Political leaders said Monday they understand Gov. Jodi Rell’s decision to retire rather than run for reelection next year.
"Right now, it's tough for any politician to be in office," said state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat.
With all the problems facing her over the past year, Colapietro said, "it's probably too much" for her to take it for another term, particularly when every politician is getting blamed for a sinking economy that's global in nature.
City Republican Party Chairman T.J. Barnes, “I think she wants to be a grandma” instead of trying to guide an unruly legislature through continued hard times.
State Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican and former state GOP chairman, said, "I can honestly say that would not have been surprised whichever way she chose to go."
He said that Rell served a decade in the legislature, nearly another decade as lieutenant governor and six years at the helm of the state.
"That's a long time," he said, and she's probably ready to spend time with her grandchildren instead.
Aside from that, the job hasn't been easy.
"This year was probably one of the worst years to serve in public office. Next year, I believe, is going to be even worse," Hamzy said.
"It takes some of the joy out of the task," Hamzy said.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who was in town to help deliver the oath of office to Mayor Art Ward, said he is still digesting the news from Gov. Jodi Rell.
"It's certainly surprising and interesting," Blumenthal said. He declined to say how Rell's decision might have an impact on his own future.
Art Mocabee, a state GOP official and former Bristol city Republican chairman, said the news "comes as a shock," but not as a surprise.
"Governor Rell has served us all well since taking charge six years ago. Rest assured that Connecticut Republicans have many qualified conservative voices that will be herd in the months to come. I wish to thank the Governor and wish her the best."
State Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat, said Rell deserves thanks for her long service to the state.
He said he wasn’t shocked at the news she wouldn’t run.
“I had a funny feeling about it,” he said, because the governor has been so silent about so many issues lately.
Colapietro said he's not surprised that Rell decided to step down instead of running again.
"I got along good with Jodi," Colapietro said, though they often disagreed on issues. He said he wishes her well.
Barnes said that Rell’s announcement gives the party plenty of time to unite behind another candidate.
“It’s going to be an exciting 2010 in Connecticut,” Barnes said.
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