state legislature

Three of the Four Connecticut Legislative Leaders Will Retire

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No matter what happens on election night, at least three legislative leaders who have been in the Connecticut House and Senate for decades won’t be returning to the state Capitol in January.  

“It’s hard to leave. It’s very, very hard to leave. I love that institution, but you know in your heart and your soul when it’s time to move on,” Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano said. 

Fasano who presided in 2017 over the first tied Senate in more than 100 years said he knew it as time to go and give someone else a shot. 

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, Senate President Martin Looney, and Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano

“I don’t want to lose the passion. I don’t want to leave in anger. I don’t want to leave in frustration. I want to leave when I’m sort of at the top of my game if I would,” Fasano said. 

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz served in the house for 16 years, the last four as Speaker. There’s an unwritten rule that any speaker of the house serves two terms. 

What will be their legacy? 

“I think it was the bipartisan budget. Getting together in a room with the Republicans absent the governor, I think it was the first time in history that it was done and coming up with a budget that is really saving us right now. The rainy day fund and everything else is a result of that bipartisan budget,” Aresimowicz said. 

Fasano also mentioned the bipartisan budget as a tipping point. 

“I’m very proud of the bipartisan budget that we put together that people said it was never going to happen,” Fasano said. 

The bipartisan budget the leaders put together in 2017 without input from then Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was mentioned by all three outgoing leaders. 

Klarides the first female Republican leader of the House, is also retiring, but will continue to stay involved. She recently started a federal PAC to raise money to help Republicans get elected to Congress. 

“I don’t know what it’s going to look like after this next election, but I will tell you as far as the House Republican caucus goes we’re just going to continue to fight for common sense things that we have in the past of getting the state back on track and making it a state people want to live in,” Klarides said. 

Klarides is the only one of the three that has not ruled out a future run for governor. 

“I’m trying to figure out what role I would like to play and what role the state of Connecticut would need me in. So I’m still thinking about that,” Klarides said. 

Fasano and Aresimowicz both ruled out a run for governor. 

Senate President Martin Looney, who had a kidney transplant and hip replacement in 2016, is the only one of the four who is seeking reelection. He’s being challenged by Republican Jameson White and petitioning candidate Alex Taubes. 

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