Klarides: ‘I’ll do Things My Way’

State Rep. Themis Klarides made history when her colleagues chose her as the first female state House Minority Leader in state history. Now she is making it clear that she will put her own mark on her caucus in the 2015 session. Among the issues she’ll be watching closely is the potential effort to expand casino gambling in Connecticut.

Klarides succeeds Larry Cafero who retired from the House. “He did such a wonderful job for the last eight years we worked together, bringing the caucus respect and to the forefront. But I’m a different person with a different style and I definitely plan to do things my way,” she said.

Klarides sees the performance of Republican candidates in this last election as reason for real optimism. “Of all the votes cast for state representative [in the 2014 cycle], 49 percent were for Republicans. We have more Republican House members than any time since 1992.”

Much has been made of the Republicans’ claim that they missed gaining control of the state House by less than 1,900 votes. Democrats counter that they missed having a veto-proof super majority by

Like her counterpart in the state Senate—newly chosen Minority Leader Sen. Len Fasano—Klarides sees the House Republican Caucus as being wholly different from the national GOP. “Absolutely. This is not something new. We’ve been saying for years that northeast Republicans are philosophically different. We are more toward the middle and shouldn’t be painted with a broad [national] brush,” she said.

One issue getting attention recently is whether the legislature should work toward allowing additional casinos in the state to counter resorts/casinos coming to Massachusetts. Klarides says she expects there will be hearings but while she wants the existing casinos to thrive, “We have to balance what’s best for them with what’s best for the state.”