Connecticut Republicans succeeded in sending a political newcomer to the General Assembly to take over a Senate seat long held by Democrats. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports Art Linares also will be one of the state's youngest Senators.
Not many 24-year-olds decide to run for office but Art Linares isn't the typical twenty-something. He helped start a successful solar power company when he was just nineteen. "I started the business in the basement of my home with my friend who later became my brother in law. It's doing very well. We build solar power for Walmart and Target Corp across New England and the mid-Atlantic states. We've helped create 100 jobs in the construction industry." The business is Greenskies and it's based in Middletown not too far away from Westbrook where Linares grew up. He's the son of a Cuban immigrant and as a young Latino, Linares says he hopes to help his political party attract new members like him. "End the gridlock and work together across the aisle to get things done. I think that's what people want right now. They're tired of this being about winning and losing and politics. This isn't what this is about. It's about helping real people solve real problems and that means collaborating." According to Linares's campaign website, he's inspired by another Cuban American, U.S Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. He volunteered in Senator Rubio's D.C. office. In his new position, Linares says he especially wants to reach out to other young people and minorities in Connecticut with the message that they can accomplish anything with hard work. "You know I'm just a kid from Westbrook, Connecticut. I see this as an opportunity to go up to Hartford. I'm not planning on running for higher office, I just want to help the people in my district." Linares will be sworn in as State Senator of the 33rd district January 9, the first day of the new legislative session. His senate district represents twelve towns that include Essex, East Haddam, and portions of Old Saybrook. The seat has been held by Democrat, Eileen Daily, who is retiring after 10 terms. for WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil