MONROE, CT — State Rep. J.P. Sredzinski, 40, represented his constituents in Monroe and Newtown for Connecticut’s 112th District since 2015, but after a period of reflection during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Republican decided to step down.
Today, he submitted a formal letter of resignation to Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill.
“If there is anything positive that the COVID-19 pandemic has showed me, it is that family and personal relationships are the most important aspect of our lives,” Sredzinski wrote. “There is no replacement, none at all, for quality time with family and our loved ones.”
“As you know, the position of a state legislator is a ‘part time’ job — requiring most people to have a full-time career outside the legislature in order to pay bills and support a family,” he continued. “For me, it became a balance of family, career and elected office. It is clear to me now that this balance needs a readjustment.”
In addition to his time of serving as a state legislator, Sredzinski has a career as superintendent of Public Safety Dispatch for the town of Stratford. He and his wife, Emanuela Palmares, have a son named Caio.
“Personally in my life as a husband, father, son, brother and friend; the decision to step down from elected office at this time is the right decision,” Sredzinski wrote. “Simply put, I need to prioritize the hours I have every day. And for me, family and career are the best investments of my time.”
Sredzinski’s resignation is effective immediately.
“I do not arrive at this decision lightly or in haste,” he said. “This has been a decision I have thought about for a long time. I have come to the conclusion that this is the right decision for me and my family for many reasons.”
A special election
Prior to becoming a state representative, Sredzinski was active in town politics, having served as chairman of the Monroe Town Council. In 2007, he lost a close election for first selectman to the late Democrat Thomas Buzi.
He also served as chairman of the building committee for the Monroe Police Department’s renovation project in 2011.
“JP Sredzinski has served admirably as Monroe’s state representative,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said Wednesday. “He has always been a strong voice for us in Hartford. I am extremely grateful for his dedication to this community, not just as a state representative, but for his prior service in Monroe that totals over 17 years, including being a former chairman of Town Council.”
“JP was always working hard for everyone,” Kellogg said. “Whether it was considering the local impacts to legislation, the challenges of our state budget and fighting for Monroe’s share of state aid, or simply helping a constituent get answers from a state agency, you could always count on JP.”
According to a press release issued by the Secretary of the State’s Office, “under state law, the governor has ten days to issue a writ of election to choose a successor in the 112th House District. That special election must be held on the 46th day after the issuance of the writ of election. Major party conventions must take place by 36 days before the special election.”
Monroe Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Patricia Paniccia said her party will reconvene its convention after official notification of Sredzinski’s resignation, get its delegates from the previous convention, and nominate a candidate for the special election.
She declined to comment on Sredzinski’s tenure.
Monroe Republican Town Committee Chairman Sean O’Rourke will also work with his party to nominate a candidate for the special election.
“It goes without saying that JP was a very talented smart, energetic, effective state representative for the 112th and, more importantly, he was friend to all of us here in Monroe,” O’Rourke said. “He’s definitely going to leave a big void to fill, but we have the utmost confidence that we’ll be able to fill that void quickly and competently. We, as Republicans in the 112th look forward to the special election and to continue to promote our vision for Connecticut.”
A call for unity
In his resignation letter, Sredzinski called attention to the political divisiveness in the country and called for healing. He wrote:
As I considered this decision, I reflected on my 17 years of political involvement in Monroe. Much has changed in the political landscape of our state and our nation.
When I first got involved in Monroe in 2004, politics was a different world from where it is today. Politics was about improving our community – despite a difference of opinion on how to do that. Whether that community was your neighborhood, your town, your state or your country – it was about making our community a better place to live. That is not where we find ourselves today.
I still have hope that we can come together, despite our differences, and work toward making our communities a better place. I have had the honor of having so many friendships with people throughout the years, that gives me that hope.
In the 17 years of serving the Town of Monroe (and later the Town of Newtown), I am proud to have accomplished many things. Maintaining a reasonable level of educational funding for the district, being a part of changing meaningful legislation, bringing in well over $1 million in state grants to the district, introducing and passing important legislation and being a part of passing a Republican state budget in 2017.
I have seen good bills pass. I have seen compromise. I have seen people step out of their comfort zones in the name of bipartisanship. This was the best part of public service.
But I have also seen the ugliness of politics. I have seen divisiveness. I have seen selfishness. I have seen lying and deception. I have seen a purposeful lack of transparency for convenience sake, watching the people’s voice being hushed. We as a state are capable of so much more than the ugliness of politics. With a little more effort, a little more humbleness, and a little more willingness, we all can be better public servants.
Recently, I heard a Congressman tell the media that we as a nation are in the “post 9/11 phase” – meaning that the greatest threat to our country does not come from outside our borders but from within. That our biggest challenge is division among ourselves, not division with others. If we want to grow and prosper as a nation, this division needs to heal.
I want to thank the voters of Monroe and Newtown for giving me their confidence in allowing me to serve them for the past 6 plus years. Their voices have been my inspiration for every moment of my service and I will always be eternally grateful.
As I exit this honorable role, I do so with my head held high, knowing I did my best every day for the community I had the privilege to serve. My hope is that the next person to hold this seat will do the same.