In The Loop – May 14, 2021

Before we get into my weekly take on the week’s events at the Capitol, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share our thoughts on the passing of former House Republican Leader Bob Ward, who served Connecticut for over 30 years as a beloved member of the House of Representatives, Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and then as one of Connecticut’s two State Auditors. After a kidney transplant a decade ago, Bob bravely faced other, more recent maladies with his characteristically quiet optimism. He spent the past several months were filled with family, political allies (and even some periodic foes) and longtime friends connecting and sharing memories with Bob of the “good times.” Many a tale has been told of both the shenanigans and the statesman-like achievements of this good leader as news of his death hit the Capitol community this week.

Bob will be most remembered as a compassionate, fair and caring leader who knew the importance of working together regardless of your political, philosophical or personal feelings to make the best decisions for the state of Connecticut and its residents. He truly understood that after the debates—sometimes heated—and the final vote, it was important to reach out, shake hands, share a beer, a trip to the Big East tournament or attend a causal after-session gathering to touch base and re-connect. Relationships mattered to the former Republican leader. He treasured them.

Bob was always an integral part of collaborations for many of the critical issues during the time he served, such as the remaking of UConn, the passage during a regular session of an annual state budget and the transition of power from former Governor John Rowland to former Governor Jodi Rell. As such, this minority leader often influenced and carried the majority opinion at the Capitol.

This week those who admired, cherished and respected the man from North Branford joined his wife Anita, their four children and eight grandchildren in celebrating his life and sending him off to the heavens above.

Knowing Bob, he’s already reaching out to others from his past life and orchestrating some kind of collegial solution to some chaos happening behind the pearly gates, and perhaps a friendly poker game, as well! Godspeed and peace to a truly good guy.

The troops are getting restless and rambunctious this week in Hartford.

With the session closing in on its final three weeks, the volume of work is finally catching up with the “chamber time keepers” in the House and Senate. It’s put more pressure on committee chairs to resolve recent committee standoffs and work with their ranking members to see if there is mutual ground to be found to move “the people’s business” forward. KEEP READING…

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