Keep it Local Summit

August 19, 2017
Sheraton Hartford, Rocky Hill
8AM to 6PM


Sheraton Hartford

Take a stand for local government


Across Connecticut, things happen every day because dedicated people – most of them volunteers – make it possible. They’re striving – and often succeeding – to be responsive and accountable to the people they represent.

Yet where’s the love for local government?

At some point or another, we all want our voices heard and that’s more likely to happen at town hall than in the state Capitol.

Successful local government is made up of regular people who know they don’t have all the answers. If they thought they did, they might stop listening. Many local leaders have found themselves in difficult fiscal situations, but instead of timidly kicking the can down the road they humbly recognize problems. And they change.

Local government happens at the grocery store when a mom complains to a school board member about the new third-grade textbook. It happens at the parks and libraries where our kids play. It’s the roads we drive on, the first responders who keep us safe and the sewers where we….Well, you get the idea.

Running local government in Connecticut is hard – and getting harder. State officials continuously add requirements while cutting resources.

Most city and town governments are in far better fiscal condition than the state. State policymakers would do well to follow the local lead and reform pensions, for example. Yet state lawmakers, facing billions in deficits with ponderous indecision, find time to preach about the inefficiency and irresponsibility of local government.

At the Yankee Institute, we’re all for more efficient government – at all levels. Local officials should share services when it makes sense and many already do. But we asked ourselves, who is celebrating local government?

It’s time that the people of Connecticut took a minute to celebrate local government. It’s not always pretty, we don’t always like how it works and sometimes we even love to hate it, but local government is a feature of our system, not a flaw.

If you’d rather keep your city or town instead of trading it for some “region” cooked up in Hartford, you’re not alone. Next time you hear someone bad-mouthing local government. Remind them, it could be worse. It could be the state making those decisions. Celebrate local government and tell them to KEEP IT LOCAL.

Sign the Keep it Local petition

Attend the Summit


The highlight of our KEEP IT LOCAL campaign is a summit on Aug. 19 to celebrate and connect local leaders.

If you are a current local official, a candidate for local office, the member of a taxpayer group or an active local citizen, we hope you’ll join us. The full-day event offers skills training for candidates, discussions of local issues, and updates on relevant state policies. We’ll talk about the whole range of local government from general government to education to land use. Throughout the day you’ll get to pick the topics most relevant to you.

Our keynote speaker at lunch is former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who successfully reformed pensions in the 10th largest U.S. city. “Protecting local services – and taxpayers – through pension reform”

Early bird registration until July 31 is $75. During August, tickets cost $100.

About the Speaker

Former San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed


Charles “Chuck” Reed is the former two-term mayor of San Jose, California whose fiscal policies and government reforms led to him winning a remarkable 77 percent of the vote for his second term in 2010. Born to a working-class family in Kansas, Reed drove bulldozers and tractor-trailer trucks as a young man before entering the United States Air Force Academy during the Vietnam War. Following his service, Reed graduated from both Princeton University and Stamford Law School and became an attorney in San Jose. Reed served on the San Jose city council for two decades before being elected mayor in 2006.

Special thanks to our event partners.

Event Sponsor: Atlas Network

Sponsors: Retirement Security Initiative

Partners: Leadership Institute


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