HARTFORD, CT – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, the first woman to lead the Republican caucus in Connecticut, announced Tuesday that she won’t seek re-election to the state legislature.
Klarides is the third legislative leader to announce she won’t seek re-election. Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz have previously announced plans to leave the legislature.
“This is truly a citizen legislature and we are blessed to serve those that bestow their trust in us. I have tried to live up to those expectations every day for the last 22 years,” Klarides said.
She said she didn’t have an epiphany to know when the right time was to step aside.
“At a certain point you say to yourself I have another life to live too,” Klarides said in a Zoom press conference with reporters.
She said she’s sad she was unable to make the announcement in person.
“Now I just thought was the right time for me,” Klarides said.
Asked if she would contemplate a run for governor or statewide office in the future, Klarides said “my time in public service is not finished.”
Klarides informed her caucus early Tuesday morning.
“Times change and we have to move on and make decisions about balancing life and how we can best serve those that rely on us,” Klarides said. “This is the end of an extremely fulfilling and challenging chapter in my life. But anyone who knows me understands that my commitment to public service is ongoing.”
Earlier this year, Klarides got engaged to Greg Butler, executive vice president and general counsel for Eversource.
She said it’s unclear at the moment when they will exchange their vows because the state prohibits gatherings of five or more people.
“I’m still trying to figure that out,” Klarides said.
In the meantime, Klarides said she will continue to work with her colleagues for the rest of the term in office to get the state back up and running.
“Government must respond to those who need it most in this time of crisis: the workers who find themselves unemployed, our seniors and first responders who sacrifice daily. We must help them so that they, in turn, can care for their loved ones. I commit to continuing to work to find solutions and common ground that make sense for the taxpayers who ultimately will have to foot the bill,’’ Klarides said.
Klarides cited passage of the bipartisan budget in 2017 and her commitment to expand coverage for breast cancer treatment as some of her proudest accomplishments. She was also a champion for victims’ rights.