The Connecticut State Senate is the upper house of the Connecticut General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Connecticut. The state senate comprises 36 members, each representing a district with around 99,280 inhabitants. Senators are elected to two-year terms without term limits. The Connecticut State Senate is one of 14 state legislative upper houses whose members serve two-year terms; four-year terms are more common.
Connecticut State Senate
|Connecticut General Assembly|
New session started
|January 6, 2021|
Length of term
|Authority||Article III, Section 1, Connecticut Constitution|
|November 3, 2020|
|November 8, 2022|
|State Senate Chamber|
Connecticut State Capitol
|Official Senate Page|
As in other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the Senate is reserved with special functions such as confirming or rejecting gubernatorial appointments to the state's executive departments, the state cabinet, commissions and boards. Unlike a majority of U.S. state legislatures, both the Connecticut House of Representatives and the State Senate vote on the composition to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
The Senate has its basis in the earliest incarnation of the General Assembly, the "General Corte" established in 1636 whose membership was divided between at least six generally elected magistrates (the predecessor of the Senate) and three-member "committees" representing each of the towns of the Connecticut Colony (the predecessors of the House of Representatives). The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, adopted in 1639, renamed the committees to "deputies", the Corte to the Court, and established that the magistrates were generally elected for yearlong terms; the magistrate who received the highest number of votes would serve as governor for the year, so long as he had previously served as a magistrate and had not been governor the previous year. Other magistrates were elected deputy governor, secretary, and treasurer. Although the magistrates and deputies sat together, they voted separately and in 1645 it was decreed that a measure had to have the approval of both groups in order to pass. The Charter of 1662 replaced the six magistrates with twelve assistants, not including the governor and deputy governor, and renamed the legislature to the General Assembly. In 1698, the General Assembly split into a bicameral body, divided between the Council and the House of Representatives. The Council contained the twelve assistants, deputy governor, and governor, who led the body, while the House was led by a Speaker elected from among its members. Because the governor led it and other notables sat in it, the Council took precedence to the House and when the two chambers were at odds, the House deferred to the Council. The 1818 constitution renamed the Council to the Senate, removed the governor and deputy governor from its membership, and removed all remaining judicial and executive authority from it, but it remained largely the same in that it still consisted of twelve generally elected members. It was in 1828 that senatorial districts were established and the number of senators revised to between eight and twenty-four; the number was altered to between twenty-four and thirty-six in 1901, with the General Assembly setting it at thirty-six immediately. Senatorial terms were raised to two years in 1875.
Leadership of the SenateEdit
The Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut serves as the President of the Senate, but only casts a vote if required to break a tie. In his or her absence, the President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut Senate presides. The President pro tempore is elected by the majority party caucus followed by confirmation of the entire Senate through a Senate Resolution. The President pro tempore is the chief leadership position in the Senate. The Senate majority and minority leaders are elected by their respective party caucuses.
The President of the Senate is Susan Bysiewicz of the Democratic Party. The President pro tempore is Democrat Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). The Majority Leader is Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and the Minority Leader is Kevin C. Kelly (R-Stratford).
|Lieutenant Governor||Susan Bysiewicz||N/A|
|President Pro Tempore||Martin M. Looney||11|
|Majority Leader||Bob Duff||25|
|Minority Leader||Kevin C. Kelly||21|
Make-up of the SenateEdit
As of February 2019, the makeup of the Connecticut Senate consisted of 22 seats for Democrats and 14 seats for Republicans. In the 2020 elections, Democrats picked up Districts 6 and 17, giving them 24 seats to the Republicans' 12 seats. In a special election on August 17, 2021, Republicans won an open seat in the 36th district that was previously held by a Democrat giving them 13 seats to the Democrats' 23 seats.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of Previous Legislature: 2017-2019||18||18||36||0|
|February 26, 2019||22||14||36||0|
|August 17, 2021||23||13||36||0|
|Latest voting share||63.9%||36.1%||100%|
Members of the SenateEdit
Current members of the Connecticut Senate, as of March 8, 2021[update].
|District||Name||Party||Hometown||First elected||Towns represented||Occupation|
|1||John Fonfara||Dem||Hartford||1996||Hartford (part), Wethersfield (part)||Marketing Consultant|
|2||Douglas McCrory||Dem||Bloomfield||2017^||Bloomfield (part), Hartford (part), Windsor (part)|
|3||Saud Anwar||Dem||South Windsor||2019^||East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington (part), South Windsor||Physician|
|4||Steve Cassano||Dem||Manchester||2010||Andover, Bolton, Glastonbury, Manchester||Daycare Owner|
|5||Derek Slap||Dem||2019^||Bloomfield (part), Burlington, Farmington (part), West Hartford|
|6||Rick Lopes||Dem||New Britain||2020||Berlin, Farmington (part), New Britain|
|7||John Kissel||Rep||Enfield||1992||East Granby, Enfield, Granby (part), Somers, Suffield, Windsor (part), Windsor Locks||Corporate Attorney|
|8||Kevin Witkos||Rep||Canton||2008||Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby (part), Hartland, Harwinton (part), New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury, Torrington (part)||Utility Executive|
|9||Matt Lesser||Dem||Middletown||2018||Cromwell, Middletown (part), Newington, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield (part)|
|10||Gary Winfield||Dem||New Haven||2014^||New Haven (part), West Haven (part)||Photographer, Business Owner|
|11||Martin Looney||Dem||New Haven||1993||Hamden (part), New Haven (part), North Haven (part)||Attorney|
|12||Christine Cohen||Dem||Guilford||2018||Branford, Durham (part), Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, North Branford||Owner of Cohen's Bagel Company, Guilford Board of Education member.|
|13||Mary Daugherty Abrams||Dem||Meriden||2018||Cheshire (part), Meriden, Middlefield, Middletown (part)|
|14||James Maroney||Dem||Milford||2018||Milford, Orange, West Haven (part), Woodbridge (part)||Retired Attorney|
|15||Joan Hartley||Dem||Waterbury||2000||Middlebury (part), Naugatuck (part), Waterbury (part)||Teacher|
|16||Robert Sampson||Rep||Wolcott||2018||Cheshire (part), Prospect, Southington, Waterbury (part), Wolcott||Realtor|
|17||Jorge Cabrera||Dem||Hamden||2020||Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden (part), Naugatuck (part), Woodbridge (part)|
|18||Heather Somers||Rep||Groton||2016||Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, Voluntown|
|19||Cathy Osten||Dem||Columbia||2012||Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville (part), Norwich, Sprague||Corrections officer|
|20||Paul Formica||Rep||East Lyme||2014||Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville (part), New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook (part), Salem, Waterford||Owner of Flanders Fish Market|
Former first selectman of East Lyme
|21||Kevin C. Kelly||Rep||Stratford||2010||Monroe (part), Seymour (part), Shelton, Stratford (part)|
|22||Marilyn Moore||Dem||Bridgeport||2014||Bridgeport (part), Monroe (part), Trumbull|
|23||Dennis Bradley||Dem||Bridgeport||2018||Bridgeport (part), Stratford (part)|
|24||Julie Kushner||Dem||Danbury||2018||Bethel (part), Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman|
|25||Bob Duff||Dem||Norwalk||2000||Darien (part), Norwalk||Realtor|
|26||Will Haskell||Dem||Westport||2018||Bethel (part), New Canaan (part), Redding, Ridgefield, Weston (part), Westport (part), Wilton|
|27||Patricia Billie Miller||Dem||Stamford||2021^||Darien (part), Stamford (part)|
|28||Tony Hwang||Rep||Fairfield||2014||Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston (part), Westport (part)|
|29||Mae Flexer||Dem||Danielson||2014||Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson, Windham|
|30||Craig Miner||Rep||Litchfield||2016||Brookfield, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Milford, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Torrington (part), Warren, Winchester|
|31||Henri Martin||Rep||Bristol||2014||Bristol, Harwinton (part), Plainville, Plymouth, Thomaston||Real Estate Business Owner|
|32||Eric Berthel||Rep||Watertown||2017^||Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Middlebury (part), Oxford, Roxbury, Seymour (part), Southbury, Washington, Watertown, Woodbury||Strategic Outreach|
|33||Norman Needleman||Dem||Essex||2018||Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook (part), Portland, Westbrook||First Selectman|
|34||Paul Cicarella||Rep||North Haven||2020||Durham (part), East Haven, North Haven (part), Wallingford|
|35||Dan Champagne||Rep||Vernon||2018||Ashford, Chaplin, Coventry, Eastford, Ellington (part), Hampton, Pomfret, Stafford, Tolland, Union, Vernon, Willington, Woodstock|
|Greenwich||2021^||Greenwich, New Canaan (part), Stamford (part)||Greenwich Representative Town Meeting member|
- ^ Senator was first elected in a special election.
Past composition of the SenateEdit
- Orcutt, Jacob (Fall 2018). "Connecticut's Old State House: Where the Constitution of 1818 Was Born". Connecticut Explored. Vol. 16, no. 4. pp. 46–48. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
- Under the Gold Dome: An Insider's Look at the Connecticut Legislature, by Judge Robert Satter. New Haven: Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, 2004, pp. 16–27.
- Democrats Tim Larson (District 3), Beth Bye (District 5) and Terry Gerratana (District 6) resigned to join Governor Lamont's administration.
- Democrat Saud Anwar (District 3), Democrat Derek Slap (District 5), and Republican Gennaro Bizzaro (District 6) elected to replace Tim Larson, Beth Bye, and Terry Gerratana respectively.
- "Senate Members (listed alphabetically)". Connecticut General Assembly. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- "Guilford Businesswoman Christine Cohen to Seek State Senate Seat". Branford Seven. March 19, 2018. Archived from the original on March 19, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
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