John E. Piscopo

Position
State Representative
District
76th District: Burlington, Harwinton, Litchfield, Thomaston
Committees
Energy and Technology; Environment; Finance, Revenue and Bonding; Legislative Managment
Previous Positions
Chairman, American Legislative Exchange Council; UNICO of Watertown
Education
B.A., Eastern Connecticut State University
Occupation
Legislator
Public Financing
Yes
John Piscopo was the national chairman in 2013 of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the small-government and free-market advocacy group known as ALEC, whose agenda has included trying to convince states to withdraw from efforts to control greenhouse gases. The leadership post put the low-key Republican legislator from Connecticut's rural northwest hills at the head of a group controversial for its advocacy of business-written legislation.

In 2013, Piscopo was one of only two House members to vote against a bill requiring state officials to consider rising sea levels when approving funding for sewage treatment plants. Piscopo said the bill legitimized the threats of climate change and sea-level rise, which he believes are overblown. "If there is a sea level rise, it's minimal. It's really silly to put it in state statutes," Piscopo said. "If you're going to build a new treatment plant, you don't put it on the flood plain. You don't need laws to tell us that."

He was the only House member to vote in 2012 against a bill aimed at discouraging racial profiling by setting standards for how police must report demographic information on traffic stops. But in 2011 he was one of a handful of Republicans to vote to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, removing a law that urban legislators said often was used against young blacks. He also voted to legalize the production and sale of cannabis for medical use.

Piscopo, who opposes the intrusion of government into free markets, was one of two legislators in the General Assembly to vote against a bill in 2009 that broadened the coverage that group health plans must give for various forms of autism. He found common ground with Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on one free-market issue, voting for the governor's proposal to end the state's ban on opening liquor stores on Sunday.

Piscopo, who voted against the gun-control law passed in response to the shooting deaths of 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, voted in 2015 against the confirmation of Superior Court Judge Auden Grogins over her support for the Newtown law as a House member in 2013.

He lives in Thomaston with his wife, Patricia.
Election history
Piscopo won the seat in 1988, unseating Democrat Marie W. Galbraith by 63 votes. Recent elections have offered little drama.
Most recent election
John Piscopo R 9213
Myrna E Watanabe D 3795
Recent stories