Person of the Week
Len Fasano Honored to Have Served as State Senator for 18 Years
Len Fasano recently announced that he would not seek re-election after serving as state senator for the 34th District since 2003. (Photo courtesy of Len Fasano )
In his ninth term in office as 34th District state senator representing East Haven, North Haven, Wallingford, and Durham, Len Fasano announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020.
“It’s a combination of things—I’ve done it for 18 years and that’s a long time,” Len says. “Number 2 is the last few sessions have been very, very time-consuming and that seems to be the trend. If you can’t do this job as a leader at 110 percent, you shouldn’t do the job and that’s the way I’ve worked this position. It’s time get back to more time with my family, more time with the businesses I’m involved in, and to take a step back and catch my breath.”
Though Len will be stepping away from political obligations, his calendar will be quickly filled by other engagements. Len and his wife Jill have three children and two grandchildren. The Fasanos raised their kids in North Haven, but they’ll now have more time to travel to visit their children and grandchildren, who now live out of state.
“Other than Christmas, it was always tough because there’s always something—whether it’s session, an event, or running for election—it has a lot of pulls,” says Len. “I thought as I got older there would be less obligations outside of politics, but it’s the opposite. I look forward to more visits with my family.”
Len also plans to ramp up his involvement in his businesses. He owns commercial properties as well as Silver Sands Beach & Tennis Club in East Haven, where he enjoys playing tennis when he is able. He’s also the president and founder of Fasano, Ippolito, Lee, & Florentine, a law firm with offices in New Haven and Branford.
For now, though, Len is still dedicated to serving his district and its constituents and facing the challenges that COVID-19 is bringing. He notes that he has served through several challenging times over the years, including Governor John Rowland’s resignation and impeachment, the recession of 2008-’10, Sandy Hook, and hurricanes, tornadoes, and other storms.
“Each of those situations was unique, but [COVID-19] is the most all-encompassing issue and there’s no pre-existing playbook,” says Len. “Everything that is done has an effect on something else. There are things we can do better, but until you see it up close from a government standpoint on how many moving parts there are, it’s tough to get down to details. There’s a bigger picture that we have to figure out. It’s very, very difficult.
“The governor has been very collaborative and his people have been collaborative and there have been a lot of conversations back and forth,” adds Len. “I support the governor and what he’s done. You can’t get every problem out there, but he’s done a good faith effort to resolve them.”
One of Len’s favorite parts of his job has been collaborating with his fellow legislators. He notes that despite the stories in the news, there were “many more things we agree on than we don’t.” He learned to listen to differing viewpoints over the years from his fellow legislators and from his constituents.
“From the day I walked into that [Capitol] building to today, I’m a different person for the better,” says Len. “You grow as a person because you see what other experiences people have and how they view things differently because of those experiences—that is mind-altering in the way you think of things, the way you argue in the building. All those experiences made me a more thoughtful person, a more well-rounded person, and in that way, the building gave me more than I ever gave the building.”
Len recalls working on several issues that made an impact on his district and the state. Len worked on bills for veterans and reducing mammography costs for women. He helped block Broadwater Energy from building a natural gas facility in Long Island Sound and was part of forming a bipartisan budget that has given Connecticut the biggest surplus in its history. He’s also worked closely with State Senator Martin M. Looney (D-11) on several health bills.
“There were a lot of accomplishments and there were also failures, both of which were important,” says Len. “I’ve enjoyed working with Looney on historic health bills that are now a model for the country. With everything, it’s not just me. It’s working with people. I don’t take credit for any of it—I’m part of a group that got this accomplished.”
Len says he’s also worked closely with North Haven’s state representative, Dave Yaccarino, and first selectman, Mike Freda. The people Len has most enjoyed working with, though, are the residents of the towns he serves.
“Each town is a different character and has a different flavor, but I’m blessed to have four towns that are full of really good, solid people who work hard for their money, who know the importance of a dollar, and who understand the significance of helping each other out,” says Len. “Whether it was the tornado that ripped through North Haven a couple years back or the hurricane and superstorm in East Haven, the commonality was the neighborhoods coming together and helping each other. In my district, they’re just remarkable people, down-to-earth folks who believe in each other and believe the strength in their town is their community.”
Though he’s leaving political office, Len will still be immersed in the East Haven and North Haven communities. Len will miss many things about being in office, but he’s grateful for the time he served.
“It was a tough decision because I love what I do, I like people, and I like being involved in the policy,” says Len. “I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the fact that the 34th District gave me the opportunity of a lifetime—to serve as state senator and be a part of Connecticut’s history for a small slice in time. It’s something I always wanted to do. Some people don’t get the honor of doing something they always wanted to do. I don’t think I could thank the district enough for their support over the years. It’s going to be hard to leave.”
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .