The Connecticut Republican Party has selected Stratford attorney and political operative, Ben Proto, as its next chairman.
Proto, who sought the position back in February when JR Romano resigned before the end of his term, said his goal is not to have a title but to bring about fundamental and long-term change to the party infrastructure.
“I spent a lot of time talking about rebuilding the organization, our systems, digital platforms, social media platforms and finding new ways to communicate with voters,” Proto said Tuesday.
Proto said as Republicans they need to end the “circular firing squads” and remember they are all Republicans. He said unlike Democrats they don’t think or vote in “lockstep.” He said they may have different opinions, but they share the same values of smaller government and less intrusive government.
Proto, who was a Trump delegate in 2016, beat out two other candidates for the position. A third candidate was disqualified though because doesn’t currently live in Connecticut.
Proto knows he has his work cut out for him.
Republicans haven’t held a congressional seat in Connecticut since 2006 and haven’t held the majority in the General Assembly in decades. They tied for control of the state Senate in 2016, but Democrats regained a supermajority in 2020.
Proto believes that for too long, the party has allowed the national rhetoric to invade the discussion about Connecticut. He said he will work with local town committees on issues that are unique to their area.
He said he wants to make sure local lawmakers are held accountable now, not a few months before the election.
He said he wants to learn from voters about their issues and what’s important to them and then develop solutions.
“Talk less, listen more,” Proto said.
Proto will replace Sue Hatfield, who held the position for five months, until Tuesday’s election was held. Proto’s term will be for the next two years.