During the recent campaign, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz repeatedly said this upcoming term in the General Assembly will be his last.
Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who narrowly won re-election, isn’t concerned the decision will affect his ability to preside over the chamber when the legislature returns Jan. 9.
“My ability to be speaker is more about relationships than it is power,” Aresimowicz said during a recent interview for the “Morning Record” podcast. His district includes a part of Southington.
Aresimowicz’s final term will also give his caucus a much more comfortable majority than he had in his first term as speaker — Democrats, who had a 79-72 majority after the 2016 election, now have a 92-59 edge.
Democrats will also have a 23-13 advantage in the Senate after having to share power due to an 18-18 split the past two years.
Still, Aresimowicz said he wants to continue working with Republicans, building on the bipartisan budget that was passed in September 2017.
He’s not willing to eliminate any options for the upcoming budget.
“The easy cuts, if you will — and none of them really were, but the easier cuts, they’re all gone...,” he said. “If we’re going to change and cut more, than we’re going to have to change how we do business.”
A self-proclaimed “eternal optimist, Aresimowicz said he’s hopeful Gov.-elect Ned Lamont will have a good working relationship with the legilsature.
At the same time, Aresimowicz said outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, among the least popular governors in the country, will be remembered more favorably over time for making difficult decisions.
“History will judge him better than we can now, I believe,” he said.
Aresimowicz maintains his confidence that the legislature will approve sports betting and the implementation of tolls this year. He also said Connecticut should legalize recreational marijuana so the state has more control over the availability and sale of the substance.
To hear more from Aresimowicz, listen to the “Morning Record,” the Record-Journal’s daily news podcast, at https://bit.ly/2GS2KhJ