Constituents weigh in on state senator’s accident

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STONINGTON -- Thursday marked one week since a car accident sidelined state Sen. Andrew Maynard. His lawyer said the 53-year-old is recuperating from a concussion at home and is awaiting a follow-up appointment with his doctor.

The head injury is the second one for Maynard in less than two years. In summer 2014, the Stonington man fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He returned to his Senate duties in January 2015, though he had difficulty speaking.

After this month's accident, constituents are questioning if Maynard is healthy enough for another legislative session.

"He probably isn't up to doing his job as a state senator," said Douglas Crandall of Groton. "From what you read, it's obvious that he isn't up to speed and it's unfortunate. Accidents happen."

Susan Egger of Pawcatuck said, "I think that he should be replaced if he needs to be. We should pay attention to what the doctors have to say about whether he's fit or not."

According to Maynard's attorney, it was the senator's understanding that he was cleared by doctors to drive. Joanne Carnevale from Mystic still wonders about his well-being.

"Do I think that he's prepared to fulfill the duties of his office? I'm going to say based upon what's happened, probably not. I was kind of shocked that he was in office after everything that happened," said Carnevale. "I think it's an unfortunate situation and I think it's time to say, maybe it's time to say, he needs to take care of himself."

Connecticut Democrats spoke out for the first time publicly on Thursday and continue to defend their peer.

"He's able to make it clear what his intent is and clearly he is engaged as an advocate as he always has been," said Sen. Martin Looney of Maynard's physical and political progress before this latest accident.

Looney, who serves as the Senate president, addressed rumors that Democrats fear they'll lose Stonington's seat if Maynard steps down.

"That's a ridiculous and cynical assertion and people should know better than to make it. The reality is the people of his district re-elected him to a full term in November of 2014," said Looney, pointing out that that vote was after Maynard suffered the traumatic brain injury.

Looney also responded to the more immediate question: what's going to happen when the 2016 legislative season starts on Feb. 3?

"We are looking forward to Sen. Maynard joining us on the Senate floor for the session," Looney said.

Maynard's attorney confirmed that the senator's intention is to be at the Capitol in less than two weeks.