It’s fair to say Geno Auriemma is not intimidated addressing the state House of Representatives, part of the annual Husky Day observance at the state Capitol.

The women’s basketball coach took over the speaker’s podium after the House voted on a party-line vote to raise the minimum wage.

“Lovely if you had the same cooperation we have on our team among yourselves,” Auriemma deadpanned, scanning the chamber. Waiting a beat, he added, “I am a dreamer. I can dream, can’t I?”

He saw Rep. Timothy Larson, D-East Hartford, snapping a picture. He paused and stared at the former mayor, whose brother is a high-ranking member of Congress.

“Want to take a picture?” he asked. “First one’s free.”

He noticed Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, the son of Thomas D. Ritter, the former speaker and UConn trustee. He recalled Ritter squeezing him to address his high school class, invoking his father’s name.

“You little punk,” he said, barely smiling.

Auriemma thanked the legislators for their support and for a tradition going back to 1995, the first championship season. He said his team is honored to represent all the other teams whose athletes work just as hard out of the limelight.

He’ll be back next year.

Meantime, try the veal.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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