Slossberg will find new ways to serve

State Sen. Gayle Slossberg, who announced last week that she will not run again for her seat, said the time has come to find new ways of being a representative of the people.

“I decided not to run again because I am ready to try new ways of advocating for people,” Slossberg said this week. “After 14 years, I am ready for a new challenge. I am not ready to say what that will be, but I am excited about the next chapter in my life.”

Sitting in her living room last week, surrounded by family and friends, Slossberg (D-14) announced that after 14 years in the state Senate, she will not seek re-election this November.

“Fourteen years ago almost to the day, I announced my run for the state Senate, pledging to work day and night for the people of Milford, Orange, West Haven, and now Woodbridge,” she said in a statement she released after her Friday announcement. “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.

“I promised I would be a positive force focusing on the issues that matter most to our community: jobs and a strong economy that provides opportunities for all, a quality education for every child, health care for all and dignity and respect for our seniors and our veterans.”

In her 14 years in the state Senate, Slossberg has held chairmanships in an array of areas. She led Connecticut’s first Select Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she championed the most comprehensive package of benefits for veterans since World War II and developed the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal that has since been awarded to thousands of state veterans.

For six years, Slossberg chaired the Government, Administration and Election Committee,  where she passed significant government reforms relating to ethics, clean contracting, eliminating waste in government, and same-day voter registration.

As the vice chair of Public Health for a decade, Slossberg overhauled the state’s lead poisoning laws, resulting in a 50% reduction rate. She ensured that there are lifesaving AEDs in every school and that breast self-examination is taught in schools. As chair of the Human Services Committee, she argued for a fair system for nonprofit providers and led the charge to improve the auditing process. She has been a consistent advocate for mental health and developed the state’s mental health clearinghouse, a resource to help families connect with the services they need.

She said she is proud of her efforts to boost the economy and make Connecticut the first state in the nation to provide a state-sponsored SAT for every high school student. She said she was proud to cast one of the deciding votes to repeal the death penalty, delivering a floor speech that was reproduced around the world. She supported civil unions, gay marriage, increasing the minimum wage, hate crimes legislation, and sensible gun safety legislation that has led the nation.  

Slossberg opposed the Silver Sands buildout, passing legislation to stop it in the Senate. As the chairwoman of the Housing Committee, she successfully led passage of legislation to reform the affordable housing appeals procedure. She has been a tireless advocate for Milford Hospital, helping to ensure the hospital’s future.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) released the following statement following Slossberg’s announcement.

“From the Milford Board of Aldermen to the Connecticut State Senate, Senator Gayle Slossberg has been a leader on education policy and an effective advocate for her district. Over the last 14 years, Senator Slossberg has been a fighter for the communities of Milford, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge. 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.”

Rich Smith, Milford Democratic Town Committee chairman, said, “Gayle’s retirement from the State Senate is a loss to the state and to the 14th District. Over the course of her career she has managed to set the standard by which legislators should be measured. She approached no issue superficially; before taking a position, she would listen to her constituents and do extensive research. When she finally took a position or cast a vote, while you may not always agree with her position, you would never disagree that she did her homework and understood the issue.”

Slossberg faced the political environment we all see around us today, one that has become “toxically partisan,” Smith said.

“She worked to transcend that divide and in doing so attracted criticism from both sides. In my estimation, if everyone is a little upset with you, you’re probably doing something right.”

Smith said Slossberg leaves the office immensely popular in her district, and had she chosen to run again, she would have won easily.

“Instead, she’s going out on her terms and can certainly look back on her Senate career with pride and a great sense of accomplishment,” Smith said.