Stratford: Mayor Hoydick resigns 120th House seat
Published 4:59 pm, Friday, December 29, 2017
STRATFORD — Mayor Laura Hoydick, fulfilling a campaign promise, announced Friday afternoon that she’ll resign her 120th District House seat on Jan. 2 at 10 a.m.
Hoydick, a Republican, has been a member of the Stratford delegation to Hartford since March 2010, when she was elected to fill the unexpired term of Rep. John Harkins, who was first elected mayor in November 2009. The 120th encompasses the town’s North End and sits entirely in Stratford.
“We did a lot for Stratford and we brought a lot of money back to the town,” she said of her work with the Stratford delegation. “The biggest one was keeping Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford but there were other projects too — the rerouting of Main Street (around Sikorsky Memorial Airport), the brownfields grants and the Army Engine Plant — it’s those infrastructure grants that are critically important to jobs and economic development.”
The campaign promise aside, there’s no law that prevents a municipality’s chief elected official from serving in the state legislature, officials said. For example, Allan W. Dunsby, Easton’s first selectman, also represents the state’s 135th House district.
The announcement will set off a flurry of activity within the Democratic and Republican town committees, which will each have to settle on a candidate to run for the vacant seat.
Officials said that after the vacancy is declared by the secretary of the state, a special election will have to take place within 45 days after that on a date that’s set by the governor. Because this is a special election, there’s no possibility of a primary; the naming of candidates will be entirely up to the town committees, officials said.
“So it looks like the special election will take place mid- to late February,” said Republican Town Committee Chairman Lou DeCilio.
“I’m very interested and excited about running for that seat,” said Bill Cabral, a Republican who represented the 7th council district from 1995 to 2001. He served on the Board of Education after that, as well as on a number of other committees and commissions in town. Professionally, he’s vice president of finance and human relations of Microboard Processing Inc. in Seymour.
DeCilio confirmed that Cabral is the likely front-runner for the Republican nomination, adding that he doesn’t see anyone else emerging to challenge him.
DTC Chairwoman Stephanie Philips said that her party will decide on a candidate after the new town committee is seated at the Jan. 10 Democratic caucus.
“We have a number of good people who are interested,” she said. “In addition to representing Stratford, we’re concerned with what’s going on in Washington — it’s important that Stratford has someone who that will not only represent the town, but also stand up to President Trump.”
Philips said that it’ll be a challenging campaign because the 120th has traditionally elected a Republican to its seat in Hartford.
To the eventual winner, 2018 will be a difficult year of almost constant campaigning; the winner will have to immediately begin work on the campaign for the regular election in November.
“It won’t be easy,” said state Rep. Joe Gresko, who represents Stratford’s 121st District.
He should know. In February 2016 Gresko, a Democrat, won a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Terry Backer. He had to run again in the fall, although he was unopposed that time around.
House members receive $28,000 annually in wages, $4,000 for expenses, plus reimbursements for getting to and from Hartford.
Since her election as mayor, Hoydick said that she has been “assuring the smooth transition of her committee and caucus leadership positions” in anticipation of her resignation. She served as deputy Republican leader as well as a ranking member of the Energy and Technology Committee.
She also resigned her post as executive director of the Stratford Chamber of Commerce earlier this month.
“It has been a great honor and pleasure to serve the people of the 120th District for the past seven years,” she said. “As I have pledged, I will now be focusing my full and undivided attention on my duties as mayor. We have many issues and projects of great importance to our residents and we have already begun the hard work ahead of us all.”
Hoydick was sworn in as the town’s third mayor on Dec. 11, succeeding Harkins who announced in March that he wouldn’t seek a third four-year term.
Laura and her husband, Paul, are the parents of three daughters, Brooke, Jillian and Paige. She has a business administration degree from Sacred Heart University where she is a member of the National Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Lambda.
Hoydick also served seven years, four as chairwoman, on the Board of Education.