The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Lollipops and pizza: Conn. aims to add state symbols
“Recognizing pizza as the state food officially would give us ammunition in the tri-state pizza wars, which I believe we are destined to win.” Rep. Matt Blumenthal, D-Stamford
Connecticut already has a host of official state symbols, from the state polka to the state fish. If legislation passes this year the state will have an official state food, state pet, state candy and state dog.
Perhaps not surprisingly, pizza is being proposed as the official state food of Connecticut, which Rep. Matt Blumenthal said would give the state an advantage against its neighbors.
“Recognizing pizza as the state food officially would give us ammunition in the tri-state pizza wars which I believe we are destined to win,” said Blumenthal, a state representative from Stamford and co-chair of the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee. “I’m in favor of giving us every piece of ammunition in that battle.”
A separate bill would designate the lollipop as the official state candy, the Siberian husky as the state dog and “shelter pets” as the state pet.
Connecticut’s state polka is officially the “Ballroom Polka,” as was signed into law by thenGov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2013. But the polka itself is the official state dance of Wisconsin.
The American Shad is Connecticut’s state fish, the square dance is the official state dance, the Almandine Garnet is the state mineral and a dinosaur track of Eubrontes Giganteus was named the official state fossil.
In addition to the shad, the sperm whale is the official state animal, the American robin is the official state bird and the European praying mantis is the official state insect.
Should legislation pass, Connecticut would not be the only state with an official state dog. Ten states currently have state dog breeds, including the malamute in Alaska, the Boston terrier in Massachusetts and the bluetick coonhound in Tennessee.
The husky has been proposed as the state dog of Connecticut, in reference to UConn sports teams, but Yale University’s mascot, Handsome Dan, is a bulldog.
“We may hear from them in the public hearing,” Blumenthal said. “As a Yale alumnus myself, I’ll be interested to hear the school’s perspective on which dog should be an official one. There’s certainly virtues to both.”
A 2004 bill in Washington State would have designated the husky as that state’s official dog, though that bill did not pass.
Connecticut might be the first state with an official state candy, should the lollipop provision pass. Blumenthal said that was suggested by 3rd graders from Dwight Elementary School in Fairfield.
Blumenthal said none of these bills would cost the state any money, and none would mandate use or promotion of official state symbols: “There’s no mandate, and there’s no fiscal note or resources that have to be laid out for any of these bills.”
But he said the provision naming “shelter pets” as the official state pet could serve to generate awareness.
“In the case of making the state pet a shelter pet, it could actually provide increased awareness of the availability and virtues of adopting a shelter pet by our state endorsing it,” he said.
The bills, he said, might actually pass, though the public hearings might be spirited.
“We obviously want to hear from the community about them and from legislators across the state about them and what their perspectives are,” Blumenthal said. “But despite the lighthearted nature of much of the subject matter, we take these bills seriously.”
“We deal with lots of extremely serious subject matter, very heavy and complex. It’s certainly nice sometimes to talk about things that are a little simpler and more universally positive,” he said.