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February 20, 2023 / 2023 Power 50

2023 Power 50: 2. Matt Ritter & Martin Looney

Yehyun Kim | CT Mirror House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, wants to give working poor families an extra $300 per year in tax relief.

With the 2023 legislative session underway, Rep. Matt Ritter and Sen. Martin Looney continue to preside over Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, respectively, making them major influencers in shaping state policy.

Looney (D-New Haven) is the Senate President Pro Tempore, who was first elected in 1992. He’s been known to advocate for progressive policies, including an expanded earned income tax credit for the working poor, higher minimum wage, and paid family and medical leave.

Martin Looney

For example, Looney is backing a bill this year that would eliminate the tipped minimum wage — often paid to restaurant servers and others who earn customer tips — and instead require all employers to pay the state’s higher, regular minimum wage, currently set at $14 per hour.

Ritter (D-Hartford), who is also a lawyer at Hartford law firm Shipman & Goodwin, comes from a political family. His father Tom Ritter was a former House Speaker and is now a partner at law firm Brown Rudnick in Hartford. Tom Ritter also sits on the UConn board of trustees. Matt Ritter’s mother, Christine E. Keller, is a former justice of the state Supreme Court.

Ritter and Looney both know well how business runs inside the Capitol. An issue they’ve jointly worked on is improving racial equality in the state. 

In September, they co-bylined an op-ed touting legislation passed last year that requires future budget proposals by the governor to include an explanation of how its provisions further efforts to ensure equity in the state. 
“This law ensures that, moving forward, budget proposals identify and remedy past and present patterns of discrimination and address racial and socioeconomic inequity,” they both wrote. 
Both men are leading the House and Senate, respectively, through the 2023 session, where issues including budget spending, affordable housing, tax policy, energy and healthcare costs, early childhood education and mental health are being debated. 

Find out who else is in the 2023 Power 50.

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