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Lawmaker Follows in Footsteps of Predecessor

Longtime lawmaker John Stripp departs Hartford on Tuesday after nearly two decades of serving Easton, Weston and Redding.

However, the 40-year Republican stronghold on the 135th House District continues when John Shaban takes the reins Wednesday at the opening of the new legislative session.

For a half-century, Stripp has called Weston home. His political career began in the 1970s with the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen, where he served as chair for a number of years. As state representative, Stripp ran unopposed in three elections and garnered more than 80 percent of the vote in at least three.

Shaban shares more than just initials and party affiliation with his predecessor. A partner with law firm Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan in Greenwich, Shaban hopes to use his legal prowess to stimulate private business growth and balance the budget.

Shaban's appointment to three legislative committees — finance, revenue and bonding; the judiciary; and the environment — reflects his desire to "get the budget straight."

Stripp, also a die-hard book balancer, was vice president of commercial lending at Fairfield County Bank. His conservative roots run deep into frugal ground. But Stripp is leaving the office with one lament — he wasn't able to curb state spending.

That is a challenge Shaban has said he is ready to tackle. But that mountain is high: According to the state comptroller's office, the current state budget deficit is more than $730 million.

What do you think of state spending? What programs would you like to see cut? What programs would you like to see improved?

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