New Britain Herald: Constituents thank MurphyMay 08 2012
For the original article, please visit the New Britain Herald.
NEW BRITAIN — U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy said Monday the work his office does for people doesn’t always make headlines, though it does make a difference.
“We want people to know we’re here to help,” said the Democratic Congressman. “They don’t even have to be Republicans.”
Case in point.
Recently, Casa Dijanna Ristorante owner Dijanna Barbino, a Republican, complained to GOP state Rep. Sean Williams about the negative impact “over-regulation and high taxes” were having on her Watertown bar and grill. Yet when it came to getting help on acquiring her long-overdue U.S. citizenship she turned to Murphy.
Barbino was one of several constituents who met in the Congressman’s New Britain office Monday to thank him for coming to their aid.
Murphy said since his first term in 2007 his office has helped Connecticut residents recover more than $4.5 million from the federal government.
“Advocating for people as they navigate the massive federal government is some of the most important work a Congressional office does,” he said. “We get a lot of calls from veterans waiting for benefits they’ve earned. We also hear from seniors who haven’t seen their Social Security checks, or are having trouble getting a claim through Medicare.”
Tim Curran of Avon said he had been trying to collect veterans’ benefits for his 95-year-old father, now deceased. After the Veterans Administration left him treading water, he called on Murphy who was able to get results. Joe Paladino of New Britain, who owns a medical supply business, was hospitalized, missed a Medicare payment and was dropped from coverage. Murphy helped reinstate it.
Barbino, who emigrated from Yugoslavia 15 years ago, thought she was in line for citizenship because of her green card. However, citizenship was denied her due to “a discrepancy in paperwork” over her divorce. She said it was frustrating being unable to vote; her letters to U.S. immigration did little to help. However, Murphy’s staff was able to intervene so she could finally become a citizen.
Cynthia and William Jenkins of Wolcott got caught up in the refinance crisis. William lost his job, found another, but at less pay. After cashing in their 401(k) they were still unable to meet their mortgage payments. They borrowed from family members yet were sucked into a downward financial spiral. The Jenkins turned to Murphy’s staffers, who worked out an arrangement for them to keep their house by asking Bank of America to review the Jenkins’ loan modification request.
“In an ideal world, it shouldn’t take a call from a member of Congress to get somebody a veteran’s benefit or citizenship or to prevent foreclosure,” Murphy said. “But the reality is that sometimes it takes just that to rattle the cages of a government agency or a bank.”
Murphy said his office receives the most requests for help in veterans’ cases, followed next by Immigration, Social Security and Medicare, housing and then passports.