With the start of a new legislative session in Hartford last week, it was also time to mark a rare change in the face of Greenwich’s delegation.
Incumbency has its value throughout the state in any election, but particularly so in Greenwich, where Republicans have overcome every challenge town Democrats have thrown at them for nearly 100 years. So it’s only when a Republican retires from Greenwich’s delegation that a new face is added to the mix, and this year it was freshly minted state Rep. Stephen Walko (R-150th District), who got that honor when he succeeded Lile Gibbons, who did not run for a seventh term in Hartford.
Mr. Walko was formally sworn in last Wednesday and joins returning Greenwich legislators state Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-36th District) and state Reps. Livvy Floren (R-149th District) and Fred Camillo (R-151st District). Both Mr. Camillo and Mr. Frantz were easily elected last November to third terms in office, and Ms. Floren, too, was the beneficiary of a landslide win as she began her seventh term.
For his first term, Mr. Walko will be a member of the Finance, Judiciary and Education committees.
In a press release, he said he was looking forward to applying his experience as the former chairman of the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation to the legislature.
“Greenwich is known for its efficient use of taxpayer funds, and I would like to bring more of that same Greenwich thinking to Hartford,” Mr. Walko said.
Mr. Walko and his colleagues have a busy two years ahead of them, as committee assignments were made official last week with the new term. Mr. Frantz, whose district includes all of Greenwich as well as portions of Stamford and New Canaan, said in a press release that he was honored to be able to continue to serve his constituents, and while there were a lot of challenges ahead, he was “confident that we can continue to improve state government.”
Mr. Frantz, who is now a deputy minority leader for the Senate’s Republican caucus, will serve as the ranking member on both the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and the Commerce Committee. He has also been appointed to the Transportation and Legislative Management committees. Since the Commerce Committee has tax-writing power, this is a major assignment for the three-term state senator.
“I am honored to have been chosen to be the ranking member of this committee and will help lead the efforts to develop a more responsible state budget for the next two years while minimizing the tax burden on individuals and businesses,” Mr. Frantz said, adding that he would push for legislation aimed at improving the state’s business environment and promoting economic growth. “Connecticut consistently ranks low in measures of our business environment because of high taxes and burdensome regulations. I plan on addressing these concerns in the Commerce Committee and supporting policies that will put our state back on the path of economic growth and job creation.”
On the Transportation Committee, Mr. Frantz pledged to advocate for legislation to improve public transportation, modernize and expand commuter rail lines, and improve parking resources. He said he would “keep the state from diverting transportation funds from the special transportation fund account.”
In his third term in office, Mr. Camillo was named ranking member of the legislature’s Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee by House Republican Leader state Rep. Larry Cafero. This committee is responsible for all matters relating to the consideration and duties of a nominee for the position of a department head, including all executive and legislative nominations requiring action of either or both chambers, nominations of workers’ compensation commissioners, and nominations of members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
For the 2013-15 legislative session, Mr. Camillo will be in the highest appointed position of the Republican Party on the committee. In a press release put out by his office, Mr. Camillo said he was happy to have the assignment.
“Being part of the confirmation process at an early point will be a role I look forward to being in, and I will do my best to make sure that each person has a fair and thorough review so that our state will continue to have wonderful employees and qualified volunteers,” Mr. Camillo said.
Mr. Camillo will also serve on the legislature’s Commerce Committee, where he served as ranking member for the previous term. He will also serve on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee. The Commerce Committee oversees matters relating to the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Connecticut Development Authority and Connecticut Innovations Inc. The Insurance and Real Estate Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to insurance law and real estate law.
Ms. Floren is beginning her third term as ranking member of the legislature’s General Bonding Sub-Committee, which is responsible for all matters relating to capital bonding. For the 2013-15 legislative session, Ms. Floren will be in the highest appointed position of the Republican Party on the sub-committee.
“My main concerns moving forward are to keep debt under control and bond for the greater good. I would also like to continue along the path of keeping our seniors in their homes,” Ms. Floren said in a press release.
Ms. Floren also announced her legislative committee assignments for the upcoming two years. She will also serve on the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and Aging Committee.
The Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee oversees all matters relating to finance, revenue, capital bonding, fees, and taxation. The committee is also responsible for employer contributions for unemployment compensation and all matters relating to the Department of Revenue Services and the revenue aspects of the Division of Special Revenue. The Aging Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to senior citizens.