Having grown up in a first responder family, Kara intimately understands the workings of emergency service and the need to support and protect those who respond to the call. Kara’s father, Al Rochelle, has served as a volunteer firefighter, fire chief, is an instructor at the Valley Fire School, and serves as the New Haven County Fire Coordinator for Connecticut.
Most recently, Kara has worked to direct $500,000 in state funding for improved training for police and public safety officers. She has also worked to extend employment protections for police officers who seek mental health services.
A strong supporter of our fire fighters, Kara worked to require local departments to develop and implement a plan for maintenance and remediation of toxic, cancer-causing substances on turnout gear.
With a deep base of knowledge about what it takes for the training and operation of the regional volunteer fire service – Kara has been a leading advocate for the bonding money needed to build the Valley Fire School.
Kara has coordinated multiple meetings and conference calls between key players on this project, including the executive board of the fire school, the Governor, and the Department of Administrative Services, to facilitate progress. She also participated in a multi-town, multi-department rally to urge the Governor to bond this project.
She took the lead and organized a bi-partisan letter to which the Minority Leader Themis Klarides signed on as well – pressuring the Governor to approve the funding. Kara also coordinated letters from local leaders to advocate for the Valley Fire School, and encouraged a letter from the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) – which covers 19 cities and towns and represents over 485,000 people – to further pressure for the release of this critically important bond money.
Kara has also arranged various meetings with the Governor’s Office, The Connecticut Fire/EMS Caucus in Hartford, Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Construction Services, and various legislative committees. Kara’s hard work enabled the school to get a refreshed bid price without having to complete an entirely new design process and rebid procedure, which would’ve taken years. On October 5th, Kara received a letter of appreciation from the Valley Fire School Board of Directors for her unwavering and tenacious support and work on this project. The fight is not done – the Valley and our firefighters need this.
Kara also supported the first responder PTSD bill, which gave police officers, parole officers, and firefighters certain workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD caused by traumatic experiences on the job. It also includes planning for the expansion of these benefits to EMS personnel. Kara will continue to fight to expand this coverage to EMS workers.