State Representative DebraLee Hovey (R-112) has announced that she is retiring from public service and will not run for reelection in 2014.
Rep Hovey, who currently serves one of Newtown’s southerly voting districts and all of Monroe, and who has risen to the position of Assistant Republican Leader in the House Republican caucus, made her decision after 12 years in the legislature.
She will complete her term six-term run on December 31, 2014.
“I ran not because I wanted to be involved in politics but because I believed I had something to contribute as a public servant,” she said in a release. “It has been my honor to serve the people of Monroe and Newtown and I thank everyone for their continued support.”
Rep Hovey has been referred to as “fierce” by her colleague and friend State Senator John McKinney.
“It is now time to turn the page to a new chapter in my life, a new adventure. I am looking forward to having some privacy and spending time with my husband and family,” she said.
First Selectman Pat Llodra shared her reaction to the news with The Newtown Bee, responding to Rep Hovey’s news saying, “Your advocacy for Newtown has been strong and effective. I thank you sincerely for your efforts on our behalf for these past 12 years.”
On a personal note, Mrs Llodra told the local lawmaker, “I will miss working with you. Your laugh, your sense of fun, your passion, and your range of interests and experiences have made being with you so enjoyable. More than anything, though, I will remember your commitment to constituent service. Enjoy this new chapter in your life!”
Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek called Rep Hovey a political mentor, recalling her many accomplishments over the last 12 years.
“She has worked very hard for the people of both Monroe and Newtown,” Mr Vavrek said. “DebraLee is a mentor to many and will be sorely missed.”
Monroe Republican Town Committee Chair Jeff Guttman also expressed appreciation for Rep Hovey’s service to the 112th District.
“Thank you for all your hard work and dedication for 12 years,” Mr Guttman said. “You’re leaving a very large set of shoes to fill.”
According to her legislative website, Rep Hovey continues to serve on the legislature’s Judiciary, Transportation and Public Health Committees and is chair of the Republican Women’s Caucus. She is former Ranking Member (House Republican Leader) of the Legislature’s Select Committee on Children, and former member of the Appropriations Committee and Judiciary Committee.
In 2007, then-Governor M. Jodi Rell appointed Representative Hovey to the state’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJACA). In addition, she has been appointed to serve concurrently as Connecticut ’s representative to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ).
The state JJAC is a governor-appointed committee that oversees federal funding for youth development programs under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act in Connecticut. JJAC was established under this federal legislation in 1974 and advises the Governor and the Office of Policy and Management on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention issues.
Rep Hovey was a member of the national Women in Government organization and served on the board for ten years, where she has also held several leadership positions. Women In Government is a national non-profit, bi-partisan organization of women state legislators providing leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues.
The Girl Scouts of the Housatonic Council Inc. named Representative Hovey a 2007 Woman of Distinction. And Rep Hovey formerly served as a member of the state Advisory Council for Special Education and the Milford Rape Crisis Center’s Board of Directors. She now serves on the Newtown Bridle Lands Alliance.
She also serves as state co-chair for the American Legislative Exchange Alliance (ALEC), and is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Council for Exceptional Children, the Association of Educational and Psychological Consultants and the Endangered Lands Coalition.