2020 State Election Recap and Results
Two Key Takeaways – Democrat gains include a new Senate “supermajority” and New Legislative Leadership for 2021
While the vote counting and election reviews may still be ongoing at the national level, here in Connecticut most, but not all, of the 187 state legislative races were decided within 48 to 72 hours after the election. A determinative outcome in a few races lingered a little longer, however, but as of late Friday the last race was officially decided following a recount in the 90th House District (Wallingford/Yalesville/Cheshire), where 2-term incumbent republican Representative Craig Fishbein narrowly held onto his seat, after originally being declared the loser. As a result, when the 2021 state legislative session of the Connecticut General Assembly convenes in January, the makeup of the two chambers will be as follows:
24 Democrats (net +2)
State House of Representatives
97 Democrats (net +7)
As a result of their gains in the elections, starting in 2021 the Democrat-majority in the state senate will now be a “supermajority” (meaning occupying two thirds of the seats or more), the primary implication of this being the ability to override any gubernatorial vetoes. In the state house, however, control of 101 seats is required for a supermajority.
In the state senate, there will be three new faces, including Jorge Cabrera (D) in the 17th District (Hamden, Woodbridge, Ansonia, etc.) who defeated incumbent Sen. George Logan (R) in a rematch from 2018; Rep. Rick Lopes (D) in the 6th District (New Britain, Berlin, Farmington) who will move from the House to the Senate after defeating incumbent Sen. Gennaro Bizzarro (R) in what was also a rematch of a previous special election from 2018; and Paul Cicarella (R) in the 34th District (North Haven, Wallingford, East Haven, etc.) who will fill the open seat resulting from the retirement of outgoing Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano. Additionally, over in the state house, there will be over 20 new members, representing both sides of the political aisle. Notably, in the 30th House District (Berlin) seat held by longtime Representative and outgoing Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D), Republican candidate Donna Veach was the winner over her Democrat opponent. Likewise, in the 114th House District (Derby, Orange and Woodbridge), a seat held by longtime Representative and outgoing House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R), Democrat candidate Mary Welander prevailed over her Republican opponent.
Following the elections, each of the four legislative caucuses convened to select their leadership for the upcoming legislative session. As a result of retirements, the state legislature was in the unique position of having 3 out 4 top leadership posts being vacated at once. In the House, the Democrats selected current Majority Leader Rep. Matt Ritter of Hartford to be the next Speaker of the House, succeeding outgoing Speaker Aresimowicz. Rep. Jason Rojas of East Hartford was selected as the next Majority Leader, succeeding Ritter in that post. On the Republican side, current Deputy Minority Leader Vincent Candelora of North Branford was selected by his colleagues to the new House Minority Leader, succeeding outgoing Minority Leader Klarides. Rep. Tom O’Dea of New Canaan will be the new Deputy Minority Leader, succeeding Candelora. Over in the state senate, while the Democrats kept their leadership intact, with Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney of New Haven and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff of Norwalk both selected to serve another term as leaders in their caucus, the Republicans selected new leadership. Senator Kevin Kelly of Stratford will be the new Senate Minority Leader, succeeding outgoing Minority Leader Len Fasano. Senator Paul Formica of East Lyme will be the new Deputy Minority Leader, succeeding current Minority Leader Kevin Witkos.
While each of the legislative leaders brings different personalities, leadership styles and policy agendas to their new positions, one thing they all have in common will be the uncertainty surrounding how the legislature will conduct its business when the session is scheduled to convene in early January. Notably, the state Capitol has been effectively closed outsiders since mid-March. In addition to dealing with the process concerns and workflow for the new legislature, the leaders will inevitably be working with Governor Lamont and his administration on a new biennial state budget, which will be proposed in February. In addition, several leaders have indicated other important topics they would like to see addressed in the upcoming session, including issues surrounding healthcare, taxes, sports gaming, recreational marijuana, early voting, and Covid-19 response and recovery, among other pressing issues. Per the state Constitution, the 2021 state legislative session is currently scheduled to convene on Wednesday, January 6th.
Now That Elections Are Over, It Is Time To Speak Up And Educate Lawmakers - Tell Your State Legislators Your Workforce Needs!
The elections may be over but state legislators still need to be educated on the needs of their constituents – YOU – so now is a great time to introduce yourself and tell them about CHCC’s top advocacy issue – the need make changes to the state’s restrictive hiring ratios so HVAC contractors can hire additional apprentices! While CHCC continues to lead efforts behind the scenes at the state Capitol along with representatives from other open shop trades as part of the statutorily appointed Ratio Working Group per Public Act 17-76, all legislators need to be educated and informed about this important jobs issue for your industry and other similarly situations trades as well (plumbing, electrical, fire sprinkler, etc.).
Go to the website below and enter your home and/or business address to look up your state legislators. All it takes is a few quick clicks and you can visit their official webpage, email them, or get their office phone number to make a call. Remember - as a CHCC member, your voice matters! Please take a moment and reach out on behalf of your industry!
As always, if you have questions on legislation or regulations or if you would like more information on an issue, please feel free to contact the CHCC Office or CHCC’s Lobbyist Andy Markowski of Statehouse Associates at: (860) 707-3620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.