Opinion: Thank you and farewell

Then-State Rep. Fred Wilms (R-142, during a Committee meeting in the Statehouse. (Contributed)

Fred Wilms has been District 142 State Representative for four years, from 2014 to 2018. His last day is Tuesday. 

Serving these past four years as your State Representative has been an incredible honor. Public service is part of who I am. After 15 years in Norwalk City Government, I learned that I like to govern and fix problems. I am also good at working with others regardless of political party. So the legislative atmosphere these past four years felt comfortable; I got a lot accomplished because of the close balance of power between Republicans and Democrats.

Below are some of the highlights:

  • Implementing Structural Changes in the State’s finances. In 2017, we passed the first Republican budget in over 30 years. Eventually this became the bipartisan budget, which implemented – for the first time – real structural reforms. This included no new taxes, no tax increases, an honest balanced budget, a spending cap, a borrowing cap, mandatory legislative votes on union contracts and over $1 billion into the Rainy Day Fund. Furthermore, the Medicare Savings Program was protected. As a key member of the Appropriations Committee, I am proud of the role I played.
  • Reforming the Educational Cost Sharing formula.  For the first time in decades we passed ECS reform that benefits Norwalk. My very first bill in 2015 was for ECS reform. Hitting brick walls, I kept trying. So in 2017, I teamed up with Democrat Representative Bruce Morris and successfully saw much of our bill passed into law via the budget.
  • Fixing our Transportation woes. While many transportation problems remain, I am proud of two actions. Last year we got the car sales tax allocated to the Special Transportation Fund. Using these existing revenues for a new purpose prevented fare hikes, protected the New Canaan train line and restored many of Norwalk’s bus services. I supported the Lockbox, which ensures transportation funds are used only for transportation projects.
  • Updating old laws to keep pace with new technologies. I co-sponsored groundbreaking legislation for Ride Sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft; this allows them to thrive in Connecticut while also protecting consumers. As our society becomes more e-based, I co-sponsored bills for electronic notification of legislators, electronic insurance ID cards and expanded uses of Tele-health services.
  • Protecting those ravaged by addictions. I was proud to co-sponsor legislation that fights the Opioid epidemic. Last year over 1,000 people died from heroin/fentanyl overdoses. Separately, as we rush to expand gambling, I spoke up on behalf of the 5% of adults ravaged by gambling addiction. I consistently proposed allocating 5% of gambling revenues to the gamblers recovery fund.
  • Assisting those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Our co-sponsored bills provided additional resources and training.


The most gratifying aspect of my role was in helping many of you. My caucus got Medicaid coverages restored, reinstated medical prescription assistance and lowered electric bills for homeowners. However, my happiest memories were hosting the Norwalk and New Canaan fourth grade field trips to the Capitol. On the House floor our kids asked great questions and we all had lots of fun voting to extend school vacations!

Of course, I wish the results of the November 2018 election had been different. I will miss my colleagues, my hardworking staff, serving on committees – and amazingly even those late nights at the end of Session!

However, life moves forward and the only wise choice is to embrace it. I wish success for Lucy Dathan. For me, I will simply look for new ways to serve. I hope to see many of you in the coming months. Please know that I am always available to you as a resource.

Clarification 4:10 p.m.: Post updated to show that Fred Wilms’s last day as State Representative is Tuesday.


Piberman January 6, 2019 at 11:27 am

Fred Wilms was one of just a few CT Legislators with a strong command of finance courtesy of a professional career in banking. And was courteous and responsive to all. We shall miss his public service – an old fashioned “true public servant”. Another reminder of how the qualifications for public service have so markedly changed. As have the economic and fiscal fortunes of both Norwalk and CT itself. In the end we get the governance we deserve. As evident from the broad view that CT is the nation’s most mismanaged State in the nation with an unprecedented Exodus of its most able residents.

Patrick Cooper January 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Thank you for your grace, and service Mr. Wilms. Your class and competence will be sorely missed. Perhaps the only upside for you is – once extracted from the mosh-pitt of Hartford politics, you’ll only need to shower once a day. That’s good for the environment.

See you around town, Fred.

carol January 6, 2019 at 3:16 pm

you will be greatly missed,your dedication to the people of norwalk was a rare occurrence
best of luck in your future endeavors and hope you will stay active
on the political scene.

Isabelle Hargrove January 6, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Fred, thank you for your service. You proved to be a formidable legislator with the financial acumen, dedication, and personal skills to set you apart. I look forward to the next chapter in your civic engagement.

Kathleen January 6, 2019 at 4:13 pm

Thanks for all you accomplished for us and for doing it with grace and courtesy. And, please count on those of us you helped so much to help you move forward into your next endeavor. You will be sorely missed.

Sue Haynie January 6, 2019 at 5:35 pm

Norwalk bit its nose off to spite its face by placing politics over competence. We lost a true advocate. Thank you Fred

Joe January 7, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Mr. Wilms would have won had he stood up for Connecticut citizens and opposed the sanctuary state and illegal aliens.

JOHN C ROMANO January 7, 2019 at 4:33 pm

Fred has always been the best at whatever he has done. A genuine people first person. He comes at what he does from a business financial perspective that is missing in most politicians. He does his homework and works diligently at all that he puts on his plate. A hard worker for sure. So Fred enjoy your time off. We need you involved and engaged. You are our secret sauce.

John ONeill January 10, 2019 at 2:08 pm

I met Fred for the first time at a West Norwalk event. I was struck by how balanced at his approach to CT politics He didn’t blame anyone for current state of CT. He just wanted to be part of the helping find a solution. I think his one weakness politically may have been insufficient social media presence. Unfortunately, that’s part of today’s landscape.
As far as his successor – I’m not sure she’d be able to give directions from New Canaan High School to Brien McMahon High School, but was somehow elected. I fear our electorate misread some of her views are and we may end up paying dearly for that (Both figuratively and Financially)..I wish Lucy Dathan well, and look forward to being pleasantly surprised if proven wrong. In conclusion, I am hoping Fred stays active as we certainly need sane, intelligent voices to protect taxpayers.

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