By State Senator Len Fasano
Serving as your state senator for the last 18 years has been a privilege, a blessing and an incredible honor.
As I prepare to retire from the Senate, I could not leave office without expressing my gratitude to every constituent who put their trust in me to represent their voices in Hartford.
You entrusted me with your vote, to advocate for the most vulnerable, to bring people together, and to overcome challenges that may have seemed insurmountable. By allowing me to serve, you have given me an opportunity to learn and grow into a better person. For all I have experienced I am forever grateful.
Reflecting on 18 years in the State Senate there are a lot of experiences we all went through together: devastating storms that destroyed our homes, the tragedy in Sandy Hook, calling out government failures and system abuses that allowed the most vulnerable children to fall through the cracks, the never ending fight to bring fiscal sanity to our state and weathering this pandemic and the social and economic crises that comes with it. Those were challenges.
There are also a number of successes that came by working together. We passed first in the nation legislation to make health care more affordable and accessible by fighting back against surprise medical billing, facility fees, pharmacy gag clauses and by increasing health care transparency. We developed and adopted the first truly bipartisan budget in decades that led to the implementation of smart fiscal policies that have eluded lawmakers for years.
We now have a historic level of funding in our state's rainy day fund, caps on spending and borrowing, and we increased the state's efforts to pay down on our unfunded pension liabilities. And when Republicans gained an unprecedented equal number of seats in the Senate as Democrats held, we developed and adopted a historic agreement to run the Senate in partnership between the two parties. We put the institution and the people above politics. All of the above is what you the people elect us to do and what you expect of your lawmakers. I was just doing my job, a job I loved and was honored to do.
What I want to thank those in my district for is giving me the opportunity to serve the institution. The State Senate, and in fact the entire political process, can sometimes be overwhelming, but it is always informative. People from all backgrounds including ethnicity, religion, life experiences, income levels, social beliefs and viewpoints fill the building on a daily basis. Listening to their stories, their emotion-filled testimony, and how they experience the world changes your perception. That’s why it is called the “People’s Building” because it is the place where ideas are exchanged and discussions and fair debate are welcomed with open arms. The institution lives and is defined by the above fundamental function of government. Although senators come and go and society may change its beliefs on certain laws, it is the institution that must and will always survive.
I am a changed person because of the people of the 34th District, the people of the State of Connecticut, and because of the Senate Chamber. I have changed the way I think and, most importantly, how I think. This change made me a better person on all fronts, as a father, husband, son, grandfather and as a lawyer. I always tell people if you are the same person on the first day you are sworn in as you are the day you leave, then you missed the greatest opportunity the institution has to offer.
By giving me an opportunity to serve, you have done more for me than you could ever imagine. While I am sad to leave office, I remain deeply invested in our state and have so many hopes for its future. I know our district is in good hands with Senator-elect Paul Cicarella and I encourage you to get to know him and allow him to get to know you and what you think the state must do to make Connecticut an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
I love our state deeply and have been beyond honored to serve you. I cannot say it enough: thank you for the last 18 years and how you have helped shaped who I am as a person.
Senator Len Fasano has represented the 34th Senate District, including Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford, since 2003 and has served as Connecticut Senate Republican Leader since 2015. He is retiring from the Senate at the end of this year.