- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Democrat House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said Monday he will not seek re-election to his seat representing Hamden in the House of Representatives and therefore won’t seek a third term as speaker.

The 54-year-old Sharkey officially informed his legislative staff of his plans. He has represented Hamden since 2001.

Sharkey said it was the right time to make the decision, noting how his four-year tenure as speaker has been marked by “very difficult decisions and challenges for the state of Connecticut” and it’s time for someone else to take on the job. He presided over the General Assembly’s response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown as well as series of state budgets riddled with massive deficits, including the latest $19.7 billion budget that cleared the House last week on a narrow 74-70 vote.

“Throughout, it’s been a challenge, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge,” he said, while also acknowledging how there’s been stress from the job that has “taken a toll on my family and my professional life outside this building.”

Sharkey owns a management consulting services business in Hamden.

It’s been a tradition that Connecticut speakers of the House typically retain the job for two terms, with two recent exceptions, former Reps. Tom Ritter, D-Hartford, and Moira Lyons, D-Stamford, who each served three terms. While Sharkey said he has enough support among House members for a third term, he believes the two-term tradition allows “other talented people to rise” through the ranks and “pursue their policy agendas.”

House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, an official with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, hopes to succeed Sharkey as speaker.


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