Haskell tops Boucher
Republican Toni Boucher knew early on in this fall campaign she was in for a tough state Senate race and her fears were borne out late Tuesday night when she conceded to her young Democratic challenger, Will Haskell of New Canaan. The 22-year-old rode a blue wave to victory, winning 27,991 votes to Boucher’s 25,521, according to unofficial results from the secretary of the state. It is the first election Boucher, a Wilton resident, has lost since being elected as a state representative in 1996. She was seeking her sixth term as state senator.
“Young people are not the future, they are the present,” Haskell told his followers at a victory campaign at the Little Barn in Westport, according to The Bulletin’s sister paper, The Hour.
Gracious in defeat, Boucher called Haskell to congratulate him about 10:45 Tuesday night.
“I’m calling to congratulate you on your win,” she said. “You ran a very strong campaign and you’ve earned it and I wish you well and I know you will take this responsibility very seriously and do right by the voters.”
In conceding, Boucher said, “I am deeply thankful to the voters for having given me the rare and extraordinary honor of serving them here at home, on local boards and in the legislature in Hartford. I have always put every ounce of passion, commitment and energy into these roles with the ultimate objective of serving my constituents well.”
Boucher attributed at least part of her loss to rhetoric coming from President Donald Trump that trickled down the ballot. “The shadow of Washington, D.C., was so big this year,” she said, noting the margins from her supporters in towns where she was on top could not overcome the groundswell of support for Haskell.
Haskell, in fact, has said he decided to run for office after Trump’s election in 2016.
“I felt like I had to play some role in the fight against his agenda,” he said during his campaign. “I think that the fight against Trump really does start at the state and local level, so I decided to come home and start knocking on doors.”
Haskell has said his top three priorities as state senator would be gun violence, paid family leave, and transportation funding.
“I think it’s insane that in this state, you can order a gun [online] and have it arrive in the mail in parts with no serial number or registration. It makes it hard for law enforcement to do their job, and it makes us all less safe — whether in movie theaters, schools, or any public place or gathering,” he told The Bulletin last month.
Having been raised by a single working mother in Westport who had to go back to work just two weeks after he was born, Haskell said, “passing paid family leave, financed by employees, is a real priority” of his to provide for a better work-life balance.
Haskell also believes he can bring changes in transportation taxpayers have been waiting for.
“We have 302 structurally deficient bridges in this state, we have trains that have gotten slower over the last few decades — and there’s still no wifi on Metro-North for that matter, which is insane,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what your political ideology is if the train is delayed yet again, or getting home takes such a long time that you miss dinner with your family,” he said.
The 2019 Connecticut legislative session is set to convene on Jan. 9.