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Meriden state Sen. Mary Abrams will not seek re-election

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MERIDEN — State Sen. Mary Abrams, D-13th, announced through a Senate spokesperson Friday that she would not seek reelection in 2022.

The two-term Democrat serves Meriden, Cheshire, Middlefield and Middletown. Abrams won election to the state Senate in 2018 in her first run for public office and won reelection in 2020. During her time, she has served as the Senate chair of the Public Health Committee and the Senate vice chair of the Education Committee. 

"Serving in the state Senate has been a tremendous privilege,"  Abrams said in a prepared statement. "The trust and confidence of the residents of our communities to be your voice at the state Capitol is an honor I will never forget. Together, we advocated for and successfully created positive change both at home and across the state. Together, we put science and our families first when faced with the darkest days of the pandemic.”

Abrams has been absent from committee meetings since February. At a Feb. 14 meeting of the Public Health Committee, chairman Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-1st, announced that Sen. Saud Anwar, D-3rd, would serve as co-chair for the “time being.”

At the same meeting, fellow committee member Sen. Tony Hwang, R-28th, wished Abrams “the very best in her health and recovery.”

Abrams statement did not specify an illness.

Abrams grew up in Meriden, attended St. Rose School and graduated from Maloney High School. She earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in special education, and later a sixth-year degree in education leadership from Southern Connecticut State University.

Married for over 35 years, Abrams and her husband, Superior Court Judge James W. Abrams, a former state representative, raised their children, Madeline (Thomas) and Nicholas, in Meriden.

Mary Abrams taught special education for over 25 years before transitioning from the classroom to school administration where she served for more than a decade both as the director of special education then as a high school assistant principal until she retired in 2017.

“Together, our work in education, the environment, mental health, and health care overall will have positive ramifications for generations to come,” Abrams stated. “Your partnership has meant the world to me. Thank you for the opportunity to serve and to the countless number of you who helped me serve in this role. I must also thank my family. Without their unwavering support I would never have been able to be a state senator.”

Meriden Democrats stated this week they were waiting for Abrams to announce her election intentions, but were prepared for either decision.  

“The 13th district has been very well represented with Mary Abrams in the Senate,” Democratic Town Chairwoman Millie Torres-Ferguson stated in an e-mail. “She was well liked across the district and respected by her colleagues in the legislature. I am saddened by the news, but as her friend, support her decision and wish her nothing but the best.”

State Rep. Hilda Santiago, D-84th, praised Abrams for being a “trailblazer in her own right.”

“I wish Mary the best in her recovery,” Santiago said. “Mary is so high-spirited and caring and dedicated to her family and friends. Mary will be sorely missed by her colleagues and the Meriden delegation even though she will continue to serve as a senator. She is a wonderful person and a fighter all around.” 

State Rep. Michael Quinn, D-82nd, said he was saddened Abrams would not be running again.

“She has done an outstanding job representing the 13th district and will be sorely missed in Hartford,” Quinn said in an email. “Her work on behalf of children, both as an educator and a senator, are the legacy that she leaves her district. She deserves our gratitude for a job so very well done.”

Her decision gives the Republican minority an opportunity for a competitive race. The seat has changed hands three times in the past decade.

Republican Gwen Samuel, an activist for parent and children’s causes, has formed an exploratory committee to gauge interest in a run for the 13th Senate seat, but has not officially entered the race.

Republican Len Suzio won the seat in a special election in 2011. Democrat Danté Bartolomeo unseated him in 2012 then lost to him in 2016. Abrams unseated Suzio in 2018 with 52.4% of the vote and was reelected in 2020 with 52.75%.

Reporter Mary Ellen Godin can be reached at mgodin@record-journal.com.


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