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First Republican woman to lead House in Connecticut history not seeking re-election


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State Representative Themis Klarides announced this week that she will not seek re-election. This is the third legislative leader to leave state politics in as many weeks.

She is the first female Republican House leader in state history.

“I’m just so honored for this privilege and opportunity for the past 22 years from my district to the state, my caucus,” the House Minority Leader told News 8.

An emotional Klarides said the decision not to run for re-election after she finishes her term next January was difficult.

“It’s an experience I’ll never have no matter what I do.”

Young girls and older women often remind her she’s a trail blazer.

“You go to speak to the second-grade classes, right, and they say, ‘I want to run for president or how did you do what you wanted to do? Or I want to be like you.’ You know that is probably the most rewarding part.”

There’s also the not so rewarding reminder.

“You’ll go to a meeting and someone will think you are the secretary because you are the only girl in the room,” Klarides said. “It doesn’t happen much anymore because they usually know who I am.”

In 1999, she won her seat representing Derby, Woodbridge and Orange. A champion of healthcare, education and lower taxes, this year Klarides revealed she’s engaged to Eversource executive Greg Butler.

She said a run for U.S. Senate, or governor is could be the horizon.

“My mind is open to different opportunities going forward because public service is not over for me. I know that in my gut.”

Before Representative Klarides plans a run for higher office, she’s planning a September wedding.

If you believe in signs, one at the end of her street is tell tale: “Governor’s Way.”

The legislative session officially ends on May 6. Due to the coronavirus, the Capitol Complex has been shut down. There could be a special session late this summer.

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