lewin, of Meriden, discussed local issues with Murphy, such as city bus schedules. Currently, buses run from mornings until early evenings.

“It doesn’t run late enough for people that have full time jobs,” she said. “The stores around here don’t even close ‘til about 10. It’s really hard for people who don’t have vehicles to get around.”

Lewin held a job at the Westfield Meriden mall, but said she was forced to leave due to a lack of night bus transportation.

Emmanuel Wiafe was traveling to New Britain from his job in Meriden. He spoke with Murphy about family life and the high cost of a college education.

“I’ve never seen this before, never had this experience,” Wiafe said of talking with Murphy on the bus. “(It gave) me the chance, the opportunity to let my voice be heard.”

Murphy believes that speaking with local residents in a public place is one way to gain their trust.
“People are always genuinely surprised to see me at a bus stop or see me on a bus,” Murphy said. “Part of my hope is that, if I do this enough and surprise enough people, folks might have a little bit more faith in their government.”