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Death With Dignity a Winning Campaign Issue in Connecticut

With all the issues voters consider, there is never just one reason a candidate wins an election.  But when someone campaigns – and wins – on end-of-life choice, it’s worth noting. That’s exactly what happened in a special election for the Connecticut State Senate this week. Gary Holder-Winfield, already a member of the State House, spoke eloquently on the campaign trail about how watching his own mother’s end-of-life suffering led him to support a death-with-dignity bill. The bill, sponsored by State Representative Betsy Ritter, would legalize the medical practice of aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in Connecticut.

“Going through that and watching her suffer changed my perspective,” Holder-Winfield told The New Haven Independent.  “The whole time she was in pain. I’d go see her—sometimes she would cry the whole time.” He believes his mother would have wanted the choice to bring a peaceful end to her life.

The candidate Holder-Winfield defeated said he would vote against the legislation. 

Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont may be the highest profile politician to win office as a death-with-dignity supporter. Thanks to his leadership on the issue, he was also able to sign Vermont’s first-in-the-nation death-with-dignity law last year.

Voters in Connecticut responded positively to Senator-elect Holder-Winfield’s outspoken support for end-of-life choice, and for legislation that would give his constituents the option his mother never had.  Polls in Connecticut and nationwide show it’s a winning issue, so we expect to see more candidates advocating for this most fundamental right. 

Photo of Senator-elect Gary Holder-Winfield courtesy New Haven Independent.