State Representative Gail K. Hamm (D-East Hampton) has decided not to seek re-election following the completion of her seventh term at the conclusion of 2012. Hamm’s decision follows the release of new House district lines which remove Middletown from the 34th House District and adds East Haddam and part of Colchester. Rep. Hamm was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998.
“I’ve carefully thought about re-election for many months,” Hamm said in a press release. “I’m very proud of the 14 years of service I’ve given to my district and especially enjoyed representing the families of the 34th House District.”
Beginning in January 2013, the new 34th district will be comprised of East Hampton, East Haddam and a small western section of Colchester.
At the time, Hamm, a resident of East Hampton, had this to say about the redistricting and the changes to the 34th District.
"Middletown has always been vital to the 34th House District," she told Patch. "The reconfigured district will require some evaluation on my part, but right now, I look forward to serving my constituents."
Some of the important issues highlighting Hamm’s career include:
- Decriminalizing offender status for 16 and 17 year olds
- Advocating for constituents concerning the Department of Children and Families and Connecticut Juvenile Training School
- Preservation and restoration of the Comstock Bridge
- Updating safety regulations at the Kleen Energy Power Plant
- Providing funds for the Chatham Historical Society
- Repealing the sales tax on caskets
- Securing funding for Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton
- Establishing the Governor William A. O’Neill highway
“Gail Hamm has served the people of her 34th District with distinction for 14 years,” House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden) said. “She has made important contributions to Connecticut, working tirelessly with colleagues to set policy and direction on issues involving children and the law. Her integrity and professionalism are universally admired, and she will be missed in Hartford.”
Said House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden): “Rep. Gail Hamm has been a powerful advocate for the people of her district and made many accomplishments as a champion for children. Her contributions to the safety and well-being of our children will have a lasting impact far into the future, as will her passion for the law.”
Hamm was elected to the East Hampton Board of Education in 1991 and maintained the position until she ran for the General Assembly in 1998. Hamm served as Chair between 1995 and 1998. During her tenure on the board, she chaired the personnel committee and was responsible for negotiating contracts with all unions, including teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries and bus drivers.
“It has been an honor to have served along side Rep. Hamm, and her wisdom and friendship will be sorely missed. During her tenure in the House, Gail consistently displayed an unwavering integrity and love for her community that set a standard we can all strive for,” State Representative Joseph Serra (D-Middletown) said.
So far, only former East Hampton Town Councilman Chris Goff, a Democrat, has filed the necessary paperwork to run for the 34th District seat. Goff his candidacy on Feb. 16. Hamm's announcement could lead to more candidates stepping forward.
Despite her decision, Hamm said she plans to continue advocating for children and adolescents and remain active in local politics.
"After two decades representing Middletown, it's safe to say that nobody fights harder for children and the environment," said State Representative Matt Lesser, who represents the 100th Assembly District, serving Durham, Middlefield and Middletown. "I have enjoyed serving with Gail and wish the very best to her and her family."