When the ink was dry on the newly redrawn House political districts, two lawmakers found themselves sharing a district with another incumbent. Both have since announced their retirements at the end of their terms.
Rep. Marie Kirkley-Bey’s home in Hartford was redistricted into Rep. Matt Ritter’s district. Meanwhile, Rep. Richard Roy, D-Milford, was moved into the same district as Rep. Paul Davis, D-Orange. Roy and Kirkley-Bey both chose to retire rather than run against other Democratic incumbents.
In her tearful announcement Wednesday, Kirkley-Bey said she made the decision as lawmakers on the Reapportionment Committee were struggling to redraw the political district lines for Hartford.
At the beginning of the year, she said she had been considering retirement after her 10th term but had enjoyed the recent special legislative session and thought about running again.
“Then I saw poor [House Democratic staffer] Jeff Greenfield going nuts trying to figure out what the Hartford districts would look like. So I said to myself, ‘let me go home and pray about this and see what’s the right thing to do’” She said. “The Lord told me it’s time to go, Marie, it’s time for you to quit.”
Kirkley-Bey, the first African-American woman to become deputy speaker of the House, was praised by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for her advocacy of urban issues.
“I so much appreciated her advocacy on behalf of the people of Hartford, on behalf of those individuals living in our state who need government’s assistance for the betterment of their daily lives,” he said.
House Speaker Chris Donovan said Kirkley-Bey has been a constant “dynamo” fighting for jobs in the community she represented over her 20 years in the legislature.
“I’m not kidding, budgets were held up because Marie wanted that money for jobs,” he said.
Roy, who was also considering retirement after his10th term, said the new district lines had an impact on his decision.
“My wife and I have been discussing the possibility of not running again for many months,” he said in a press release. “The results of the redistricting effort just made my decision easier.”
House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey said the House chairman of the legislature’s Environment Committee has made the state safer by fighting to ban texting while driving and certain dangerous chemicals.
“His contributions to the safety and well-being of our state and its residents will have a lasting impact far into the future,” he said.
Roy said he would be spending more time with his family in retirement as well continuing his fight against toxic chemicals.
“The chemical industry needs to change the way it does business and develop less toxic products,” he said. “I will continue to fight that fight on behalf of Connecticut residents.”