Kevin Kelly, state senator from Stratford, is new Senate Republican Leader

November 13, 2020

Article as it appeared in the Fairfield County Business Journal

State Sen. Kevin Kelly, whose 21st district includes parts of Stratford, Shelton and Monroe, has been named the next Senate Republican Leader by the Connecticut Senate Republican Caucus.

Kelly — who ran unopposed for reelection this year — succeeds Len Fasano (R-North Haven), who had served as leader since 2014.

Kelly in turn named State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) to serve as his deputy, taking the title of Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore.

“Our caucus is made up of hard-working individuals who love our state and are ready to fight for it,” Kelly declared. “Together we will stand up for policies that make our state more affordable for all people by reducing tax burdens on working- and middle-class families, creating opportunities in education and jobs, and increasing health care access and affordability.

“We will continue our efforts to strengthen public safety, education, health care, and workforce training,” he continued, “and we will remain strongly focused on restoring the state’s financial health to give residents the stability and predictability they deserve.

“The people of Connecticut are facing historic challenging times,” Kelly said. “Far too many people are struggling to afford to live here and they are scared for their health and safety. Our caucus will give all people a voice, stand up to the majority, and strive to bring balance to the legislature.”

The new leader is an elder law attorney from Stratford. Prior to working in private practice, he worked as an investigator for the Department of Social Services for over 13 years. He is currently the Ranking Member of the Aging Committee, the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, and the Committee on Children. He also serves as a member of the Regulation Review Committee.

Kelly has been an advocate for health care affordability and accessibility, supporting the needs of senior citizens, growing jobs, improving women’s health care, and advancing “Aging in Place” initiatives.

Fasano called his successor “a thoughtful, talented and passionate lawmaker who is known for being a fierce advocate and fighter, as well as someone who can bring people together to tackle big problems. Sen. Kelly will be a strong leader both for our caucus, and for the entire state of Connecticut.”

Of his new deputy, Kelly called Formica “one of the hardest-working and most caring lawmakers I have ever met. He is a consensus builder and a budget expert who was instrumental in crafting the historic bipartisan budget of 2017 that implemented smart financial policies Republicans have long advocated for including a spending cap, bonding caps and a volatility cap.

“Those successes are the reason why our state has a record-breaking rainy day fund today and has enable our state to start contributing more to paying down on our state’s unfunded pension liabilities,” he noted.

Formica’s district includes Bozrah, East Lyme, New London and Old Lyme.