Bridgeport Republican Robert Russo, who won the 22nd District Senate seat vacated by Democratic Senator Bill Finch, Bridgeport’s new mayor, was sworn in at the Capitol Friday by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Russo, 32, a former chief of staff for Congressman Chris Shays, greeted Rell – whom he’s worked for in the past – by calling her “boss.”
In a brief interview before the swearing in ceremony Russo said he wasn’t running to upset the Democratic supermajority, he was running to represent residents in Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Monroe.
However, by winning the seat he eliminated the Democrats’ supermajority in the Senate. Rell said she thinks it will make the majority think more carefully about the bills they’ll want to test her with. The Democrats have been criticized for failing to deliver on the potential contained in the power of the supermajority. Last year, they were successful in overriding only one of Rell’s six vetoes.
Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said that with 13-members in the minority, it not only takes away the power to override Rell’s vetoes, it also removes the majority’s ability to suspend the rules of parlimentary procedure.
He said this allows the Republicans in the legislature a seat at the table and forces the majority to negotiate. He said prior to having 13 Republicans in the Senate, “we had no protections”
What effect will this have?
McKinney anticipates it will “move business much more efficiently.”
Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said in a phone interview Friday afternoon that he doesn’t expect much of a change in the way the Senate conducts its business. He said that when the Democrats had 24 members, he didn’t expect anything to change. He said Democrats never wanted to exert “dictatorial control” as a majority.