Joe Aresimowicz

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Joe Aresimowicz
Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byBrendan Sharkey
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 30th district
Assumed office
January 7, 2004
Preceded byRooster Stephenson
Personal details
Born (1970-11-05) November 5, 1970 (age 48)
Berlin, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Crystal
Children3
EducationNational Labor College

Joe Aresimowicz (born November 5, 1970) is a Democratic member of the Connecticut House of Representatives and the current Speaker of the House. From 2013 to 2017, he served as Majority Leader.

Early life, education, and family[edit]

Aresimowicz grew up in Berlin, Connecticut and he attended public schools in Berlin through high school. He is a graduate of the defunct National Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland. Aresimowicz served in the United States Army Reserve as a combat medic, and was honorably discharged after over a decade of service. He and his family reside in Berlin, where his two youngest children attend Berlin public schools and his oldest son coaches football with him at Berlin High School. He is a member of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Kensington.[1]

Union Work[edit]

Aresimowicz is a former union president and an ally of organized labor. In addition to his part-time job at the Connecticut General Assembly, Aresimowicz is employed by AFSCME Council 4a, which represents state and municipal workers, where he serves as the education coordinator, teaching classes on organizing and bargaining. He mostly works with the municipal unions to avoid conflicts of interest with his state leadership duties. He does not negotiate contracts, but he does represent some employees in grievances against the state. The CT Mirror reported that his pay as a Union coordinator totalled $71,128 in 2012, $79,947 in 2013, $88,742 in 2014 and $97,112 in 2015.[2][3]

Upon his accession to House Speaker, the Republican State Central Committee argued that Aresimowicz had an untenable conflict in his ability to properly lead the House of Representatives and confront the insurmountable and rising costs of employee labor agreements, pension contributions and health care costs, because of his close connections to Connecticut's public sector union. Upon the request of Aresimowicz, the Office of State Ethics conducted an analysis and recommended that Aresimowicz be able to assume the position. The republican majority leader Themis Klarides agreed, stating that each speaker has had different issues based on what you do for a living and as long as you have a part-time legislature, you’re going to have those issues.[2][3]

Political career[edit]

Before joining the state legislature, Aresimowicz served three terms on the Berlin Town Council. Aresimowicz was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 2004 to represent the 30th Assembly District of Berlin and Southington. In 2013, he was elected the Majority Leader and in 2017 he became the Speaker of the House.[4]

In 2018 Aresimowicz was involved in a scandal over nepotism in the Uconn Huskies football program. The Hartford Courant reported that Public Act 18-175, a bill about State management of online data, included a one paragraph amendment to the end of the 11-page bill that read, “A state employee who is employed at a constituent unit of the state system of higher education and a member of the immediate family of such state employee may be employed in the same department or division of such constituent unit.”[5] It was alleged that this legislation had been introduced on behalf of University of Connecticut Football Coach Randy Edsall so that he could employ his own son, Corey Edsall.[6] Aresimowicz introduced this legislation that created a loophole for Edsall’s son after Edsall spoke to him about the matter. Aresimowicz commented that “As a head coach for over 20 years I’ve talked to other coaches who say Corey is a first class coach and knows what he is doing,” he told the Hartford Courant. “I believe that UConn has the checks and balances in place to ensure that no one is taking advantage of this situation.”[7] The State Ethics Board called this loophole amendment “An affront to all Connecticut citizens."[8]

Political views[edit]

Environment[edit]

Aresimowicz has received a 87% lifetime score from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters for his support and advocacy of environmental initiatives.[9]

Families and children[edit]

Together with representative Minnie Gonzalez, Aresimowicz organized and hosted a 2019 public hearing on parental alienation and family court reform.[10]

Ethics reform[edit]

Ethics reform in the Connecticut General Assembly is a contentious political issue after decades of political and corruption scandals, Aresimowicz is on the record against Ethics reform, when asked about corruption in the Legislature he claimed "It just doesn't happen."[11]

Wages[edit]

In 2013, Aresimowicz voted to raised the minimum wage to $8.70 per hour,[12] and in 2014 to further gradually raised the minimum wage to $9.15 by 2015, $9.60 by 2016 and $10.10 by 2017.[13] In 2019, he has as the speaker made it a top priority to gradually increase of the minimum wage until it reaches $15 per hour in 2023.[14][15]

On January 19 2019, Aresimowicz sponsored legislation to authorize interest-free loans to federal employees during the shutdown of the federal government. Both the house and the senate approved the bill the following day, and it was signed by the governor on January 20, 2019.[16]

Honors and awards[edit]

Aresimowicz has been honored by a variety of groups, including the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, the New England Secondary School Consortium, the American Legion, the Connecticut State Firefighters Association, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, the Alliance of Connecticut YMCAs, the Connecticut State Medical Society, and the Connecticut River Salmon Association.[4]

Electoral history[edit]

Connecticut House of Representatives: General Election 2016: 30th District
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Aresimowicz 6,886 51.87
Republican Christopher Morelli 6,389 48.13
Total votes 13,275 100
Connecticut House of Representatives: General Election 2014: 30th District
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Aresimowicz 5,513 84.1
Working Families Joe Aresimowicz 1,043 15.9
Total Joe Aresimowicz (Incumbent) 6,556 100
Total votes 6,556 100
Connecticut House of Representatives: General Election 2012: 30th District
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Aresimowicz 7,400 86.2
Working Families Joe Aresimowicz 1,189 13.8
Total Joe Aresimowicz (Incumbent) 8,589 100
Total votes 8,589 100
Connecticut House of Representatives: General Election 2010: 30th District
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Aresimowicz 5,319 55.5
Working Families Joe Aresimowicz 345 3.6
Total Joe Aresimowicz (Incumbent) 5,664 59.1
Republican Jim Sargent 3,917 40.9
Total votes 9,581 100

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Joe Aresimowicz's Biography Print". votesmart.org. Vote Smart. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Pazniokas, Mark. "Ethics opinion: Aresimowicz can be House speaker, union staffer". ctmirror.com. CT Mirror. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b The CT Mirror, Political Guide, Joe Aresimowicz
  4. ^ a b Connecticut House Democrats, State Representative Joe Aresimowicz, Biography
  5. ^ "Legislative Leader Slipped Amendment into Bill". courant.com. Hartford Courant. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  6. ^ Stuart, Christine. "Plan To Save Edsall's Job Was Hatched At High School Football Banquet". ctnewsjunkie.com. CT News Junkies. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  7. ^ Connolly, Daniel. "New Law May Allow Corey Edsall to Coach with UConn Football Connecticut State legislators sided with Edsall over the state's ethics board". theuconnblog.com. The UCONN blog. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  8. ^ "State Ethics Board Comments on Edsel Amendment". courant.com. Hartford Courant. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  9. ^ VoteSmart.org, Joe Aresimowicz's Political Summary
  10. ^ Connecticut Network, Family Court System & Parental Alienation Informational Forum and Public Hearing, February 5, 2019.
  11. ^ O'Leary, Mary E. "Connecticut House majority leader Aresimowicz defends interactions with Soucy in taped calls". nhregister.com. New Haven Register. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  12. ^ VoteSmart, SB 387 - Increases Minimum Wage - Voting Record
  13. ^ VoteSmart, SB 32 - Increases Minimum Wage - Voting Record
  14. ^ Ebong Udoma, First Bills In Hartford: Paid Family Leave, Minimum Wage Hike, WSHU Public Radio, February 6, 2019.
  15. ^ State of Connecticut General Assembly, An act raisin the minimum wage in Connecticut, House Bill #5639, 2019.
  16. ^ Vote Smart, HB 5765 - Authorizes Interest-Free Loans for Federal Employees During Shutdown

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Brendan Sharkey
Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives
2017–present
Incumbent