Slossberg says she won’t run again
State Sen. Gayle S. Slossberg, an occasional political lightning rod who opposed raising taxes and battled with the governor last year over funding for her city during the state budget crisis, announced Friday, March 9, that she would not seek re-election.
Speaking to a few friends in her home and with her family around her, the Milford Democrat said she won’t campaign for an eighth two-year term for the district of about 90,000 residents, including Orange, half of West Haven and a section of Woodbridge.
“It’s never been about me; it’s always about the people I represent,” Slossberg, co-chairman of the legislative Education Committee, said in an interview in her living room. She said it was almost 14 years to the day from when she first decided to run for the seat.
“Since then, I always listened to my constituents, did my homework and voted what I believed was in the best interests of my community and our state,” Slossberg said. “While I am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved, I am most grateful and humbled by the friends and neighbors who invited me into their homes to share their most personal and difficult issues.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, agreed that Slossberg has been a fighter for her district and a leader on educational issues.
“I wish Senator Slossberg, her husband, David, and their children nothing but the best as the senator moves toward the conclusion of her service in the state Senate, an institution that I know she deeply cherishes,” said Looney. The legislative session ends May 9.
Milford Mayor Ben Blake, an old friend and former colleague of Slossberg’s on that city’s Board of Aldermen, sat with her Friday. he said Slossberg has worked very hard for Milford and her constituents in the neighboring towns.
“I have a lot of respect for Gayle,” Blake said. “She’s hard-working, capable and competent. She has a level of tenacity and has been a good legislator. She’s done a lot to make Milford a better place.”
Blake said one change pushed by Slossberg in state public health law allows the city to save a million dollars a year in ambulance-service costs.
“The 50-year-old system was broken and inconsistent,” Blake said, “but the new law allowed us to take over locally, and now it is safer after being taken in-house.”
Last year, during the budget crisis, Slossberg, 52, was highly critical of a stop-gap plan by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that would have cut all state aid to wealthiest cities and towns, including Milford, with growing tax bases. She also fought unsuccessfully against a planned $10 million improvement plan for Silver Sands State Park.
Slossberg won another major victory when a bill that provided cities like Milford more leniency on requirements for affordable housing construction that was vetoed by Malloy was successfully overridden in the House and Senate.
Last fall, Slossberg, and fellow Democrats Sen. Joan Hartley of Waterbury and Sen. Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, sided with a Republican budget that was vetoed by Malloy. Doyle has announced a campaign to win the party nomination to run for attorney general this fall.
The planned retirement comes in the middle of a controversy over Malloy’s nomination of Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald, his former Capitol legal counsel, to become the next chief justice. Slossberg has recused herself from voting on the nomination in the Senate, where a partisan 18-18 tie exists.