State Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford, Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington) will seek re-election in the 5th Senate district.
By Ronni Newton
State Sen. Beth Bye, a West Hartford resident whose 5th district also includes Bloomfield, Burlington, and Farmington, announced Friday that she has decided to seek re-election this fall.
Bye, who has filed her paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, publicly stated her intentions on Facebook early Friday morning, posting: “This has been a challenging year on many fronts. Every two years, I consider whether to run again. This year takes extra consideration. 2018 is not the year to step away. It’s a year to lean in. It’s a year when so many of you inspired me to keep working for justice, and for a thriving CT. We must build that beloved community together. I’m running.”
“I usually wait until after the session,” Bye said in a phone interview with We-Ha.com on Friday afternoon. She was first elected to the State Senate in 2010, and prior to that served in the State House, so she is a veteran of many election and re-election campaigns.
Bye’s wife, West Hartford Town Historian and retired teacher Tracey Wilson, has been undergoing treatment for cancer, and that was a major consideration in Bye’s decision-making about running, as well as the timing of her announcement.
Many presumed she would retire this year. “With Tracey being so ill there have been so many rumors, they’ve been so persistent,” Bye said.
“Tracey and I really needed to think about it, and we decided as a family that I would run again,” Bye said. It was not an easy decision.
The national political climate influenced her decision as well, as did the emergence of young female candidates and leaders whom she would like to support and mentor.
After serving in the legislature for so many years, Bye said she is now at the point where initiatives and projects she supported and fought for have come to fruition, including the construction of the new Charter Oak International Academy school building in West Hartford, public preschool in West Hartford, expansion of the Burlington Library, and the flourishing Jackson Laboratories and other bioscience developments in Farmington.
“I understand the system and can help communities,” Bye said.
One of her current focuses is expansion of high-speed broadband service. Along with transportation infrastructure, it’s key to encouragement of start-ups and economic development, which the state very much needs.
“I feel like I’m in a good position to focus on these initiatives,” Bye said.
West Hartford’s current unemployment rate is just 2.9 percent, and the rate is low in the other towns she represents as well, Bye said. The state’s economic situation is not all negative, and people still want to come here.
Along with growing the economy, Bye said it’s important not to lose focus on caring for residents.
“We need economic development, but we also need to take care of people,” Bye said.
Bye and State Rep. Derek Slap will hold a joint re-election campaign kickoff fundraiser on Monday, Feb. 26, from 5:30-7 p.m., at the home of West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and Michael Cantor.
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