MERIDEN — Democrats in the 82nd state House District nominated Meriden Corporation Counsel Michael Quinn this week to fill the seat long held by Rep. Emil “Buddy” Altobello.
After years working behind the scenes in Democratic politics, Quinn decided it was time to make his own run for public office. Quinn saw his chance when Altobello announced he would not seek reelection.
“I assumed like everyone else that Buddy would just hold this seat forever,” Quinn said while accepting the party’s nomination. “But all good things do come to an end, and while we are all sorry to see him retire, I want to thank Buddy for everything he has done to represent the citizens of Meriden, Middlefield and Rockfall these many years... He leaves a huge pair of shoes to fill and I will do my best to be up to this task.”
Quinn, 52, served as the city’s Corporation Counsel from May 2007 to December 2014, and again from 2015 to now. As such he has led the city’s law department and serves as legal advisor to the City Council. If elected, he will no longer represent the city.
His corporation counsel career was interrupted for a year when former Republican Mayor Manny Santos challenged Quinn’s appointment by outgoing Mayor Michael Rohde and the City Council shortly after the 2013 election. The appointment was challenged in court and the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that supported Quinn’s removal based on an interpretation of the City Charter. He was reappointed by Mayor Kevin Scarpati and the 2015 City Council.
“He cost the taxpayers of Meriden $160,000 betweeen lawsuits and appeals,” Republican Town Chairman Sean McDonald said Tuesday. “Mr. Quinn is not concerned with the taxpayers of Meriden and has clearly demonstrated he has no appreciation for us as well.”
Quinn said the city’s longstanding practice of allowing the outgoing mayor and council to make appointments had never been challenged before and said the plaintiffs found a loophole in the City Charter they chose to exploit.
If elected, Quinn plans to work to steady the state’s fiscal position, which was precarious even before the most recent COVID-19 pandemic, he said. He wants to ensure that any cuts in spending are balanced by opportunities to increase revenue.
“It’s Important to do as much as we can to encourage business development, Quinn said. “It’s going to have to get easier to make it for the little guy.”
Quinn has worked at Mahon, Quinn & Mahon, Attorneys at Law, since 1999, and was named a partner in 2006. His practice includes representing injured workers before the Workers' Compensation Commission, in addition to personal injury and criminal defense cases.
Quinn has also served on the Meriden Housing Authority, several years as chairman, and on the board of directors for Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis, as the firrst male on the board. He hopes to strengthen services and laws in support of domestic violence victims and rebalance workers’ compensation laws to better serve workers.
Former Mayor Michael Rohde, who now serves on the City Council has worked with Quinn for more than two decades.
“ I have found him to be great to work with,” Rohde said, “Mike is an extremely capable and intelligent man who knows how the political system works and how to get results. He will be an exceptional state legislator for Meriden and Middlefield in the General Assembly representing the 82nd district.”
City Republicans are supporting Middlefield Republican Michael Skelps, a Navy veteran and small business owner, McDonald said. Meriden Republican Ernestine Holloway has also filed to run for the 82nd District, according to state election records.
Republicans in Meriden, Middlefield, and Rockfall are scheduled to hold their nominating convention tonight.