As Connecticut residents rushed to gas stations to fill up their cars and generators for impending Storm Henri, they found themselves paying nearly a dollar more per gallon than the same time last year. Meanwhile, a special legislative session later this month could make it even more expensive to fuel up for the next storm. Democrat leaders are trying to garner support for a fourth gas tax on Connecticut residents, called the TCI, or Transportation and Climate Initiative - this time another 17 cents per gallon. Gas prices have already spiked to over $3 per gallon, but if the governor has his way, you could be paying nearly $20 more than you did a year ago each time you fill up your tank. While the governor and Democratic legislators twist arms to make life in Connecticut even less affordable than it already is, a long summer of teenagers wielding weapons, stealing cars and increasing homicide rates reaches a close. Many of these youths have multiple prior offenses that were never addressed. In June, a teenager with 13 prior arrests stole a car and struck and killed a jogger in New Britain. In August, a 14-year-old boy allegedly shot a 15-year-old girl at the Danbury Fair mall. Enough is enough. There are three separate but equal branches of government in Connecticut - executive, legislative and judicial. Republican legislators have come to the table with suggestions for serious reforms to start a dialogue, not about incarceration, but about accountability, early intervention and public safety. The other side of the aisle? Crickets. For his part, Gov. Ned Lamont has abjectly failed as well. In fact, under his leadership the state of Connecticut spent as much on expanding absentee ballots in 2020 as the governor dedicated to address the rise in violent crime ravaging our cities in 2021. This is just one example of where Democratic leaders place their priorities - and public safety doesn't rise to the top. If Gov. Lamont ever does feel compelled to lead, he has the tools to do it. He could convene a group of officials in his administration to work with the judicial branch and identify opportunities for early intervention that don't require legislative action. His emergency authorities - granted for COVID 18 months ago - make this even easier than it would normally be. Alternately, the governor could direct the commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families to work in coordination with the chief state's attorney, the state Division of Public Defender Services and the Office of the Chief Court Administrator to intervene, investigate and require support services as early as possible to prevent further escalation in violence and try to avoid repeat offenses. Finally, the governor could bring the executive, legislative and judicial branches together to work out common-sense solutions that address juvenile crime and the rise in violence that's creating a crisis in communities like New Haven and Hartford, where more people have been killed already this year than in all of 2020. For over a year now, this governor has allowed troubled teens to languish. Parents, guardians, mentors, community organizations and law enforcement have all been left without the tools they need to address these serious issues. When a car is hijacked with a 2-year-old inside and innocent bystanders are threatened by teens fighting at a mall, it's past time to address this issue. Now is the time to lead and get our state's priorities straight. Higher taxes can wait. Political photo ops with crews cleaning up from Storm Henri can wait. Even family vacations off the coast of Maine can wait. Our kids can't. Bob Stefanowski was the 2018 Republican candidate for governor of Connecticut.