One Community Conversations: Sean Scanlon, CT State Representative

As the State Representative serving Guildford and Branford, Sean Scanlon is guiding people both in need of assistance and those looking to donate. 

Keep reading to learn more, or listen to our full conversation here. 

How’s this changed your day to day in terms of where we were maybe just a week or two ago and where you are today?

Sean Scanlon: The legislature closed down until March 30, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to be closing beyond that. My job has really two main functions. One of them is the legislative part where you go up and you write bills and you debate bills, but the bigger part of my job, and especially the bigger part of my job right now, is more of a community advocate. 

People are calling me and my office daily looking for help with things like signing up for unemployment, or do they have to go to jury duty still, or how can I help them get their father COVID-19 tests at Yale. These are things that I’m spending 99% of my time on now instead of the bills.

As residents of the state of Connecticut, what can we expect in the coming days? 

Sean Scanlon: So the best thing that I would tell everybody to do is follow your state rep or state senator and the governor on social media. 

The governor really is the one who’s leading us through this.  Every day, in his daily press conference, he is delivering a lot of key information. That’s important, because right now he has given himself the state of emergency declaration. He has these emergency powers that basically allow him to do a lot of things unilaterally that he would not be ordinarily able to do, they would have to get passed by us in the legislature.

Every day, he’s announcing different things that impact every single sector of our economy. And if you’re paying attention to what he is doing, then you’re going to have the most up to date information possible.

What are the questions you are getting the most right now?

Sean Scanlon: The single biggest thing that I’m getting called about is people who just got laid off, and don’t know how they’re going to be able to afford to pay mortgage and other bills. That’s a really hard part of all this, because we don’t necessarily have great answers for those people. 

President Trump and the Congress passed a bill yesterday to deliver some paid family leave to individuals who are impacted by this. They are now working on a second supplemental bill that would give a sort of a stimulus check, two different checks to people, one in a couple of weeks and one in May. But that’s a couple of weeks away and so a lot of what I’m doing, and a lot of what people in our community are doing, is simply about trying to get people to survive the next couple of weeks with this. 

How is our community helping assist people right now?

Sean Scanlon: I’ll give you a good example. My wife is the executive director of the Women & Family Life Center in Guilford. And she is now working with the Guilford Foundation to give out immediate cash assistance to people who are in need of that.

Through the generosity of some donors, some private and some anonymous, a fund has been started. Gilbert Savings Bank yesterday gave $20,000 to that, a private individual just gave $50,000 anonymously. So if people are looking to help out that is certainly one way that they can do that. And that money is going directly into the hands of people in our community. People just need help and that’s a really good way to give right now.

That’s great because we actually just spoke to Brian McGlone not long ago and I think his latest number was $10,000. So It sounds like the grassroots fundraising efforts have come a long way.

Sean Scanlon:

We live in a special place. And people here are very generous number one, and number two, they’re very willing to lend out and help somebody out in a tough time. 

If you are the kind of person who’s looking to get involved, you can come to me, you can always ask me for ways to help.  Whether it’s stocking a local food pantry or working to deliver meals on wheels, there are so many people who are reaching out to right now asking where can I help? And I’m happy, along with the town and the state government, to connect folks to those opportunities, as long as they remain safe.

If you are looking for immediate assistance, you can contact the Women & Family Life Center to learn how they can help you. If you would like to donate to this cause, please visit this page