Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rell bows out, won't run for reelection

HARTFORD — Gov. M. Jodi Rell will not run for re-election in 2010, saying Monday that she plans to dedicate her last 14 months in office to addressing the state’s tough economic situation.
"It’s time," Rell said. "I want to thank the people of Connecticut for the honor of serving as their governor."
Rell has served as governor since 2004, when former Gov. John Rowland resigned in a corruption probe that would eventually lead to a conviction and prison time. She was elected to her own term in 2006, becoming the first Republican woman elected the state’s chief executive.
Her announcement came as a surprise at the Capitol and to her staff. Though her family knew of her plans, she said she gave them about an hour’s notice that she was going to make the decision public.
Local Republican officials in the Northwest Corner had positive, but surprised, reactions to the governor’s 5 p.m. announcement on Monday.
State Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-30, said he was "shocked" and "surprised."
"But I understand why," Roraback said. "I think it’s a decision that she reached after a lot of deliberation. And whether you agree with the governor or disagree with the governor she has given 25 years of her life in service to the people of this state."
Rell was elected in 1984 to the state House of Representatives, where she served for 10 years as a representative in Brookfield. She then was elected to lieutenant governor in 1995, serving another 10 years in the state and succeeded Roland for five years as governor.
Roraback said he has known Rell for the past 15 years — noting that she was a constituent because Brookfield is in the 30th district. Roraback added that he considered Rell a "friend" and that she has a "very good heart."
"It’s a tough job, particularly in these economic times," he said. "But her heart has always been in the right place."
Former state Rep. Anne Ruwet, who served as Torrington’s representative until 2008, said the governor has been an "incredible leader" who she has the highest resect for. Ruwet said she met the governor when serving on the City Council in Torrington, and knew Rell while she served in the General Assembly with Ruwet’s father, Joseph Ruwet.
The former state representative said she heard Rell was going to make a decision after the municipal elections in 2009. Ruwet said she knew Rell had been teetering on the idea, and that she hoped the governor would make a decision to run again.
"She’s been an incredible and stable force in state government," she said.


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