Biden visits Hartford to discuss ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, UConn for the dedication of the Dodd Center

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — President Joe Biden visited Connecticut on Friday to discuss his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda and visit UConn for the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights.

His first spot was at the Capitol Child Development Center in Hartford. Connecticut has been investing in early childhood education for 30 years and leaders say the school readiness program has created economic and educational success.

Barbara Jo Warner, the executive director of CCDC told President Biden “If we want parents to get back to work, we must solve the childcare crisis.”

President Biden discusses his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda in Hartford. Watch the full remarks below:

The facility was closed during the pandemic, It has a capacity for 70 children, but only 22 are enrolled.

Department of Early Childhood Education Commissioner Beth Bye says the pandemic hit the industry hard.

“We are in danger of losing 50,000 spaces, but these federal interventions helped stop that,” Bye said.

Warner admits the American Rescue Plan dollars were critical, but more is needed. She says they can’t charge more for tuition and can’t raise wages, which makes recruiting workers difficult.

The average family in Connecticut pays $16,000 a year for childcare. The Biden Administration wants to subsidize the cost, capping it at 7 percent of a family’s yearly income and free pre-school for qualifying centers like CCDC. The president is also offering a $4,000 tax credit for each child for families earning $125,000 a year.

“They understand that when families have more breathing room, American has a lot better shot,” President Biden said.

President Biden’s second stop in Connecticut was at UConn in Storrs for the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights.

News 8 was told all of this came together in less than one week. Former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd said the President gave notice to UConn and the Dodd family that he could make a stop here on campus just last Sunday.

The Dodd Center is named not only for Chris Dodd, who served Connecticut for 30 years in the Senate but also named for his father, Thomas Dodd, a U.S. Senator from Connecticut from 1959 to 1971.

The center houses the papers of both Dodds, with the highlight being the documents from the Nuremberg Trials, which Thomas Dodd led to investigate the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes.

The center also contains papers about the end of Dodd’s father’s Senate career, which ended in censure and a loss to Lowell Weicker.

President Biden delivers remarks at the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights at UConn:

President Biden and Chris Dodd were former colleagues in the U.S. Senate and they remain good friends. In his speech, Biden spoke to Chris’ efforts to continue his father’s legacy.

“I saw up close how he fought for human rights and human dignity in the Senate… the work the senator is doing to bring human rights to the forefront, public understanding, is making a real and immediate impact for all young people today,” President Biden said.

“I’m really glad that the president is coming up here to Connecticut talking about infrastructure, especially with our old roads and bridges and trains. I love the fact that he’s celebrating daycare and childcare and what it means for those kids. We’re having a hard time getting people back to work. Daycare is a big piece of getting people back to work,” said Governor Ned Lamont.

The Republican National Committee Spokesperson Rachel Lee released a statement saying, “As Joe Biden grandstands in Connecticut, choosing a city where crime is surging, the families and workers of the Constitution State want real results over the job-crushing environment Democrats have created. With Republican momentum on the rise, Biden parachuting in with spiraling approval numbers is no favor to Jahana Hayes or Democrats hoping to keep their seats next November.”

This marked the president’s second visit to Connecticut since he was sworn in in January. He spoke at the U.S. Coast Guard’s commencement ceremony in New London back in May.

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