MARTIN M. LOONEY
PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE STATE SENATE
Martin Looney currently is in his fifteenth 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, in January 2019, and again in January 2021.
Prior to his election as Senate President, Senator Looney served 12 years as Senate Majority Leader. Prior to becoming Majority Leader, he served three terms as Senate Chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee; one term as Senate Chair of the Banks Committee; and one term as the Senate 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 House 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, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, Youth Continuum, Hospital of St. Raphael, ACES, Life Haven, New Reach, 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 Connecticut's 25th Senatorial District, which includes Norwalk and Darien. Re-elected in 2022, he was chosen by his colleagues in 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2023 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 has helped bring businesses to the state and played a leading role in championing landmark jobs legislation.
As Chair of the legislature’s Housing Committee, he created the state’s first Housing Trust Fund to build more affordable housing in Connecticut. As Chair of the 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. Included was the foreclosure mediation program, Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program to help those unemployed or underemployed avoid foreclosure and a law that provides tools to municipalities ensuring lenders maintain their vacant properties. Bob’s consumer advocacy continued as he went on to Chair the Energy and Technology Committee. As Chair, Bob championed two major pieces of 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, he is most proud of his role in 2017 leading the rewrite of the state’s decades old education funding formula to better help children in our urban centers and those who live in poverty.
In addition, the Senate Democratic caucus has achieved numerous legislative victories. The caucus passed legislation standing up for DREAMers, the National Popular Vote, net neutrality, data privacy, health care access, Time’s Up, gun safety, LGBTQ rights, equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, children's mental health, fiscal responsibility, and paying down our long-term debt.
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.
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 twenty nine 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 in Norwalk with their rescue dog, Molly.
KEVIN C. KELLY
MINORITY LEADER OF THE STATE SENATE
State Senator Kevin C. Kelly was elected Senate Republican Leader in 2020. He represents the 21st Senatorial District which includes the towns of Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford.
Senator Kelly is the Senate Republican Ranking Member of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee and the Legislative Management Committee. He also serves on the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee and the Regulation Review Committee.
Senator Kelly is an advocate for common sense solutions to make Connecticut more affordable for middle-class families. He prioritizes environmental stewardship, health care access, and issues pertaining to Connecticut’s senior citizens.
Senator Kelly has made an impact in many substantive areas of law dealing with health insurance and hospitals, Medicaid, aging in place initiatives, family caregivers, women’s health care, school safety, and consumer protection.
Senator Kelly has worked to improve the lives of seniors by strengthening elder abuse laws and improving aging in place initiatives which encourage independent living with dignity. In 2021 Senator Kelly successfully passed legislation to strengthen protections for nursing home residents and their loved ones in response to the pain and suffering experienced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also successfully advocated for and passed legislation to increase the personal needs allowance for nursing home residents and to fight age discrimination in the workplace. In 2015, Senator Kelly played an important role in the passage of the CARE Act which requires hospitals to provide caregivers the important information and services they need to care for their loved ones at home upon discharge.
Senator Kelly has worked to increase the access, quality, and affordability of health care in Connecticut. He was central to the enactment of An Act Concerning Life Insurance Producer Licenses which protects insurance consumers from unethical stockbrokers. He led efforts to pass historic legislation that establishes pregnancy as a qualifying life event, so pregnant women can obtain health insurance during their pregnancy and access needed prenatal care.
Senator Kelly has been recognized for his extensive work on health care access and affordability, job growth, environmental protection, and supporting seniors, receiving awards from AARP, the Connecticut Oral Health Initiative, the Greater Connecticut/Western Massachusetts Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the Radiological Society of Connecticut, the Connecticut Association of Optometrists, the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association.
Senator Kelly is an elder law attorney and the owner of Kevin Kelly & Associates, PC; a Stratford law firm.
Prior to working in private practice, he worked as an investigator for the Department of Social Services for over 13 years.
Senator Kelly earned his bachelor’s degree at Assumption College (B.A. 1982), his master’s degree at Fairfield University (M.A. 1985), and his law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law (J.D. 1997).
He resides in Stratford with his spouse Cindy. Their family includes four children and seven grandchildren.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Rep. Matt Ritter, a lifelong Hartford resident, is Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives.
He was first elected in 2010 to the Connecticut General Assembly where he represents the 1st Assembly District in Hartford.
As Speaker of the House, Matt led passage of a law eliminating the "poverty tax," state liens on people who have in the past depended on state assistance; and championed a historic investment in children's mental health.
Matt served four years as House Majority Leader and two years as the Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee where he worked to address the opioid crisis, 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 been named one of the Hartford Business Journal's "40 Under Forty," been honored by the North Central Regional Mental Health Board, been named a "Community Champion" by the Connecticut Community Providers Association, received the "Graduate of the Past Decade Impact Award" from the UConn School of Law Alumni Association, been named "Legislator of the Year" by the CT Chapter of the American College of Physicians and been recognized by the Connecticut State Medical Society.
Matt has also been recognized by the Oral Health Society, Voices of Women of Color, HARC, the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association, AARP-CT, Connecticut Radiologists, and received the Sen. Chris Murphy award from the Connecticut Young Democrats.
Because of his commitment to children's mental health reforms, The Village honored Matt as a Champion for Children. His commitment to open government yielded Matt the Bice Clemow Award from the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), made up of the state's municipal leaders, honored Matt as a legislative champion for his commitment to cities and towns. For his work to aide the hospitality industry during the pandemic, Matt was recognized by the Connecticut Restaurant 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 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 Goldendoodle Finnegan.
MAJORITY LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Jason Rojas is proud to serve the 9th Assembly District, which is composed of parts of East Hartford and Manchester. The district covers much of southeastern East Hartford (Hills Street, Oak Street, Silver Lane, Forbes Street, as well as the Mayberry Village and Sunset Hills neighborhoods) and a portion of southwest Manchester (neighborhoods of Keeney and Verplanck elementary schools and Hillstown).
Jason serves as House Majority Leader. In this role, he will work alongside Speaker of the House, Matt Ritter, to shape policy priorities and is responsible for managing the legislative process.
A lifelong resident of East Hartford, Jason attended East Hartford Public Schools and was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a history degree from the University of Connecticut and a master's degree in public policy from Trinity College.
Outside of the legislature, Jason serves as the Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Affairs to the President of Trinity College. He has served on the board of directors of numerous nonprofits including three nonprofit housing development organizations and the Board of Trustees of the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford. Jason currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Manchester Community College Foundation, the East Hartford Alumni Association and Education Foundation, and the iQuilt Partnership and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Jason is also Trustee of the Connecticut Historical Society.
Jason is a former member of the East Hartford Town Council, the East Hartford Board of Education and the New England Association of Schools & Colleges Commission on Public Secondary Schools.
Jason's policy interests include government finance and tax policy, regionalism, affordable housing, education funding and literacy. He is committed to reforming government and how it serves the interests of people. Jason puts a particular emphasis on constituent service and encourages constituents to contact him with concerns, questions and ideas about how to move our district, communities and state forward.
Jason is married to his high school sweetheart, Sarah, and they have three children and three cats named Kix, Noodles and Lucky.
REPUBLICAN LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora is state representative for the 86th District serving residents of North Branford, Durham, East Haven and Guilford.
He was elected to his ninth term in November 2022, and House Republican legislators--for the second time--chose him as their caucus leader shortly thereafter.
Aside from serving as a state representative, Candelora’s long record of civic involvement includes three terms on North Branford’s Town Council as well as one as deputy mayor. He’s volunteered for the town’s public school system, and he’s a past president of both North Branford’s Chamber of Commerce and its Rotary Club. He currently serves as a Trustee of St. Ambrose Parish in North Branford.
During his time serving in the General Assembly, Candelora has served on a wide variety of legislative committees. He has also led the House Republican caucus Screening Committee that reviews legislation before it’s put up for a vote in the House of Representatives. Prior to becoming House Republican Leader, Candelora served as Deputy Leader of the caucus.
Candelora's time leading the caucus has been characterized by advocacy for increased government transparency, stabilization of Connecticut's finances, and improving its business climate.
Candelora graduated from Connecticut College in 1992 with a degree in Government and Economics, and in 1995 received his Juris Doctor from Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University.
Outside the legislature, Candelora helps run two family-owned businesses--a manufacturing company and a sportsplex. He has also practiced municipal and transactional law at New Haven-based Susman, Duffy, & Segaloff, P.C., and he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Antoinette L. Dupont, former Chief Judge of the Appellate Court of Connecticut.