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State Senate control teeters as Linares runs for treasurer

January 11, 2018 GMT

The honeymoon for Republicans in the state Senate could be fleeting — thanks to career ambitions and love.

GOP Sen. Art Linares, newly wedded to House Democrat Caroline Simmons, is forgoing re-election to run for state treasurer this fall. He said he expects to move to Stamford, where Simmons is in her second term.

The couple was forced to postpone its honeymoon because of a 123-day state budget impasse, which ended in late October.

This latest development could disrupt the delicate equilibrium in the Senate, which is deadlocked for the first time in more than a century.

Each party controls 18 seats, which gives Republicans unprecedented committee leadership posts under a year-old power-sharing agreement. The lieutenant governor, Democrat Nancy Wyman, holds the tie-breaking vote by virtue of serving as Senate president.

Republicans expressed confidence that they will be able to hold onto Linares’ 33rd District, which includes 12 towns near the mouth of the Connecticut River. Senate GOP Leader Len Fasano, of North Haven, gave Linares his blessing.

“He married up,” Fasano said facetiously, adding, “so I think he’s got everything going for him and I think he’s going to be great.”

The son of a Cuban exile who interned for Marco Rubio, Linares is serving his third term. Although it is a part-time Legislature, the 29-year-old has treated his Senate post as full-time job after selling his shares in Greenskies Renewable Energy, a Middletown-based solar panel contractor.

“I think some of the biggest issues that we face in Connecticut are debt and pension costs,” said Linares, who is from Westbrook. “We need leadership from the treasurer’s office to reform and solve those problems.”

Democrat Denise Napper, who was first elected treasurer in 1998, is not seeking re-election. Fasano said there is an opening for Linares and he would never stand in the way of someone pursuing their dream, especially someone as qualified as his colleague.

“I don’t look at it as I need to force him to stay,” Fasano said.

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