It's Time For The Next Chapter

May 8, 2024

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Popular state representative won't seek re-election after two decades of representing the same district as his father

HARTFORD – State Representative Peter Tercyak isn't sure what happens in the next chapter of his life. He knows it's time to turn the page.

Tercyak, 69, will not seek re-election in New Britain's 26th district, a seat he won during a special election in 2003, succeeding his father, Anthony, who served the district from 1994-2003.

"It's just time for the next chapter," said the soft-spoken Tercyak, who recently co-hosted the 33rd Annual "Polish Day At The Capitol," a popular and well-attended event held on the first Friday of May. "There are people who have been here longer than I have who I hope never leave, so I'm certainly not going to say I've been here long enough. I don't want to say I'm too old. It's just that time. I've always been deliberate with my life. I'm not leaving because of anything. It's just time for my next chapter."

Rep. Tercyak's next chapter will involve spending more time with his grandchildren.

"It bums me out when my wife gets to go and take care of the grandkids, and I'm not picking them up from daycare or taking them the next day because I'm here," Rep. Tercyak said.

In addition to his public service as a member of the General Assembly, Rep. Tercyak has been a registered nurse since 1984. He worked with patients in the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services from 1985-2003. After his election in 2003, he was a home-care nurse. Throughout his career, he cared for hundreds of patients with behavioral health and substance abuse problems.

He also cared for the nurses, including his colleague and friend, Joyce Grayson, a visiting nurse who was killed at a halfway house last month. It was the impetus behind Rep. Tercyak co-sponsoring SB1, An Act Concerning The Health And Safety Of Connecticut Residents.

"I did community nursing, I worked with Joyce Grayson. Joyce Grayson was good," Rep. Tercyak said. "She knew what she was doing. If it could happen to Joyce Grayson, it could happen to me, it could be anybody. That's the only piece of legislation it's hard for me to leave on, but we're moving on it. There will be studies, recommendations, and changes."

Passing Campaign Finance Reform?

"No.1 law of my tenure was when we passed Campaign Finance reform and started the public Campaign Finance Program. Rep. Tercyak said. "That makes everything else possible. And it was legislators setting limits on us. I set the record for the cost of a state house campaign. It was a special election [2003]. There was nothing else for people to give to. We barely had rules about writing it down.

"I spent $50,000 for a special election. I was the only one of three candidates in favor of campaign finance reform. I'm now bragging about voting for the law that requires local support, local low-dollar donations, and says you can't spend more than about $30,000. Imagine! A $5 campaign donation is as important as $100. People can have faith that a candidate in the Public Financing Program is beholden to them and the people in town, not to special interests."

Rep Tercyak has a well-earned reputation for sticking up for workers. He chaired the Labor Committee. He worked with allies in SEIU 32BJ and 1199, other unions, and the AFL-CIO on issues including minimum wage, health benefits, workers’ rights, and pensions.

He can also brag about the annual success of Polish Day At The Capitol, founded by former State Representative Stanley Krawiec, and continued by Tercyak's father. He's been connected to the event for the last 21 years.

"Polish Day has been a wonderful tradition," Rep. Tercyak said. "New Britain has a vibrant Polish community, and I would say the parts that are considered the Polish sections are in my district. It has always been seen as a Polish seat, and it has always been important to me that it has been a Polish seat, and I'm proud of it. And I’m proud of my constituents who celebrate New Britain’s Polish heritage as part of our diverse community.”

House Speaker Matt Ritter stopped by Polish Day to greet a large gathering and to acknowledge Rep. Tercyak.

"As some of you know, our good friend Peter Tercyak is not running for re-election, and he is retiring..." Speaker Ritter said. "Peter has had an incredible career here at the state Capitol and is the single-driving force behind this tradition, so why don't we give him a round of applause for his efforts over the years."

And with that, the Speaker led a loud chorus of applause and cheers in the North Lobby of the Capitol. 


Peter Tercyak


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