Mr. Haskell goes to Hartford
HARTFORD — In the 140 -year-old Capitol building, 22-year-old Will Haskell was sworn in Wednesday as a state senator with a plan to involve those on the sidelines of public policy.
“I hope it will be the job of this chamber to reach out to voters who are apathetic, or pessimistic, or too often do not vote. Let’s demonstrate government is a place to come together and politics, if practiced responsibly, can help people,” Haskell said after he took the oath of office, calling on his new colleagues and Connecticut residents, “to believe in the good of government.”
Sitting at his large brown chair in the circle of 36 senators, Haskell said it took him a while for the new life to set in. “It didn’t feel real,” Haskell just before the late-morning event.
Several senators pointed out Haskell’s stark age difference compared to the other legislators during the ceremony. “When I put my tie on this morning I realized it’s more than three years older than Senator Will Haskell,” Martin Looney, D-11, a state representative since 1981 and current President Pro Tempore of the Senate, who has worn the same opening-day neck tie.
Haskell, a Westport native and 2014 Staples High School graduate who collected his degree from Georgetown University in May, launched an insurgent campaign against veteran senator Toni Boucher, winning the district which includes parts of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton
“He continues to amaze me and make me proud. It’s exciting to see him have a fresh start and begin the next chapter of his life,” Haskell’s mother, Nancy Aldrich, a Westport resident and local lawyers said after the swearing-in ceremony.
Haskell said he’ll focus on promoting modernized infrastructure, progressive social policies, and a millennial-friendly state. “Gun violence prevention is my number one priority,” Haskell, who plans to introduce a bill to ban ghost guns, said, adding he hopes to remain accessible to his constituents with frequent visits and communicate his day-to-day work via social media.
Throughout the day’s festivities Haskell was surrounded by a cadre of family members and supporters, including his college roommate and campaign manager Jack Lynch, who came up from his new home in Washington to attend the ceremony.
“It was a really good excuse for missing class. It’s funny to see everyone call him Senator Haskell,” Haskell’s girlfriend and fellow Westport native Katie Cion, a student at Harvard Law School, said, adding that she and Haskell would attend the inauguration ball later that night in the nearby Connecticut Convention Center.
“I’m here today because I’m excited about the new session...Will Haskell is clearly the future,” John Hartwell, former Westport Democratic Town Committee Chair, said.
Despite her loss to Haskell, Boucher also attended opening day activities in the Capitol. “I may not have a vote, but I do have a very strong voice and I plan to continue using it,” Boucher said.
For the next two years, however, the voice of the 26th district in Hartford is Haskell.
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