Democrat House Speaker Brendan Sharkey says he won't be seeking re-election to his seat representing Hamden in the House of Representatives and therefore won't seek a third term as Speaker.
The 54-year-old Sharkey informed his staff on Monday of his plans. He's represented Hamden since 2001.
Sharkey says it was the right time to make the decision. He says his four-year tenure as Speaker has been marked by "very difficult decisions and challenges for the state of Connecticut" and it's time for someone else to take on the job.
Sharkey presided over the General Assembly's response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown as well as series of budgets riddled with massive deficits.
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz of Berlin hopes to succeed Sharkey.
In a statement, the Connecticut Democrats said "Brendan Sharkey is a dedicated public servant who has not shied away from making the tough choices necessary to keep Connecticut moving forward. I am particularly proud that - facing a difficult fiscal situation - Speaker Sharkey, along with Governor Malloy and legislative leaders, passed a budget that puts our state on a path toward long-term stability. Through it all, he has put his constituents first, fighting for regionalism and other issues important to Hamden. I want to thank Speaker Sharkey for his service to our state. I look forward to continuing to work with the Speaker and future House Democratic Caucus leaders to make sure we re-elect Democratic majorities in the House."
In a statement, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said , “As colleagues in the House we shared an offbeat sense of humor and a tendency to be policy wonks. Working with Brendan was fun and substantive and I was glad to see him succeed me as House Majority Leader when I became Secretary of the State. Since that time I have appreciated his support to modernize elections and business services. He will always be a good friend and valuable ally and I will miss his wisdom and sharp wit around the Capitol. Who could forget his newsletter, Shark Bites, or his separated at birth cartoons? I think I got off easy with a comparison to Sally Field.”
Senate President Martin M. Looney released a statement, saying “Brendan is one of the brightest and most dedicated public officials with whom I have had the honor to serve. He has been a champion of regional initiatives and more efficient and effective government at the state and local level. From the day I met him when he was an official with the Town of Hamden more than twenty years ago, I have appreciated his counsel and friendship. His retirement is a great loss to the General Assembly and to the State of Connecticut.”
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