Robert Painter has declined to seek a fourth term on the Hartford city council because he believes he has reached the limit for how long he can serve effectively. His presence on the council will be missed nevertheless.
First elected in 2001 as a petitioning candidate - a rarity for Hartford - Mr. Painter has been at the forefront of several issues that have won favor with the public.
The retired heart surgeon and Republican community activist ushered through a measure to create a city design center that would assist developers in expediting hassle-free approvals and make sure projects conform to city plans - before developers spend millions of dollars on blueprints.
Mr. Painter also led the charge to replace the Hartford Parking Authority board in 2003 because of its patronage practices. And he helped cobble together a historic preservation ordinance that protects the rights of low-income residents.
One Painter idea that the city is actively pursuing is the development of a "College Park" campus on 11 acres of vacant land just north of downtown, to be shared by several local colleges.
He also initiated the idea of putting bike lanes on Capitol Avenue and has been a vocal supporter of decriminalizing drug use.
Mr. Painter says he expects to remain active on issues he deems important. We trust that this will be so, even as we both lament and respect his wishes to move on.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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