State Capitol

Conn. House Speaker Ritter Admonishes Lawmakers For Drinking On The Job

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Lawmakers have the state Capitol all to themselves and those long nights of legislating has resulted in some poor behavior. House Speaker Matt Ritter admonished both parties today for inappropriate drinking.

“The incidents are on both sides. I want to be very clear that there have been incidents on both the Democratic and Republican side,” House Speaker Matt Ritter said. 

Rep. Robin Comey, a Democrat from Branford, spoke on the House floor May 27 after admitting to having too much wine with dinner. At one point she had to stop speaking and Rep. William Petit, a medical doctor, came to her aid. 

Comey apologized in a statement. 

“I suddenly and unexpectedly began to feel unwell. This was due to several factors, including anxiety, exhaustion, and, regrettably, the wine I had with dinner. In an abundance of caution, I did not drive home and remained in Hartford until the following morning,” Comey said in a statement. 

“This is a chamberwide thing that had to be addressed,” Ritter said.

House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said Comey apologized to her colleagues and her constituents. 

“I think we’re all ready to move on and we engage in the right behaviors people expect us to while we’re here,” Rojas said. 

There’s always been drinking at the state Capitol.

There was even a secret speakeasy decades ago where legislators let loose during the session

“In those days, things were very different when it comes to drinking and partying,” Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, said. 

Tercyak took us for a walk down memory lane. 

“Up here somewhere was a room called the Hawaiian Room. It was a lounge,” Tercyak says.  

The only artifact left is this old sign that is now displayed in the basement of the Capitol. 

“Somebody called it a bar recently and I corrected them because bar charge you for a drink. Not in the Hawaiian Room,” Tercyak said.

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