Petit not seeking re-election in House district that now includes Southington 

reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON – Plainville candidates have filed to run for the state house seat that’ll be up for grabs this November following the decision of Republican William Petit Jr. not to run for re-election

Petit’s 22nd House district lost its New Britain portion and gained a piece of Farmington and Southington in recent redistricting.

Rebecca Martinez, Plainville Democratic Town Committee chairwoman and a Plainville Board of Education member, filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission last month to run for the seat.

Francis Rexford Cooley, a Plainville Republican, also filed to run last month.

Democratic nurse, education leader

In an announcement video, Martinez said health care affordability, a children’s mental health crisis and lingering effects of the pandemic were among the concerns that prompted her to run for state office.

“As a nurse working on the front lines since the beginning, I know the impact COVID has had and continues to have on our communities,” Martinez said.

She cited her work on the school board, her ability to build coalitions and her advocacy for students and families.

“I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” she said. “I want to take the same fire and fight for my patients and students to the capitol.”

Republican educator

Cooley was Dean of the College at Paier College of Art for more than a decade and spent much of his career at the Hamden school. He’s semi-retired, working on writing and photography projects and substitute teaching at New Britain High School.

Petit spoke highly of Cooley, saying he was well-spoken and highly educated.

“He’s well educated in our history and our government,” Petit said. “He seems pretty charged up to (run).”

Cooley has participated in previous elections and is a member of the Plainville Republican Town Committee.

“He’s been one of the ground guys, showing up and doing the behind the scenes work that’s hard to get people to do most of the time,” Petit said.

New district

Petit said he’s leaving politics for now to spend more time with his family. He cited the amount of time required as a state representative.

“It’s a lot of time away from home,” he said. “It’s more important to be around on a full time basis with my family.”

Dropping the New Britain portion of the 22nd district and gaining portions of Farmington and Southington likely makes it easier for Republicans to win, Petit said. New Britain has a higher number of registered Democrats while the numbers are more even in Southington and Farmington.

Petit is one of a handful of local legislators leaving state politics.

Southington’s John Fusco decided not to run for re-election in the 81st House district. Catherine Abercrombie, a Democrat representing the 83rd House district in Meriden, is also not running for re-election. State Sen. Mary Daugherty Abrams, a Democrat, is not running as well. She represents the 13th Senate district. 

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ


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