Some political officeholders stay too long at the fair. Give state Rep. Art Feltman of Hartford credit for a thoughtful decision to bow out.
Mr. Feltman, a Democrat who is completing his sixth term representing the 6th House District, recently announced he will not seek re-election. He said he had run for office to pursue long-term policy changes that would revive the city. But he said the district now was desperate to solve short-term problems such as paying bills and having trash picked up, things he said did not play to his strengths.
With his announcement, Mr. Feltman makes an honorable exit from elected office after what has been a consistently useful career.
As a neighborhood organizer and city council member in the 1990s, Mr. Feltman was instrumental in creating the Hartford Community Loan Fund, which has made $15 million available to retain South End homeowners and small businesses.
In the General Assembly, Mr. Feltman worked on the new eminent domain law, civil unions and mental health parity — the idea that people with physical and mental illness should receive equal health care coverage.
He was also responsible for the law making both divorced parents responsible for their children's college tuition. As House chairman of the public health committee, Mr. Feltman brought out the bill banning smoking in bars and restaurants.
He sometimes bumped heads with the suburban majority in the legislature, as when he tried to end the territorial rating policy that causes higher car insurance rates for Hartford residents. Mr. Feltman unsuccessfully sought the Democratic mayoral nomination last year.
After he leaves office, Mr. Feltman plans to initiate a family literacy program "to increase the capacity of parents to help their children learn."
He said he hopes to work with the parents of very young children so that these youngsters do not start out behind their peers in reading. We wish him well.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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