District towns: East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks
Election history: Kissel won a special election in 1993, succeeding Democrat Cornelius O’Leary, who resigned. In 2008, he was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party.
2008 general election
|John A. Kissel (R)||22,045||50 percent|
|John A. Kissel (WF)||2,161||5 percent|
|George A. Colli (D||19,870||45 percent|
Public financing: Each received $85,000 in public financing for their campaigns under the CItizens’ Election Program.
Each returned a surplus: Kissel,$6,297.03; Colli,$2,588.93.
Background: Kissel and Leonard Fasano were the only two Republican senators cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party in 2008, a reward for their votes in favor of mandatory sick days. The bill, which failed in 2008, was passed by the House in 2009 and died from inaction on the Senate calendar. His vote prompted a scathing column by a member of the Enfield Republican Town Commitee.
Kissel also voted with the Democratic majority to extend workers compensation benefits, but he is not an across-the-board vote for labor. In 2008, he voted with the GOP minority to oppose a minimum wage increase.
On social issues, Kissel has had a mixed record. He voted to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity, but he was one of only seven senators to oppose a bill that codifies in state law a court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Kissel supported the legalization of medical marijuana and requiring hospitals to offer emergency contraceptives for rape victims.
With six prisons in his district, Kissel has made corrections policy one of his legiislative specialties.
In 2009, Kissel joined with local Democratic representatives to call for Connecticut to drop its ban on Sunday liquor sales. He said that merchants in his districts on the Massachusetts line were losing sales across the border.
Kissel is married and the father of two. They reside in Enfield
Committees: Aging (ranking member), General Law, Judiciary (ranking member), Program Review (co-chair)
Education: B.S., B.A., University of Connecticut; J.D., Western New England College Law School
Occupation: Lawyer, Northeast Utilities
2008 Financial Disclosure: Kissel reported outside income from Northeast Utilities. His wife, Cynthia Kissel, is employed by Benedetto’s Florist. They own their home in Enfield.
Kissel owns a retirement fund and one mutual fund.
He voluntarily disclosed debts of more than $10,000 to New Alliance Bank, 360 Federal Credit Union and CitiMastercard.
A note on financial disclosure: Every spring, officials are required to disclose the ownership of real estate, the source of any income exceeding $1,000 in the previous calendar year and securities worth more than $5,000. They also are required to file an addendum in which they report any debt of more than $10,000; this may by law be kept confidential.