Posted on December 7, 2021
State Representative Tony D’Amelio (R-71) today announced he will retire from the legislature at the close of the year, ending a nearly 25-year run as the voice of the people of the 71st district of Waterbury and Middlebury.
“To serve my friends and neighbors in the legislature has been an incredibly humbling experience and I’m grateful the people of the Waterbury and Middlebury placed their trust in and supported me for so many years,” Rep. D’Amelio said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, it has been my honor.”
Rep. D’Amelio was first elected during a special session in January 1996 to fill an open seat and has served the district honorably since. Currently, one of the longest-serving members of the House Republican Caucus, Rep. D’Amelio has served in many roles during his tenure, including as mentor to freshman legislators and currently as a Senior House Republican Caucus Whip.
Rep. D’Amelio said he’s choosing to retire at the end of this year to put more focus on his Waterbury restaurant, Verdi at Western Hills, and to spend more time with family. The pandemic and subsequent labor shortage put a major strain on many small Connecticut businesses, his included. The remote nature of last year’s legislative session also allowed him to reexamine and focus his priorities and he never seriously considered retirement until now, he said.
“The past two years have been difficult for all of us, and like many small busines owners I’ve been forced to put in a lot more time personally in order to keep the doors open and fully staffed. I’m thankful business is picking up again, but the restaurant is taking a substantial amount of my focus and the little extra time I do have I want to spend with my family. It’s not right to commit to a job if you’re unable to give it the full attention it deserves.”
Representative D’Amelio will continue to fulfill his duties and serve as a member of the General Law, Banking and the Housing Committees until the end of his term. Previously, he served on the Commerce, Public Safety and Security, Aging, Human Services, and Insurance & Real Estate Committees.
Well-known and respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his commitment to his district and always standing by his word, Rep. D’Amelio leaves office having helped accomplish many positive improvements for the local community.
“For years, Tony has embodied the best attributes of a state legislator, quietly focusing his energy on helping his constituents navigate the complexities of government as they work through questions or problems affecting their lives,” House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora said. “That dedication to people in his district has not only earned him accolades at home, but also respect from his colleagues in Hartford who rightly view Tony as someone who walks the walk. He’s been a leader within our caucus, particularly for those who are new to what can be an overwhelming job, and his departure will be a big loss for our team and the communities he serves. With that said, I know Tony will be there for any of us in the future and I have little doubt that he’ll continue to find ways to lend a hand to anyone in his area who needs it. That’s just the type of person he his.”
A passionate advocate for senior citizens, public safety, Brownfield redevelopment, community investment and the arts, during his tenure Rep. D’Amelio advocated for and helped secure funding and grants for the Mattatuck Museum, UConn Waterbury, the Palace Theater and downtown renovations, anti-gang initiatives, bridge replacement in Middlebury, and improvements for local parks including Murray, Town Plot, Chase, and East Mountain in Waterbury. A proponent of education, he supported and fought for Region 15 schools and athletics, the addition to Kennedy High School and the renovations and upgrades to the football complex, the new Carrington School and upgrades to Tinker School, and Naugatuck Valley Community College’s manufacturing program, and more. He strenuously fought against tax increases and business-killing mandates that harm the small businesses that are the backbone of Connecticut’s economy.
A lifelong resident of Waterbury, Representative D’Amelio previously served on the Waterbury Board of Education, and two terms on the Waterbury Board of Aldermen where he served on the Tax, Public Safety and Youth Committees, and on the Fire Board.
“It sounds cliché, but most people know to look for me at either the restaurant or up in Hartford, and for nearly 25 years the legislature has been like a second family,” Rep. D’Amelio said. “I will miss my colleagues immensely but I’m glad to exchange those long drives home after late session nights for more time in Waterbury with Joanne and the grandkids. Of course, my colleagues are always welcome to visit.”