Ryan Fazio, Denise Merrill
Sen. Ryan Fazio, R-Greenwich is sworn in by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Aug. 26, 2021 Credit: Christine Stuart / CTNewsJunkie

HARTFORD, CT — Greenwich Republican Ryan Fazio was sworn in as a state senator Thursday morning, shifting the chamber’s balance of power ever so slightly away from Democrats who maintain a 23 to 13 majority in the Senate.

Fazio, a 31 year-old investment analyst, won 50.1% of the vote during a special election last week, beating out Democrat Alexis Gevanter and petitioning candidate John Blankley. Through Fazio, Republicans have retaken a long-held Fairfield County district, which Democrats flipped in 2018. Former Sen. Alex Kasser, D-Greenwich, put the seat back in play when she abruptly resigned in June. 

After taking the oath of office from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on the Senate dais, Fazio promised to work on behalf of voters in his district.

“While our state faces immense challenges, I know that with a positive change in our state government, that Connecticut can succeed like never before,” Fazio said. “There is always hope.”

During a short ceremony, Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, welcomed Fazio, who he said “embodies the next generation of Connecticut leadership.”

“He is bright, he is energized, he is creative and he is eager to get to work,” Kelly said. “He is focused on positive results for a better future for every person he represents– Republican, Democrats, Independent, unaffiliated and non-voters.”

Merrill, a Democrat who announced in June she would not seek a fourth term as secretary of the state, recalled her own first election to the legislature through a special election in the early 1990s. 

“I wish for you the same good fortune I’ve had in my career. It’s been wonderful. I have loved every minute of it. Even the ones you wouldn’t think would be quite so lovable,” Merrill said. “I’m delighted that you’re here. I love the fact that you’re kind of representing the next generation.” 

Fazio will now finish out the rest of Kasser’s term, which runs through next year. Fazio ran unsuccessfully against Kasser in 2020, when he captured 48.6% of the vote. Turnout during last year’s presidential election was high at just under 80% in the senate district which includes Greenwich and parts of Stamford and New Canaan. As is often the case in special elections, turnout lagged last week when closer to 27% of the district’s voters cast ballots.