Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has told The Associated Press she will resign Thursday to care for her ill husband, leaving office six months before her third term expires. Governor Ned Lamont will make the appointment fill the vacancy.
The veteran Democrat, who was first elected as the state’s top elections official in 2010 after serving 17 years in the Connecticut General Assembly, said that it was a hard decision, considering this is an election year, and that she feels responsible for making sure it runs smoothly. However, Merrill, 73, said she can no longer juggle the job and helping care for her husband.
“It’s too much for me. I can’t do both, and I have to be at home,” she said during an interview Tuesday in her office, where she was packing up old photos of her days in the legislature. “I don’t have full-time caretakers, and it wouldn’t work, anyway. He’s very dependent on me, and I’m dependent on him in a lot of ways.”
Merrill announced about a year ago she would not seek a fourth term.
When the legislature is not in session the responsibility to fill a vacancy for a constitutional officer falls to the governor, according to a news release issued by Lamont on Tuesday. That appointee serves the remainder of the constitutional officer’s term.
Statement from Lamont:
“Denise Merrill is a dear friend to me, and her exit from public service is a tremendous loss for the people of Connecticut. Denise has had a long history of serving the public good in Connecticut and has become one of the most respected secretaries of state in the country. I am proud to have partnered with her on our collected efforts to increase access to voter registration, increase access to casting a ballot, increase election transparency, and streamline the way businesses interact with our state government. It can’t go without noting that our most recent statewide election resulted in the highest number of registered voters casting ballots in our state’s history, which is a credit to Denise’s efforts to encourage voter participation. Denise has delivered results, and our state is stronger because of her efforts. My prayers are with her and her family, and I thank her for everything she has given to Connecticut.”