Two years ago state Sen. Len Fasano became Republican Pro Tempore, the closest a Republican has come to presiding over a chamber since 1994, after his party forced an 18-18 tie in the Senate.
It was the result of Republicans making regular electoral gains over nearly decade, going from a 24-12 disadvantage in the senate after the 2008 election to a tie in 2016.
Fasano, R-North Haven, will return to being Senate minority leader beginning Jan. 9, when Democrats will regain control with a 23-13 majority. He also represents Wallingford.
“There’s always a role for us to play,” he said during a recent interview for the “Morning Record” podcast. “Sometimes it’s a spoiler role and sometimes its a slowdown role, but we do have a role to play”
The interview is part of a “Morning Record” series previewing the upcoming legislative session.
Fasano said he believes the recent election results were largely a reflection of voters feelings toward President Donald Trump, particularly in traditional Republican strongholds in Fairfield County.
“I think some folks were blinded by their dislike of this president to the point that rational thought took a backseat relative to Connecticut,” he said. “Why would you want to put a group of folks who have shown a propensity to put the state of Connecticut last in many of the economic drivers — put that same group back in with the majority?”
Fasano said he was hopeful voters would have credited Republicans for the bipartisan budget the legislature adopted in September 2017 and amended in May.
He also said Gov.-elect Ned Lamont appears “more open and more inclusive” than outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
One area where Fasano expects bipartisan collaboration is on health care, noting he and Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, have worked together on a number of bills since 2010.
He also thinks the legislature will be able to adopt sports gambling, with the biggest obstacle being talks with the state’s two tribal casinos. Fasano is more critical of the legalization of recreational marijuana, saying the decision shouldn’t be made for financial reasons.
“If it was the right policy and it was good for families and kids and it was a good health policy, we would have done it 20 years ago,” he said.
To hear more from Fasano, listen to the “Morning Record,” the Record-Journal’s daily news podcast, at https://bit.ly/2F3N08G