“We don’t look at this as a political issue,” Connecticut state Sen. Art Linares told the Hartford Courant.
But in fact plans for Republican Linares and Democratic state Rep. Caroline Simmons to embark on a two-week honeymoon to South Africa after they get married todayare inextricably tied up in a state budget crisis.
As the Courant’s Daniela Altimari reported this week, the couple had planned their nuptials for what is usually a quiet time of year. Like Indiana, Connecticut has a part-time legislature, and its business is usually wrapped up by July. But lawmakers have been fighting bitterly over the coming year’s budget for more than three months. Unless a legislative consensus miraculously emerges, Linares and Simmons may have to postpone or delay their trip. Republicans fear Linares’ absence might make a difference if the measure comes to a vote in the Senate; Simmons’ inability to vote might be similarly critical for Democrats in the House.
Linares, 28, and the 31-year-old Simmons are both “viewed as collegial and pragmatic,” Altimari reported.
They met in a group Linares founded called the Bipartisan Young Legislators Caucus.
Legislators on both sides of the aisles are finding inspiration in the unlikely love story. Scott Frantz, a Republican senator who is a friend of Simmons’ parents, told Altimari he hopes that the marriage is a sign political divisions in the state can be healed. “It sends a really good message,” he said.
Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said he was hoping the legislature would give the couple a bipartisan budget as a wedding gift. “I’m very pleased that they were able to do this in what otherwise can be a combative place,” he told Altimari. “That they were able to find true love (at the Capitol) is pretty cool.”