NORWALK, Conn. – Outgoing House Republican Leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk was a “strong advocate” and a “giant” with a “keen political skill,” according to colleagues in Hartford whom he will leave behind this November.
Cafero (R-Norwalk and New Canaan) has decided not to run for a 12th term this fall. Local politicians from both sides of the aisle reflected on the announcement Wednesday.
“He has been an effective advocate for Norwalk and a wonderful partner. It will be tough not seeing Larry around the Capitol,” said State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk and Darien). “I've learned a lot by working together and from watching him. There are few people with his keen political skill, institutional knowledge and amazing sense of humor.”
Republicans and Democrats alike honored Cafero on the floor of the State House Of Representatives Wednesday after he made his formal announcement. State Rep. Sean Williams (R-Watertown) called Cafero’s career “legendary.”
“What most people think of when they think of ‘giants’ in this particular place, is the level of interest they take in mentoring and helping other people to become better leaders, or even giants in their own right, and that’s something that [Cafero has] definitely excelled at,” Williams said.
Gov. Dannel Malloy called Cafero “one of the most energetic and passionate voices in the State Capitol.”
“[Cafero] has fought hard for his constituents year in and year out, and he’s done it with character and good humor,” Malloy said in a press release Wednesday. “I’m proud to have worked with him across the aisle on critical issues like job growth, improving Connecticut schools, and making our state a safer place to work and live.”
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman also released a statement celebrating Cafero’s career in the General Assembly.
“I was a State Representative when he was elected — from day one he has vigorously represented his district and been a strong advocate for his constituents,” Wyman said. “For more than two decades, Representative Cafero has been generous of his time and expertise in encouraging Connecticut to be a better, stronger state.”
Cafero’s decision means that Norwalk’s 142nd House District will have its first new representative in 22 years. As of Wednesday’s announcement, former Town Clerk and mayoral candidate Andy Garfunkel was the only declared candidate for the Democratic nomination. Both parties have until May’s nominating conventions to put forward candidates.
“Having spent many years in public service myself, I understand the dedication and commitment that Larry has given to the citizens of Norwalk, New Canaan and to the State of Connecticut,” Garfunkel said Wednesday. “Having known Larry for many years, I know he shares my concerns and I know he will continue to contribute to the community as a private citizen.”