HARTFORD, CT — After 18 years in the state Senate, Len Fasano of North Haven, has decided not to seek re-election.
Fasano was not available for comment Tuesday night, but he shared his decision with the Durham Republican Town Committee who posted about it on their Facebook page.
“He has played a huge role in making a difference in our state,” the Durham Republicans wrote on their Facebook page. “Whoever is going to take his position has some huge shoes to fill.”
Fasano, an attorney, who took over as leader of the Senate Republican caucus in 2014, said Wednesday morning that he told his local town committees, his caucus, legislative leadership and Gov. Ned Lamont Tuesday about his decision.
“I’ve been thinking about it for awhile,” Fasano said.
He said when the Senate was tied 18-18 after the 2016 election he made a decision to see if he could help Republicans gain the majority. He didn’t succeed.
Being minority leader is “grueling” and it got to the point where “if you can’t do this 100% then you shouldn’t be doing it,” Fasano said.
Fasano said his family and business obligations have taken a backseat while the General Assembly is in session.
When Fasano took over as minority leader, he said he would also work to improve communication and cooperation with the Senate Democrats.
“We can disagree on issues, but let’s make sure we know what the issues are we’re disagreeing about,” Fasano said after being selected to lead his Republican caucus.
In 2016, Republicans and Democrats were evenly split in the Senate, which gave Fasano a unique opportunity to share power with Senate President Martin Looney of New Haven. The shift in the Senate that year from a 21-15 majority held by Democrats to an even 18-18 split helped Republicans negotiate some strict fiscal practices that are now part of the budget process.
His biography touts the implementation of the spending cap in 2017 after decades of failed attempts to define it. He also championed the bonding cap and volatility cap that year.
Fasano said the moment he grins about is when he was able to get a Republican budget passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate with the help of three Democratic Senators. The passage helped set the stage for the rest of the 2017 bipartisan budget debate.
But Fasano said he’s most proud of the healthcare legislation he helped to get passed in partnership with Looney and with bipartisan support.
Looney said he’s “disheartened” to hear about Fasano’s decision.
“Len is a pillar of the General Assembly and leaves a distinguished legacy as a true statesman of the Connecticut Senate,” Looney said in a statement. “While we may serve as leaders of different parties, Len and I have worked together countless times to solve problems, help people in need, and get vital things done. In particular, over the past several years we have coauthored significant health care consumer protection legislation that stands as a model for other states. The Senate circle will not be the same without him.”
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said Fasano is a “dedicated public servant and we all thank him for his service.”
“He brought a lot of energy and passion to everything he did and I wish him well in the future,” she added.
Fasano is a Republican, but he was well respected by his Democratic colleagues for his work ethic and for the attention he paid to the issues.
Marty Dunleavy, a Democrat and Senate clerk, called Fasano a “true gentleman.”
He said Fasano is an “outstanding leader, overall a very decent man.”
Fasano said he’s going to miss the people he works with in the building the most.