CT senator crossed aisle to vote for Republican budget - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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CT senator crossed aisle to vote for Republican budget

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Senator Paul Doyle spoke exclusively with Channel 3 about his historic decision. (WFSB) Senator Paul Doyle spoke exclusively with Channel 3 about his historic decision. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Right now, a Republican proposed budget is making its way to the governor's desk. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy says he will veto the bill and is calling for renewed bi-partisan compromise

There was a shakeup when three Democratic lawmakers unexpectedly turned the tide in the Senate by backing the Republican budget last week.

Senator Paul Doyle spoke exclusively with Channel 3 about his historic decision, saying he knew crossing the aisle on the budget vote would anger many in his own party, but he says he followed two things that have served him well in the past -- his gut and his conscience.

“Over the last few months, I’ve lost a lot of sleep. This is by far the most difficult vote of my career,” said Doyle, of Wethersfield, who has been a state lawmaker for more than two decades.

All that experience did not prepare him for the pressure he faced on Friday afternoon.

After hours of internal debate, Doyle, along with two other Democratic state senators, broke with their party and supported the Republican budget proposal. 

Doyle says he made the decision late Friday morning, but it wasn't easy pushing the yes button.

“It was a difficult push because I knew I was going to disappoint people,” Doyle said.

Many of the disappointed people were Doyle’s fellow Senate Democrats. Right afterward, Democratic Senate President Martin Looney said on CT-N that he was surprised by the vote, although there were some signs of dissension.

“I asked two of the members where they were on the Republican budget at the beginning of the debate and the third one was not in the chamber at that point and their response was we want to listen to the debate and then we'll decide,” Looney said.

When asked if Doyle and the other Democrats who crossed the aisle would be punished for their vote, Looney said he was non-committal.

“That’s really an internal caucus matter. Not to be discussed, it's a matter for the 18 of us to come together and talk about,” Looney said.

Doyle said he has no regrets. He says he voted for the Republican proposal because he feels it's simply better than the Democratic budget

“In politics, I go with my gut, I was contemplating voting for it but at the last minute, my gut just said this doesn't seem right. I don't think it's good for the citizens of Connecticut,” Doyle said.

If Malloy follows through on his pledge to veto the bill, Doyle will return to the negotiating table.

“I'm looking to the future my focus right now is trying to work as best I can to help get a bipartisan budget. That’s what the citizens want that's what I’m hearing every day,” Doyle said.

When asked if he’s concerned about the fact that Malloy claims the Republican budget proposal is not balanced, Doyle said he's not worried because every budget has some flaws. 

Doyle says he is optimistic that lawmakers will reach a compromise that works for everyone if Malloy does veto the budget.

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