MARTIN M. LOONEY
PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE STATE SENATE
Martin Looney currently is in his fourteenth term, having been elected to the State Senate in 1992, following six terms as a State Representative. In January of 2015, Senator Looney was elected by the members of the State Senate to serve as President Pro Tempore, the highest-ranking legislator in the Connecticut General Assembly. He was re-elected to that position in January of 2017 and again in January 2019.
Prior to his election as Senate President, Senator Looney served 12 years as Senate Majority Leader. Prior to becoming Majority Leader, he served six years as Senate Chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee; Chairman of the Banks Committee; and one term as Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee.
During his six-term tenure as State Representative, beginning in 1981, Senator Looney was appointed an Assistant Majority Leader and served as Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, the Government Administration and Elections Committee, and the Appropriations Judicial Subcommittee, and as Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee.
Senator Looney has received many awards and accolades, including the 2014 Coalition Crusader Award for work with domestic violence issues, the 2014 National Coalition for Capital Champion of Small Business Award, the 2015 AARP Capitol Caregiver Award, the 2016 CT AFL-CIO Senator Christopher Dodd Award for outstanding commitment and dedication to the working men and women of Connecticut, the 2017 CT Probate Assembly Public Service Award, and the 2017 CT Bar Association Special Recognition Award.
Other associations that have honored the Senator include: The American Lung Association, Autism Speaks, CT Association for Human Services, the CT Dental Association, the MS Society, Coalition for Working Families, CT Society of Eye Physicians, Hill Health Center, Youth Continuum, Hospital of St. Raphael, ACES, Life Haven, and the Connecticut Kidney Association.
Senator Looney is a graduate of Saint Rose School in New Haven, Notre Dame High School in West Haven, and is a cum laude graduate of Fairfield University, where at commencement he was awarded Departmental Honors in English and Theology. He was selected as a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow for graduate study and earned a master's degree in English from the University of Connecticut.
He received his J.D. in 1985 from the University of Connecticut School of Law and, since his admission to the Connecticut Bar in 1985, has been engaged in the general practice of Law. He is a partner in the law firm of Keyes and Looney. He is also a practitioner in residence with the Criminal Justice Program in the Department of Public Safety at the University of New Haven in West Haven and is an adjunct faculty member in the Political Science Department at Quinnipiac University in Hamden and also at Quinnipiac Law School in North Haven.
Senator Looney resides in New Haven with his wife, Ellen. They have one son, Michael, and are proud grandparents to Matthew, Anna Katherine, and Isabel Grace.
MAJORITY LEADER OF THE STATE SENATE
Senator Bob Duff represents the 25th Senatorial District, which includes Norwalk and Darien. Re-elected to the State Senate in 2018, he was chosen by his Senate colleagues in 2015, 2017 and 2019 to serve as Senate Majority Leader.
Bob’s Norwalk family ties go back five generations. His passion for public service began at the age of eight. That’s when Bob voiced his concerns for the future of Duffy Field to then-mayor William Collins. Today, we still have Duffy Field — now renamed Veterans Park.
Since joining the legislature, Bob has been a tireless advocate for job creation in Connecticut. He played a leading role in championing landmark jobs legislation. As part of this legislation, later expanded, Connecticut created the Small Business Express Program which provides loans and grants to small business to spur business growth and promote new jobs.
Bob has earned a reputation as a consumer watchdog. As Chair of the legislature’s Banking Committee, Bob worked to safeguard Connecticut homeowners from the ravages of predatory lending by creating a package of first-in-the-nation reforms to reduce the number of home foreclosures in the state. Bob’s consumer advocacy continued as he went on to Chair the Energy and Technology Committee. As Chair, Bob championed two pieces of major energy legislation which taken together implement a new comprehensive energy strategy for Connecticut, restructuring support for renewable sources of electricity to provide for cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy for consumers and businesses.
Under Bob’s tenure as Majority Leader, the Senate Democratic caucus has achieved numerous legislative victories. Most recently, the Senate Democratic caucus passed legislation standing up for DREAMers, the National Popular Vote, net neutrality, data privacy, health care access, gun safety, LGBTQ rights and equal pay for equal work.
Bob has long been fierce in promoting the needs of his district by securing funding to assist in the rebuilding of Norwalk’s downtown, supporting school upgrades, creating & rehabilitating affordable housing and passionately supporting arts organizations, like the Wall Street Theater, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and the Music Theatre of Connecticut to name a few.
Throughout his legislative career, Bob has been honored by The Workplace Inc., AARP of Connecticut, the Lockwood-Matthews Mansion Museum, the Save Cranbury Association, Side-by-Side Charter School, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, Greater Stamford Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Development Council, the Maritime Aquarium, the Norwalk NAACP and the Norwalk Marching Bears, Inc.
After graduating Norwalk Public Schools, Bob earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Lynchburg College in Virginia. There, Bob honed his political skills as a student senator, campus leader and intern for U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT).
In May 2010, Bob returned to Lynchburg College to deliver the commencement address to the graduating class and was awarded the degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters.
Bob has been a real estate professional with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty for over twenty years. Prior to his election to the Senate, Bob represented Norwalk’s 137th Assembly District for three years.
Bob, his wife, Tracey, and their two children live on Toilsome Avenue in Norwalk with their rescue dog, Molly.
LEONARD A. FASANO
MINORITY LEADER OF THE STATE SENATE
State Senator Len Fasano has represented the 34th Senate District communities of Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford since 2003.
Len Fasano has served as leader of the Senate Republican Caucus since 2014. He has championed bipartisan policies to benefit taxpayers, promote fiscal stability, and protect core services for the most vulnerable. Recent legislative accomplishments include developing first-in-the-nation legislation to make prescription drugs more affordable and bring transparency to health care, passing historic bipartisan state budgets with spending caps and bonding caps, and developing proposals to reform criminal justice, education funding, and bring more opportunities to Connecticut cities.
As leader of the Senate Republican Caucus, Senator Fasano is committed to making state government more cost-effective and efficient. He rallied bipartisan support to implement a spending cap, after decades of attempts by lawmakers to define the cap approved over 25 years ago. He also championed a bonding cap and volatility cap to reduce state debt and create more stability in state finances.
Senator Fasano established an urban affairs initiative in 2014 to start a dialogue between Republican lawmakers and Connecticut cities to enhance educational and economic opportunities. He has also proposed plans to reform the state’s justice system, to reduce recidivism and help people access the tools they need to succeed.
An advocate for the most vulnerable, Sen. Fasano has been named a “Children’s Champion” by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance and has proposed legislation to reform the state’s child welfare agency to better protect, monitor and support the children in its care. He has worked closely with advocates for individuals with disabilities, passing legislation to address the growing needs of individuals on the state’s waitlist for services and legislation to better protect children with disabilities who are suspected or documented victims of abuse and neglect.
Senator Fasano is the co-creator of the Bipartisan Round Table on Hospitals and Health Care, established in 2014 in partnership with Senator Martin Looney to help ensure access to affordable quality care in Connecticut. Senator Fasano, whose father was a doctor in New Haven, has advocated for legislation that seeks to remedy the problems caused by the rapid consolidation of physician practices in Connecticut and the resulting impacts on health care costs and patient choice. He was also successful in passing bipartisan legislation to bring more transparency to medical expenses and to ban “gag clauses” that prevented pharmacists from telling consumers if cheaper prescription drug alternatives were available.
Senator Fasano is the President and Founder of Fasano, Ippolito, Lee, & Florentine, a law firm with offices in New Haven and Branford. He is also an East Haven business owner. Fasano earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Yale University in 1981, a Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac Law School in 1984, and an L.L.M. Degree in Taxation from Boston University Law School in 1985.
Senator Fasano has spent all of his life in New Haven and surrounding communities. He has three adult children and two grandchildren. He currently resides in North Haven with his wife.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
State Representative Joe Aresimowicz was first elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 2004 to represent the 30th House District, which includes Berlin and Southington, and is currently serving his eighth term in the legislature and second term as Speaker of the House. He previously served as House Majority Leader for the 2013-2016 legislative sessions.
Honorably discharged from the United States Army Reserve, where he served as a combat medic for almost a decade, veterans issues are very important to Joe. During his tenure in the legislature, he has served as a long-time member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. He has also served on the Public Safety and Security Committee, the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, the Commerce Committee, and was vice chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.
During his 15 years as a state representative, Joe has received many awards and accolades. The Connecticut High School Coaches Association named him an Outstanding Coach of the Year and awarded him with the Joseph J. Fontana Distinguished Service Award. He has received the CT Community Providers Association's Community Champion Award for his outstanding leadership in supporting community provider organizations. He has been named a Children's Champion by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for his work to ensure that Connecticut's young children remain a legislative priority. He has also received multiple AARP Legislative Achievement Awards for his leadership on retirement savings.
Other organizations that have honored Joe include: the American Legion, the Connecticut State Firefighters Association, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut, the Connecticut Association of Optometrists, the Connecticut State Medical Society, the Alliance of Connecticut YMCAs, the Connecticut Society of Eye Physicians, the Connecticut River Salmon Association, and the Radiological Society of Connecticut.
Community and public service are very important to Joe. Prior to being elected to the legislature, Joe served three terms on the Berlin Town Council. He currently serves as the head coach of the Berlin High School Football Team and has directed Berlin Midget Football for the past 18 years.
In addition to serving in the legislature, Joe is the Education Coordinator for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 4.
A lifelong Berlin resident, Joe attended public schools in Berlin through high school. He and his family reside in Berlin, where his two youngest children, Ryan and Katie, attend Berlin public schools and his oldest son Michael coaches football in Berlin.
MAJORITY LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Rep. Matt Ritter, a lifelong Hartford resident, was first elected in 2010 to the Connecticut General Assembly where he represents the 1st Assembly District in Hartford. This is Matt’s second term serving as House Majority Leader.
Prior to becoming the House Majority Leader, Matt served for two years as the Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee where he worked to pass legislation to help prevent deaths from opioid overdoses, increase hospital fee transparency, and require that more mental health services be covered by the private insurance market.
Since being elected in 2010, Matt has received a number of awards and recognitions. In 2014, Matt was named one of the Hartford Business Journal's "40 Under Forty" and chosen by the North Central Regional Mental Health Board, Inc., to receive a legislative award for his "outstanding and dedicated service in the Connecticut General Assembly on behalf of individuals with mental illness."
In 2015, Matt was named a "Community Champion" by the Connecticut Community Providers Association and was given a legislative recognition award by the Connecticut State Medical Society. In 2016, Matt received awards from the Oral Health Society for his work on water fluoridation and from HARC for his support of programs serving individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Matt has been honored by AARP-CT with their Family Caregiver Champion award and received the Sen. Chris Murphy award from the Connecticut Young Democrats. In 2018, Matt was recognized by the University of Connecticut School of Law Alumni Association.
Prior to being elected to the General Assembly, Matt served on the Hartford City Council for three years where he chaired the Planning & Economic Development and Legislative Affairs committees.
Matt graduated from Colby College in 2004 with a major in Government and received his law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law graduating with honors in 2007.
Matt is a practicing attorney in Hartford and resides in Hartford with his wife, Marilyn Katz, their two children Jack and Emma, and their dog, Dublin.
REPUBLICAN LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
State Representative Themis Klarides was elected to her 11th term representing the 114th House District which includes Woodbridge, Orange and Derby on November 8, 2018. Following the statewide elections, Representative Klarides was unanimously chosen for the third time as Leader by her House Republican colleagues – the first woman to hold the position. Representative Klarides held the title of Deputy Republican Leader from 2007 through 2014. As the House Republican Leader, Klarides is a member of the legislature’s committee on Legislative Management.
She continues to be an outspoken leader on issues regarding the state’s finances, job creation, education, taxes and many others. Representative Klarides has been active in her community, serving on numerous boards and civic organizations.
Since 2006, Representative Klarides has served on Griffin Hospital’s Board of Directors and in 2016 was named Second Vice Chairman. She is an outspoken advocate for first responders and public safety personnel including firefighters, police, and emergency medical technicians.
Over the years Representative Klarides has worked closely with The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services, a program of BHcare. Her commitment to advocacy is demonstrated through her work to assist victims of domestic violence and providing volunteer legal assistance to women and children at the shelter.
As a constant advocate for women’s health, Representative Klarides was recognized in 2018 by the Radiological Society of Connecticut. In that same year, Representative Klarides was honored by the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut for her work concerning holocaust and genocide education.
Representative Klarides was awarded the 2018 Prescott Bush Award, recognizing her political leadership and contribution to the development of politics in Connecticut. The first ever woman to hold the title of House Republican Leader, Representative Klarides has blazed a trail in her own right for generations to come.
A native of Seymour, Themis Klarides was raised around a family supermarket business that taught her the value of hard work and the rewards of community involvement. Her commitment to these values is exemplified through her years of community service with various municipal, state and regional groups. She is a former member of the Planning and Zoning Commission in Derby, and a former member of the Board of Finance in Seymour.
A graduate of Trinity College, Representative Klarides earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, and later earned her Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University School of Law. Currently practicing law in the State of Connecticut and in the United States District Court for Connecticut, Representative Klarides is of Counsel to Bridgeport-based Cohen and Wolf in the firm’s Orange office.