One foot in front of the other, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy kicks off a weeklong walking journey from the north end of Connecticut to the south.

“Today, I'll walk somewhere between 15 and 18 miles,” Sen. Murphy (D) said.

It’s not a journey to log steps, but to connect with constituents.

“Every single day I’ll talk to dozens if not 100 or so people, and by the end of the week I have a really good sense of what the state cares about,” Sen. Murphy said.

This is the eight year the U.S. senator has done his “Walk Across Connecticut,” stepping off Monday morning in Suffield.

Typically donning sneakers and a baseball cap, he strikes up casual conversations along the way.

“You know mostly it’s me walking up and introducing myself to somebody who’s out mowing their lawn,” Sen. Murphy said.

That’s exactly what happened in Maureen Ross Gemme’s front yard in Windsor Locks.

“This guy, very well dressed, comes walking up, introduces himself as Chris Murphy, and says he’s walking the state!” Ross Gemme said. “Yeah. I really enjoyed that. I liked it very much.”

Constituents surprised by Murphy in Windsor Locks this Memorial Day appreciate his desire to connect.

“Very, very emotional,” Vincent Cianfarani Jr., owner of Vinnie’s Little Acre, said after the senator’s visit.

With each step of this roughly 80-mile trek, the senator hopes to lend an ear and bring dozens of personal stories with him from Connecticut to Washington.

“We talked a little bit about taxes in the state and in the area,” Ross Gemme said. “It’s hard, because I have a family. My kids are raising their family now, and taxes are just so expensive, and they’re trying to feed their family of four.”

Sen. Murphy is taking in the experiences and struggles just like that for local families and small business owners alike.

“I’d like to have more aid for small businesses, ARPA programs, money distributed,” Cianfarani said. “We’re all struggling, small business is really hurting today with the big giant supermarkets … places like this are almost an extinct species."

The congressman hopes this insight empowers him to push for good things coming down the road.

“Every year the people I meet, you know they reinforced for me the things that I'm working on,” Sen. Murphy said. “Sometimes they allow me to tell personal stories in Washington that helped me elevate these issues that matter so much to people in Connecticut.”F