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Hwang Still Newtown Senator After Redistricting



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Following a redistricting plan in the Connecticut House of Representatives that saw Newtown lose two representatives but gain another, Newtown will see no change in its senator. The town will stay squarely in Senator Tony Hwang’s 28th District.

“I’m thrilled to still be serving Newtown in its entirety,” Hwang, a Republican, told The Newtown Bee in a November 30 interview shortly after Connecticut’s bipartisan Reapportionment Commission voted unanimously on a redistricting plan for the Senate on November 23.

Hwang said that while he was not on the redistricting committee, he did implore them to allow him to continue to represent Newtown.

“There’s so much that needs to be done in the community,” said Hwang.

“For me, it’s important to be representing Newtown,” said Hwang. It is also important, he added, to work with State Reps Mitch Bolinsky and Stephen Harding. The recent redistricting added Sandy Hook to Bolinsky’s coverage area. Harding’s 107th district, previously covering Brookfield and parts of Bethel and Danbury, now includes some neighborhoods in Hawleyville and northern Newtown.

“Having the longest tenure [of those representing Newtown], I take responsibility for anyone new coming in to represent Newtown to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the town.”

Hwang said Newtown has “tremendous pride,” and he sees it as a “unique town and a unique responsibility” to represent it.

“I just love representing Newtown,” said Hwang.

The 28th District will also be adding a part of Bethel, which Hwang said shares “a lot of the same challenges and concerns as Newtown,” such as the development of the Route 6 and I-84 Exit 9 corridor.

He said there are still challenges to address with the COVID pandemic, seeking to “balance safety with normalizing moving forward for schools and communities.” He also said there is “a lot of work to do” in helping businesses going through times that are still challenging.

“There are federal and state funds available, but we still need to focus on supporting and sustaining our current businesses,” said Hwang. “We also need to bring in new business and new economic revitalization.”

Hwang also said that the Senate has to look at how to help the schools, to “take care of the challenges that COVID has wrought.”

Around the rest of the state, the redistricting map puts Stamford, the second-largest and fastest-growing city, in three Senate districts.

Nearly all of the state’s growth came in Fairfield County over the past decade, necessitating significant changes to a half-dozen districts in the state’s southwest corner, though none seemed to dramatically tip the balance of power.

The commission made modest changes elsewhere in the 36 Senate districts, maintaining maps that center two districts in each of the other three largest cities: Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford. It adopted a state House map last week.

The panel missed the November 30 constitutional deadline to produce a congressional district map, meaning that its work must be completed before the end of December under the supervision of the state Supreme Court.

Passage of the Senate map came without debate in an 11-minute meeting conducted via Zoom, a reflection that the maps in Connecticut are resolved by negotiation. The statewide map and district maps are available on the commission’s web site.

Unlike many other states where control of the state legislature yields the ability to dictate new districts, the process in Connecticut is bipartisan, regardless of which party controls the General Assembly.

Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), a cochair of the commission, felt it was “truly a bipartisan effort. We had great collaboration, cooperation and coordination.”

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said Connecticut has “a much better approach to this … potentially fraught political process. We have a much better approach than most of the country does on this.”

Stamford will be in three districts — the 36th, 27th and 26th. To get into Stamford, the 26th District represented by Sen Will Haskell (D-Westport), will reach through Darien and New Canaan.

Sen Patricia Billie Miller (D-Stamford) now represents the 27th District of southern Stamford and a slice of Darien.

The northern portion of Stamford is in the 36th District, with all of Greenwich and about two-thirds of New Canaan. It has been competitive, with a Democrat winning the seat in the past two regular elections. Sen Ryan Fazio (R-Greenwich) reclaimed the seat for the GOP in a special election this year.

The new map puts more of Republican New Canaan in the 36th, a boost for Fazio’s reelection, though not necessarily enough to make it a safe GOP seat. Once a GOP stronghold, Greenwich has been trending Democratic, like much of Fairfield County.

“It’s not the Greenwich of years past,” Kelly said.

The nearby 26th District district of Haskell loses Bethel and will snake through a narrow corridor of Republican Darien and New Canaan into Democratic Stamford. Like Stamford, Darien now will be in three districts.

“It’s reflective of the huge growth in Fairfield County, but especially in Stamford, and the need for some districts to be reworked to accommodate that growth,” Haskell said.

Haskell said his current district generally lies on a north-south axis, while the new one will be more east to west.

“That’s actually how people commute in Fairfield County,” he said.

Hartford lost population in the 2020 Census. As a result, the 1st District of Sen John Fonfara (D-Hartford), whose political base is the city’s South End, now reaches well into the North End and further south into Wethersfield.

Editor’s note: Content in this localized report originally appeared at CTMirror.org, the website of The Connecticut Mirror, an independent, nonprofit news organization covering government, politics, and public policy in the state.

Reporter Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

Connecticut Sen Tony Hwang (R-28) will still be representing all of Newtown after a redistricting plan was released on November 23.
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