Wilton resident Keith Denning has announced he is running for the state representative seat in the newly-created 42nd District. The district was formed in the recent redistricting effort to include all of Wilton and parts of New Canaan and Ridgefield as of the November 2022 state legislative elections.
Denning, a Democrat, last ran unsuccessfully for a seat on Wilton’s Board of Selectmen in 2021; this campaign for the state legislature would be his second foray into local political elections since moving to Wilton in 2017. Before that, he was appointed as an alternate member to the Wilton Board of Zoning Appeals in 2021.
“Staying active in our community has always been a big part of my life, so I know how important it is that we have a representative in Hartford we can rely on. We need someone who can move the needle, make it easier to do business, cut taxes for our families, ensure excellent schools, and keep New Canaan, Ridgefield, and Wilton safe,” Denning said in a press release sent out Monday morning, Mar. 7.
Denning is a certified registered nurse anesthetist. He has worked as a staff anesthetist in hospitals in Missouri and Ohio and then as the chief anesthetist at two surgical hospitals in Cincinnati.
In addition, he has served on medical missions throughout the world, including to Nicaragua, Paragua, Cambodia and the Middle East, working with Operation Smile and the medical organization PCRF. Denning said that his professional and volunteer work, including in areas related to housing needs and relocating refugees, will inform his work in Hartford if elected.
“I’m a healthcare provider, so I had a front-row seat to how bad the pandemic truly was. From being laid off after elective procedures were stopped, to returning to work to care for COVID patients, and having to quarantine away from my grandchildren, I was right there in the worst of it. I’m looking forward to being a leader as we move past it. In particular, I intend to lead on the emotional health needs of our children,” Denning said in the release.
“Keith’s talent lies in bringing people together. He knows how to put progress over partisanship,” said Wilton Democratic Town Committee Chair Tom Dubin. “He’s smart and deeply thoughtful about the important issues facing Wilton, New Canaan, and Ridgefield, and he’s going to make a fantastic representative in Hartford.”
As of now, the only other candidate to declare a bid for the 42nd district is Wilton resident Kim Healy, a Republican.
Wilton currently has two state representatives — Norwalk resident Rep. Stephanie Thomas (143-D) and New Canaan resident Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125). With last year’s redistricting, Wilton was separated from Norwalk and the town now is covered entirely within the 42nd district, including the smaller portion of Wilton that O’Dea had represented.
Thomas has already announced she is not seeking re-election to the state legislature but instead will run for Secretary of State.
Denning is a father and grandfather who lives in Wilton with his wife Christine.