The Nov. 4 midterm elections brought changes to the state legislative body, with new and old leaders alike expressing enthusiasm for the upcoming term.
Four out six leadership positions saw changes as a result of the day’s elections. In the State House of Representatives, Representative Themis Klarides was elected house minority leader, while Representative Brendan Sharkey and Representative Joseph Aresimowicz each retained their positions as speaker of the house and house majority leader, respectively. Furthermore, newly elected President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Majority Leader Bob Duff and Minority Leader Len Fasano ’81 all gained new titles after previously holding leadership positions in the Senate prior to Tuesday’s elections.
“Well, any time there’s new leadership it’s like a new chapter in a book, and people have a chance to put their stamp on things,” Duff said.
Each of the representatives interviewed expressed both long- and short-term goals for the years ahead, from developing support teams to creating a two-year state budget. Duff added that strong communication would be critical to the legislature’s ability to launch new initiatives.
Legislators from both sides of the aisle were optimistic about bipartisan cooperation among the politically divided leadership, which contains four Democrats and two Republicans.
“We’re still in the majority, they’re still in the minority,” Aresimowicz said. “As long as there’s mutual respect … as long as we don’t let egos or political parties get in the way we’re going to have the same success we’ve had over the past couple of years.”
Fasano mirrored Aresimowicz’s sentiment, saying that he and Looney have a long history of friendship. The two have served in the State Senate together for 10 years.
He went on to say that this level of familiarity will create a cooperative dynamic between the two, potentially helping develop policy that both parties can support.
“Those relationships are based upon friendship and trust … and I think that’s going to be kind of cool and unique. We don’t have to posture; we can be up-front and frank,” Fasano said.
Already in the works is a piece of bipartisan healthcare legislation that Fasano and Looney have been working on together to address healthcare reform, management and costs.
Fasano also said he wants to “destroy” the stereotype that Connecticut Republicans simply adhere to the same ideology as Republicans across the country. He plans to dispel this notion by reaching out to urban communities and younger demographics, such as students at Yale and the University of Connecticut, he said.
All of the representatives interviewed said that they were receptive to working with Gov. Dannel Malloy, who was elected to a second term as Connecticut governor last Tuesday. New Haven Republican Town Committee Chairman Richter Elser, however, said he was less optimistic.
“Unfortunately, under Gov. Malloy, I don’t think the policies will shift,” he said.
Looney, Fasano, and Aresimowicz all ran unopposed in their districts.
Correction: Nov. 12
A previous version of this article misquoted Majority Leader Bob Duff as saying “people have a chance to put their stance on things.” In fact, he said “people have a chance to put their stamp on things.”