Linares ex­plores statewide of­fice

For­mer Ru­bio in­tern con­sid­ers run for lt. gov­er­nor, sec­re­tary of the state

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Neil Vig­dor

Repub­li­can Art Linares, the son of a Cuban ex­ile who in­terned for Marco Ru­bio and is part of the del­i­cate power-shar­ing equi­lib­rium in the state Se­nate, will form an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee for statewide of­fice.

Linares, 29, a three-term in­cum­bent from West­brook, was ex­pected to file pa­per­work with the state Elec­tions En­force­ment Com­mis­sion this week, the first step to­ward a po­ten­tial run in 2018.

The of­fice of lieu­tenant gov­er­nor and sec­re­tary of the state have drawn in­ter­est from Linares, who re­cently mar­ried Car­o­line Sim­mons, a House Demo­crat from Stam­ford. The cou­ple was forced to post­pone their hon­ey­moon be­cause of a 123-day state bud­get im­passe, which fi­nally ended last week.

“Over the course of the cam­paign, my goal is to knock on 100 doors in 169 towns,” Linares told Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia on Tues­day.

Linares was non­com­mit­tal on whether he will seek re-elec­tion to his seat in the Se­nate, where the bal­ance of power is evenly split be­tween Repub­li­cans and Democrats for the first time in more than a cen­tury. Democrats hold the tie-break­ing vote by virtue of hav­ing the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor as Se­nate pres­i­dent.

“If the state Se­nate and the suc­cess we’ve had is a launch­ing point for Art, that’s great,” said Len Fasano, the Repub­li­can Se­nate leader from North Haven. “Art is a very tal­ented kid who is the youth of the Repub­li­can Party and shows the di­ver­sity of the Repub­li­can Party. If he de­cides not to run for the

Se­nate and runs for statewide of­fice, I think that’s a great thing for our party and our state.”

Ed­u­ca­tion re­form, work­based learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and ap­pren­tice­ships will be a fo­cus of Linares, who is plan­ning to use the slo­gan, A New Con­necti­cut. He ex­pects to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion on his po­lit­i­cal fu­ture in three to four months, he said.

For now, Linares said, the plan is for he and Sim­mons to main­tain sep­a­rate res­i­dences in their dis­tricts. “We plan to keep both apart­ments for now, which comes in handy for a statewide race,” said Linares, who is treat­ing his Se­nate post as a full-time job af­ter sell­ing his shares in Green­skies Re­new­able En­ergy, a Mid­dle­town-based so­lar panel con­trac­tor.

As for whether he can count on Sim­mons’ vote should he run for statewide of­fice, Linares chuck­led.

“It will cer­tainly keep things in­ter­est­ing,” Linares said.

Cather­ine Aval­one / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Sen. Art Linares, R-West­brook

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