Nearly two months after they unseated their incumbent Democratic opponents on Election Day, freshmen Republican legislators George Logan and Nicole Klarides-Ditria were sworn into office.
Logan, an Ansonia resident, defeated Democrat Joe Crisco to win the state Senate seat in the 17th District, which covers all or parts of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge. Crisco held the seat for 12 terms.
Klarides-Ditria, a Seymour resident, defeated Democrat Theresa Conroy to win the state House of Representatives seat in the 105th District, which covers Beacon Falls, Derby and Seymour.
During the time between their election victories and being sworn in on Jan. 4, both Logan and Klarides-Ditria have been preparing for their new roles.
“It felt good that so many folks were there to support me,” said Logan, who was sworn in in the company of family, friends and supporters. “I will never forget it in my entire life.”
Logan said he spent that time primarily traveling between the seven municipalities in his district and getting to know the chief elected officials and superintendents of schools, as well as representatives from nongovernment organizations, to find out what obstacles they’re facing.
“I am just getting around and finding out what the issues are,” Logan said.
Klarides-Ditria has been taking advantage of numerous caucuses for freshmen lawmakers.
“The caucuses help you learn the process, if you didn’t already know it,” Klarides-Ditria said.
Klarides-Ditria has a leg up on her fellow legislator from the 17th District when it comes to getting her hands around how state government works. Her sister is State House Minority Leader Themis Klarides.
“Fortunately, because my sister has been involved for 18 years, I have a lot of the process understood,” Klarides-Ditria said.
Just freshly sworn in, Logan and Klarides-Ditria said last week that they were still working to get settled into their new roles.
“It’s been a very unique and original experience,” Logan said.
As they settle in, both lawmakers have their committee assignments.
Klarides-Ditria was assigned to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, the Public Health Committee, and the Regulation Review Committee.
Logan will serve as the co-chair of the Planning and Development Committee, the vice chair of the Public Health Committee, the vice chair of the Regulation Review Committee, the vice chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and a member of the Education Committee.
Logan said he remains committed to the issues he campaigned on, including mental health reform, budget reform, and battling the opioid crisis. He said he hasn’t prioritized those issues but will address each of them.
“Right now I am finding out and knowing what the issues are. I am doing a lot of research of bills that have been passed and how they have affected the community,” Logan said. “I am still preparing and, in short order, I will submit bills for the session.”
Logan urged taxpayers of Beacon Falls and Naugatuck to reach out to him whenever they have questions or concerns about any issue. He can be reached at the Capitol at George.Logan@cga.ct.gov or 800-842-1421. Residents can also sign up e-alerts at www.SenatorLogan.com.
Klarides-Ditria is also preparing for how she wants to put her ideas from the campaign trail into action.
“I am going over what bills I may want to propose, if any,” Klarides-Ditria said. “It will be a continuation of everything I have been doing. I am just adding on housekeeping things I need to do.”
Logan and Klarides-Ditria were part of a movement at the polls that saw Republicans gain seat in the Senate and the House. Republicans pick up three seats in the Senate, bringing it to an even 18-18 split between Democrats and Republicans. In the House, Republicans picked eight seats, but Democrats still hung on to the majority with a 79-72 split.
Both Logan and Klarides-Ditria said the surge of Republican wins doesn’t necessarily put extra pressure on them as freshmen GOP legislators, but added there is still pressure to ensure they begin to move the state in the right direction.
“I don’t think it puts any more pressure on me because the people in the state have spoken by their votes,” Klarides-Ditria said. “People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We need to make a change in this session.”
Logan echoed her comments, saying he takes his position very seriously.
“I don’t know if it’s added pressure, but I certainly want to do everything I can to make a difference and do everything I can to represent my seven district towns well,” Logan said. “I will do everything in my power to represent the district in the best way I can and be a voice for those issues that are important.”