HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s like the first day of school for newly elected freshman legislators. The Connecticut General Assembly held caucuses just days after Tuesday’s election to set their agendas and pick leaders.
“You are a coach, foremost,” State Rep. Matt Ritter, the newly re-elected Speaker of the House said. “That’s how I think of myself. You’re a coach of a very large, talented, opinionated team.”
Democrats maintained their control of the House and Senate, running on the bipartisan budget passed in 2017 that resulted in a record-breaking rainy-day fund and historic pension payments.
“We’re already talking about a special session,” Ritter said. “I spoke to the governor today [Friday], and the Senate president, and we’re looking at the gas tax continuing that that cut to the gas tax, thinking about the winter.”
Republican House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora was also re-elected. His caucus also focused on extending the gas tax cut and adding diesel fuel.
“I’m glad to see Democrats are coming along, you know, to extend that gas tax, but we also have to have a conversation about diesel,” Candelora said. “If we’re worried about the economy, we need to pay attention to our trucking industry.”
Voter turnout hovered at 57.53%, according to unofficial reports from the state. In 2018, it was 65.23%.
There are a number of races too close to call in the House.
“We won some Democrats seats that are held sort of in the blue-collar communities,” Candelora said.
“We have one that’s 25, one that is 6, and one that is one vote,” Ritter said. “So anybody watching at home who says, ‘should I vote? does my vote count?’ We have a state rep seat that came down to one vote.”
Over in the Senate, Democrats re-elected Martin Looney of New Haven as president of the Senate.
“While there are still some races too close to call, this election showed the people of Connecticut overwhelming support Democratic leadership,” Looney told News 8.
There is a recount in Greenwich. His caucus re-elected Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly.
Republicans welcomed Senator-elects from around the state.
“CT Democrats have promised to deliver more surpluses, tax cuts, and relief from inflation,” Kelly told News 8. “It’s what middle-class families want, and Republicans…. are going to hold Democrats accountable. “
Those House recounts are scheduled for next week. The special session on a cut to the gas tax could be around the holidays.