In honoring Prague's request, Osten opts for tougher race

posted Jul 18, 2012, 8:32 AM by Elect Osten
Click here to read JC Reindl's full article in The Day.

Hartford - Back in the spring, when state Rep. Chris Coutu, R-Norwich, was still pining for a seat in Congress, Sprague First Selectman Catherine Osten was a lead contender for the statehouse seat that he was giving up.

But she changed her goal for November after state Sen. Edith Prague of Columbia, a fellow Democrat, confided that she was retiring from the legislature and hoped that Osten would run instead for the Senate seat Prague had held since 1994.

"I'm not so happy about leaving my seat, to tell you the truth, but I have to be careful," Prague, the eldest member of the legislature at 86, said this week. Prague experienced a minor stroke in December. "I will feel better if somebody sits in my seat who will continue to do good for people in the district, and who's a strong labor person."

Osten, a former president of the supervisors' union for state prison guards, accepted Prague's invitation and endorsement for the 19th state Senate District, which includes Norwich, Ledyard, northeastern Montville, Franklin, Sprague, Lisbon, Marlborough, Hebron, Columbia and Lebanon.

But in agreeing to Prague's wishes, Osten entered a much tougher race. After Prague went public with her retirement plans, Coutu and state Rep. Tom Reynolds, D-Ledyard, announced their own candidacies for the Senate seat...

She noted how Prague lost the Democratic convention endorsement in 1994 but through a lot of hard work over the summer went on to beat the longtime incumbent in the primary, Kenneth Przybysz, and win the seat that November in a costly three-way battle.

"I plan on fighting like Edith did," Osten said. "Edith door-knocked until her hands bled. I told her it won't be my hands that bleed, but my feet will be blistered from stem to stern."