For Immediate Release: 12/14/2016
Contact: Zachary Janowski
Mobile: (860) 384-5777
Yankee Institute names Newington woman Connecticut’s Unsung Hero
Dec. 14 – A community activist who saved people’s homes from a grabby government agency has received the Yankee Institute for Public Policy’s first-ever Unsung Hero Award, vowing never to stop advocating for the rights of Connecticut’s citizens.
Newington resident Sarah Jorgensen was presented a trophy and a check for $1,000 on Dec. 1 during the Yankee Institute’s Champions of Freedom Gala, held at The Palace Theatre in downtown Stamford. Yankee honored Jorgensen for her efforts to organize a fight against Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal to create a new state agency that could use eminent domain to take property near bus stops or train stations.
The award was presented in partnership with the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation. Helen E. Krieble, founder and president of the Krieble Foundation, is a resident of Old Lyme. Krieble created the national Unsung Hero award.
Out of dozens of Connecticut residents who were nominated by their friends, family members, neighbors and employers for Yankee’s 2016 Unsung Hero Award, Ms. Jorgensen received the top honor.
“The courage and persistence of citizens like Sarah inspire us,” said Carol Platt Liebau, president of the Yankee Institute. “Without seeking recognition, she stepped up to defend people across Connecticut from an over-the-top government power grab.”
The proposed Transit Corridor Development Authority (TCDA) would have been a new quasi-public state agency with the power to borrow money and seize private property through eminent domain. The bill would have expanded eminent domain powers so much that it was described as “eminent domain on steroids.” And the new, unelected – and unaccountable – agency it created would have the power to take any land near an existing or proposed transit stop. That would have included some of the most valuable land in the state near Metro North stations. The overreach was so obvious that Yankee Institute called the bill “Malloy’s Gold Coast land grab.”
Governor Malloy pushed hard for this bill – but Sarah Jorgensen pushed back.
She organized, informed and rallied taxpayers all across Connecticut. And she won. Because of Sarah and the concerned citizens she organized, our state isn’t saddled with another unaccountable government agency and even more unsustainable borrowing. Sarah neutralized a major threat to property rights across Connecticut.
Sarah’s nominator, Theresa Tillett of Windsor, described Sarah as a “powerhouse.” Only a true hero could defeat “eminent domain on steroids”!
Ms. Jorgensen thanked the approximately 200 guests in attendance for their help and dedication in thwarting the eminent domain bill. She shared the accolades, noting that she could not have achieved such success by herself.
As she exited the stage, Ms. Jorgensen vowed to continue her advocacy work. “Whatever they throw at us, we’ll be there fighting,” she said.
Keynote speaker for Yankee’s gala was Hugh Hewitt, talk show host, syndicated columnist, and 2016 presidential primary debate moderator. A special guest that evening was Rebecca Friedrichs, lead plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that went before the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Hartford-based Yankee Institute for Public Policy works to transform Connecticut into a place where everyone is free to succeed.