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Senate President Announces He Won’t Seek Re-Election

by | Feb 26, 2014 2:05pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Election 2014, State Capitol

CTNJ file photo Senate President Donald Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, announced Wednesday that he won’t be seeking re-election in the fall.

After 21 years as a state Senator and 10 years as the leader for the third floor chamber, Williams surprised many of his colleagues when he decided to call it quits.

“After serving 10 years as President Pro Tempore of the State Senate, I look forward to pursuing other challenges at the end of this term,” Williams said in a press release. “The progress we have made when facing difficult challenges, particularly in the past four years with the help of Governor Malloy, has been substantial, and Connecticut is well positioned for new growth in the years ahead.”

Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, said she was surprised by Williams decision. She said he had a wealth of institutional knowledge and a propensity for policy-driven decisions. She said his departure will be a loss for the Senate.

“I think we’re losing one of the greatest senators we have. He’s really so thoughtful and driven by policy more than politics. It’s a big loss for the Senate,” she said. “It’s been really great to work with him, as someone who loves policy.”

Sen. Joseph Crisco, D-Woodbridge, said Williams’ departure will be a “loss to the state of Connecticut and its people.”

He said Williams had the ability to bring the caucus together on important issues.

Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said Williams had a very “distinguished career” and has been on the forefront of many issues.

“His presence will be greatly missed,” Duff said.

Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, would be the next in line to succeed Williams as President Pro Tempore.

On Wednesday, Looney praised Williams leadership abilities. He said Williams’ actions during the debate over the repeal of the death penalty in 2012 illustrated his ability to bring people together. Williams organized a group of undecided senators to visit the state’s death row facilities so they could see the conditions for themselves. The bill passed through the Senate that year with more votes than expected.

“Don has been a superb leader,” Looney said. “He has led with a steady hand and helped bring people together.”

In a statement Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called Williams “a great ally and friend.”

“He works tirelessly for his constituents and fights hard for what he believes. I’m proud to have worked with him to find common ground on some of the most important issues of our day, including creating jobs and investing in our public schools. The Senate will no doubt miss his leadership and his passion. I wish him the best in whatever he decides to do next,” he said.

Williams succeeded Kevin Sullivan when Sullivan went to serve as lieutenant governor after former Gov. John G. Rowland resigned in 2004.

Williams did not indicate what his future plans are beyond not running for re-election. However, it may include writing. Williams spoke last week about a book he has spent the last six years working on about the national civil rights impact of state heroine, Prudence Crandall’s court battles. His book will be published by Wesleyan University in June.

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(13) Archived Comments

posted by: jim black | February 26, 2014  2:17pm

Every once in a while, GOOD NEWS.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | February 26, 2014  2:19pm

I understand he is writing another book : the biography of Deborah Samson Gannett. After that, the ski’s the limit!


posted by: Tessa Marquis | February 26, 2014  2:53pm

Senator Looney is a superior legislator and will do a fantastic job!

posted by: GBear423 | February 26, 2014  4:00pm


Now this is good news!

posted by: dano860 | February 26, 2014  7:40pm

He didn’t take the last election with his usual landslide and I think this years opponent, Mr. French (R) has a lot to offer.
The fact that he was the lead architect of the bogus firearms legislation would have added to his undoing too. He had many of his eastern, quiet corner constituents real upset with that one.
What next? Author, lobbyist, replace Courtney, Congress?
I guarantee he isn’t riding off into the sunset.

posted by: art vandelay | February 27, 2014  12:15am

art vandelay

I wish Senator Williams my very best in his future endeavors. I never agreed with him on any issues.  I hope the voters in his district elect a Conservative Republican.

posted by: Connfusion | February 27, 2014  6:21am

Didn’t have the guts to see how his constituents would vote next election after his gun banning legislation.  Time for the quiet corner to smarten up.

posted by: Lawrence | February 27, 2014  8:42am

My heartfelt advice to everyone posting above is to get involved in politics.

Run for your school board or town council.

Talk to your neighbors and to complete strangers.

Find solutions to complex problems while dealing with opposing constituencies and limited funding.

Then your criticisms will have merit.

Until then, you are—and always will be—nothing but keyboard cowboys.

posted by: dano860 | February 27, 2014  11:58am

Lawrence, for once I agree with you.
I did three terms on the local BOE, and thirteen years on the Inland / wetlands. People MUST be more involved at the local level.
I hope that this will change the direction that the dome dwellers have studiously followed under Donnie’s large persona and hand that guides the money.

posted by: dano860 | February 27, 2014  4:17pm

According to a pretty reliable source, heard on the local radio station, two candidates have been identified but names are not being released…yet!

posted by: YourNidiot | February 27, 2014  4:19pm

a loss for the senate…a win for CT!!

posted by: Todd Peterson | February 28, 2014  2:28pm

Under Dan Malloy and “stache” Williams we got a steady diet of “Vampire Legislation” passed in the wee hours of the morning with no public hearings.  Senators get hundreds of pages at 2:00 AM and are told they have an hour or less to read it before they vote.  Party affiliations aside, this is a crappy way to do our business.  Good riddance to the stache.

Lawrence, if you are an elected officeholder whereever you live then my hat is off to you even though I think you’re completely off the rails about 100% of the time.  I am involved and have skin in the game.  I wish more people did.

posted by: dano860 | March 4, 2014  7:57am

We’ll one of the names that we suspected to announce has done just that.
It is being reported on WINY radio that Mae Flexer (D) Representative from Brooklyn will seek the Senate seat of Don Williams.
She will be on the WINY Morning Talk Show today, Tuesday the 4th, during the 10-11 hour. WINY.COM
We are still not positive when the second person will announce but many are still hopeful that former State Representative Shawn Johnston will be doing that soon.

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