District towns: Hartford, Wethersfield
Election history: Fonfara won an open Senate seat in 1996, succeeding Senate Majority Leader William A. DiBella, D-Hartford. He also was elected to five terms in the House, beginning in 1986. In 2008, Fonfara was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party and opposed by the Republican and Green parties.
2008 general election
|John W. Fonfara (D)||17,402||72 percent|
|John W. Fonfara (WF)||1,496||6 percent|
|Barbara J. Ruhe (R)||4,027||17 percent|
|S. Michael DeRosa (G)||1,109||5 percent|
2008 Democratic primary
|John W. Fonfara||2,511||60 percent|
|Edwin Vargas||1,661||40 percent|
Public financing: Fonfara received $74,975 for his primary and $85,000 for his general election campaigns. He returned a surplus of $15,061.25 to the state.
Background: Fonfara touts the passage of a sweeping energy bill in 2007 as his signal achievement since taking over the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee. On his web site, he promises the bill “will lead to savings for Connecticut consumers, increasing state investments in energy efficiency and conservation; new local energy production; clean, renewable energy sources; and, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.” The bill passed with the strong support of leaders in both chambers, but had its detractors in the House, where the measure passed over opposition from key members of the Energy and Technology Committee.
His Energy co-chair, Rep. Vickie Nardello, has said the bill does too little to control Connecticut’s high energy costs and has called for the creation of a public power authority, an idea supported by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Citizen Action Group and AARP. Fonfara voted for the bill in committee, but it died on the Senate calendar in 2009 after passing the House, 96-45.
Fonfara’s overall voting record is in the Democratic mainstream. In 2008, he voted to increase the minimum wage and require private employers to offer paid sick leave. In previous years, he voted to restrict junk food in schools, decriminalize medical marijuana and require hospitals to provide emergency contraceptives to rape victims.
Committees: Education, Energy and Technology (co-chair), Finance, Program Review
Education: B.A., University of Connecticut; M.A., Trinity College
Occupation: Advertising consultant
2008 Financial Disclosure: Fonfara reported income from his billboard company, Face Value. He owned no securities.
Fonfara owns a home in Hartford.
He filed a confidential addendum listing any debts exceeding $10,000. He declined to release the addendum, as is his choice under the law.
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.