Brendan Sharkey, speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives, is retiring. The 54-year-old Hamden Democrat announced his retirement in a closed door meeting with his staff in Hartford on Monday.
Sharkey’s announcement comes after a very difficult legislative session in which lawmakers had to deal with a ballooning budget deficit. He also had to deal with a difficult situation, the Sandy Hook school shooting, shortly after he took office four years ago.
Themis Klarides, a Derby Republican, is House minority leader. She says she has empathy for Sharkey, considering the difficulties the speaker has had to deal with, including clashing with Governor Dannel Malloy over the budget deficit.
“When you have a governor that is very difficult to work with from your own party, when you have a minority party that has taken 27 seats in the last three election cycles, when you combine all of those, you realize that it is not so easy to be in charge of everybody, and I think that is what he was realizing.”
With Sharkey retiring, there are now 22 Connecticut state lawmakers – 20 from the House and two from the Senate – who are not seeking re-election this year. Many say they are exhausted from the budget fights and constantly having to explain cuts in state services to their constituents.