With the numbers of Democrats and Republicans in Hartford as close as they have been in decades, Trumbull Republican David Rutigliano’s position is more important than it has been in decades.
Rutigliano represents the 123rd District in the state House. The district is located entirely within Trumbull. Last week, Minority Leader Themis Klarides named him to a leadership position within the party by making him the party whip.
The whip is the communication arm of the party’s leadership,” Rutigliano said. “My job is to poll the members, and relate their concerns to leadership. If they have any questions, it’s my job to explain things.”
A party whip also is responsible for making sure the party’s members are present when important bills are called to a vote. With the state Senate now deadlocked pending two special elections, and the House split 78-72, a party’s organization can be the difference between winning and losing.
“I’m excited to take over the role. It gives me more of a voice and influence over the agenda,” Rutigliano said. “I’m also in a position to create the agenda, which is exciting.”
The GOP currently has 72 representatives in the House, still a minority but a major advance from just 10 years ago, when just 37 Republicans held seats.
Rutigliano attributed the steady gains to dissatisfaction with the state’s direction under Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy and a Democratic Party-controlled Assembly.
“Statewide in the most recent election, Republican candidates received 300,000 more votes than Democrats,” he said. “That’s a response to the fact that we’ve been doing the wrong thing in Hartford for years, and it’s hurt a lot of people.”
In addition to leadership posts, the parties handed out committee assignments last week. Rutigliano was named to the Regulation Review Committee, which reviews pending and passed legislation to assess its effect, and the Labor and Public Employees Committee, which has oversight over things like workplace safety, minimum wage and labor disputes.
Trumbull’s other elected representatives also received their committee assignments. Laura Devlin, R-134, who represents parts of Fairfield and Trumbull, will serve on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, which reviews business and personal taxes, and the Transportation Committee, which covers highways and bridges, railroads, and all mass transit.
Finally Ben McGorty, R-122, who represents Shelton and part of Trumbull, has been assigned to the Environment Committee and the Judicial Review Committee, in addition to the Transportation Committee.