MERIDEN — After representing the towns of Meriden and Berlin for 16 years, state Rep. Catherine Abercrombie is not seeking a ninth term in the General Assembly.
The Meriden Democrat serves as chairwoman of the legislature’s Human Services Committee and sits on the influential Appropriations Committee. During her tenure, she has been a staunch advocate for human service needs, including issues involving senior citizens and those on the autism disorder spectrum. She was also instrumental in delivering funds for flood control in Meriden along with Berlin development projects
”I am proud of my work with kids in need of disability services and bringing dollars to Meriden and Berlin bond projects, keeping the dollars flowing in education,” Abercrombie said. “It’s really been an honor to represent the 83rd district. I want to thank people for supporting and believing in me and re-electing me for eight terms.”
Abercrombie plans to spend time traveling with her husband, who retired four years ago, and grandchildren.
“It’s time,” she said.
Abercrombie won her seat in a 2005 special election to replace former state Rep. James Abrams, who became a Superior Court judge. At that time, she was the newcomer among seasoned city lawmakers Sen. Thomas Gaffey, D-13th state Rep. Christopher Donovan, D-84th and state Rep. Emil “Buddy” Altobello, D-82nd. Today, Abercrombie is the veteran of the city’s delegation, said Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Millie Torres-Ferguson, who praised her work on human services and appropriations.
“It’s going to be a huge loss,” said Torres-Ferguson.
Abercrombie’s departure leaves an open seat in the 83rd district. Democrats are interviewing candidates but have not nominated anyone, Torres-Ferguson said.
Democratic state Rep. Michael Quinn, who won his seat in the 82nd district last year, worked on Abercrombie’s campaigns throughout the years.
“Obviously, I’ve known her for a long time,” Quinn said. “I’m going to miss her terribly. I feel she has served the residents of the 83rd district in an exemplary fashion. Whoever replaces her has big shoes to fill.”
Quinn said he can understand her reasons for retirement – the atmosphere at the Capitol has become more partisan, her husband’s retirement and the expected arrival of two more grandchildren.
“Clearly, her involvement in human services and as chair of that committee...and even before that her involvement with the PTO and PTA, that is clearly her mark,” Quinn said.
State Rep. Hilda Santiago, a Democrat who represents the 84th district, is running for secretary of the state leaving another potential open seat in November. Torres-Ferguson said city Democrats won’t know until the Democratic convention in May about Santiago. Should Santiago receive more than 15 percent of votes but not get the nomination, she’ll have to decide whether to force a primary for secretary of the state or run for re-election in the 84th District.