HARTFORD - The state House of Representatives kicked off its 2019 session Wednesday by re-electing Joe Aresimowicz as its speaker.
Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, took the gavel for his second term, which runs through the start of the 2021 session.
Having previously said this will be his seventh and last term as a state representative, Aresimowicz, the education coordinator for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 4, outlined a few priorities he’d like to address during this session, which runs through June 5.
“Let’s not look at D.C. as the example,” said Aresimowicz. “Let’s make D.C. look at Connecticut as the example.”
Without going into much detail, Aresimowicz said his priorities include strengthening the state’s workforce by preparing students for jobs and streamlining government services. He also advocates expanding small businesses’ access to funding.
He also would like to ensure that residents have access to family medical leave and quality medical insurance, and plans to develop a “new green deal” to fund and expand energy efficiency, renewable energy and “resiliency measures” in the state’s cities and towns.
Aresimowicz is the only House speaker to hail from Berlin, according to House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, who nominated him for the post.
Ritter commended the positive attitude Aresimowicz brings to the job, also praising his work with hospitals and job readiness programs.
Aresimowicz opened his speech by thanking candidates for running and their families for supporting them before acknowledging previous House speakers in attendance. He also acknowledged the leadership and cooperation of other lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Themis Klaridis, R-Derby.
“We live in the most amazing government in the world, in a democracy where we can be here,” Klaridis told the whole chamber. “Where women can stand here, where people of color can stand here, where every religion can stand here.”
Klaridis also spoke about newly sworn-in Gov. Ned Lamont, calling him the fresh start the state needs.
State Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato, R-Bristol, silently telegraphed her political stance by wearing a red dress with the letters MAGA (standing for Make America Great Again) printed on it.
Before House rules were adopted and a committee established to investigate the contested election in the 120th District, another Berlin resident was elected to a role for the upcoming session. Fred Jortner, a former Democratic Town Committee chairman and town councilor, will be House clerk.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.