Addo Bonetti
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
In office
1967–1979
Succeeded byJohn J. Miscikoski
Constituency175th (1967–1973)
65th (1973–1979)
Personal details
Born(1926-04-04)April 4, 1926
Torrington, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedJune 6, 2021(2021-06-06) (aged 95)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Lois E. Sjogren
Military service
Branch/service United States Marine Corps
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsPurple Heart

Addo E. Bonetti (April 4, 1926 – June 6, 2021) was an American politician and Marine who served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 175th and 65th districts from 1967 to 1979, as a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to his political career he had served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II.

Bonetti was born in Torrington, Connecticut, and educated at Torrington High School. After graduating from high school he served in the United States Marine Corps where he would be given the Purple Heart after being wounded at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Following his service in the Marines he entered local politics in Torrington with campaigns for a seat on the Democratic Town Committee, Board of Tax Review, and town clerk.

He was elected to the state house from the 175th district and did not face significant opposition until the 1972 election. In 1972, he and Representative John J. Miscikoski were both drawn into the 65th district and Bonetti was initially defeated until the primary was invalidated and a new one was held in which Bonetti won. He served in the state house until 1979. Bonetti died in 2021.

Early life and education

Addo E. Bonetti was born in Torrington, Connecticut, on April 4, 1926, to Teresa Berti and Domenico Bonetti. He graduated from Torrington High School. On June 29, 1944, he enlisted into the United States Marine Corps and served during World War II. During the war he was wounded after a grenade hit his helmet at the Battle of Iwo Jima on March 12, 1945, and was given the Purple Heart on June 8. Bonetti was honorably discharged from the Marines on July 24, 1946. He married Lois E. Sjogren and stayed with her until her death in 1974.[1][2]

Career

Local politics

Bonetti ran for a seat on the Democratic Town Committee in Torrington as part of a rival slate to the slate endorsed by the Democratic Party in 1960, but lost and the slate of twenty-four candidates Bonetti was in failed to win a single seat. Bonetti was the member of the slate who received the highest number of votes.[3][4] Bonetti was appointed to the Board of Tax Review to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Guido De Angelis who was appointed to a job at the Litchfield State Jail, but Bonetti lost re-election in 1961.[4][5] Bonetti was elected with the Democratic nomination as one of thirty-two justices of the peace in 1962.[6] In 1965, he ran for town clerk with the endorsement of the Torrington Democratic Town Committee, but lost to Fred Bruni.[7][8]

He was a member of the Young Democrats of America and served as the treasurer of the Torrington Young Democrats.[9][10] He was selected to serve as a delegate to the Democratic Party of Connecticut's state convention in 1962 and 1968.[11][12]

Connecticut House of Representatives

Elections

During the 1966 election Bonetti ran for a seat in the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 175th district with the Democratic nomination and defeated Republican nominee John Cilfone.[13] Bonetti reported no contributions or expenses during the campaign, but the Citizens for Bonetti spent $431 on his behalf while Cilfone raised $92 and spent $92.[14] He won reelection after defeating Republican nominee Joseph Perosino, a member of the city council, in the 1968 election.[15][16] He defeated Republican nominee Cilfone in the 1970 election.[17]

Bonetti and Representative John J. Miscikoski were both moved into the 65th district after legislative redistricting in 1972. The Torrington Democratic Town Committee voted fifty-nine to two to not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary.[18] Bonetti was initially defeated in the primary by Miscikoski by one vote and a recount maintained Miscikoski's one vote victory.[19][20] However, Judge George Saden invalidated the primary and ordered a new one due to a Republican having mistakenly voted in the primary.[21] Bonetti defeated Miscikoski in the second primary and won in the general election against Republican nominee Edwin R. Chadwick.[22][23] He defeated Republican nominee William T. Barrante in the 1974 election.[24] He won reelection in the 1976 election against Republican nominee George H. Christian.[25]

Bonetti did not seek reelection in the 1978 election and the Torrington Democratic Town Committee endorsed Miscikoski.[26] Miscikoski was elected to succeed him in the state house.[27]

Tenure

Bonetti supported Ella Grasso for the Democratic nomination during the 1974 gubernatorial election.[28] In 1975, Speaker James J. Kennelly appointed Bonetti to serve on the Finance Advisory Committee until March 17, 1976.[29] During his tenure he served as vice-chair of the Appropriations committee.[30]

Later life

Bonetti considered running for mayor of Torrington in 1979.[31] Bonetti was selected by the Services for the Elderly Commission to work as director of elderly services following the death of Edward Sullivan. Although the commission recommended the appointment of Bonetti as director, Mayor Michael J. Conway appointed Margaret Murphy as director instead. George P. Avitabile, the chair of the commission, resigned in protest of the decision.[32][33] Bonetti then worked as an aide for House Majority Leader John Groppo.[34]

Robert M. Phalen, the city clerk of Torrington, announced that he would not seek reelection to a seventh term in 1981, after being fined $5,000 and given a suspended sentence of one year after not filing his federal income tax returns in 1977.[35] Bonetti petitioned himself onto the ballot and defeated Frank Czapor, who was endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee, in the primary.[36][37] He defeated Republican nominee Richard Zaharek in the general election.[38] He won reelection in the 1985 election against Republican nominee Roger F. Pollick and was the candidate who received the most votes in Torrington's city elections.[39] He won reelection without opposition in 1989.[40] Bonetti did not seek reelection and was replaced by Frank R. Vitalo in 1992.[41]

During the 1986 gubernatorial election, he supported Governor William A. O'Neill.[42] During the 1995 Torrington mayoral election, he supported Mary Jane Gryniuk and worked as a leader in her campaign.[43]

Bonetti died on June 6, 2021, at the age of 95.[1]

Political positions

Freedom of speech

Bonetti introduced legislation in 1969 which required the expulsion of college students or employees if they took part in a riot or a violent demonstration.[44][45] Representative Audrey P. Beck was the only legislator to oppose the legislation in committee.[46] The legislation got through the Education committee after Bonetti presented a petition showing that the legislation had the support of 115 members of the state house.[47][48]

Women's rights

The state house voted 148 to 10, with Bonetti against, in favor of an amendment to the Constitution of Connecticut which would prohibit discrimination based on sex in addition to the current listing of religion, race, color, ancestry or national origin.[49] The state house voted eighty-three to seventy-seven, with Bonetti against, on ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment which was not enough votes to ratify the amendment.[50] In 1972, the state house voted 120 to 49, with Bonetti in favor, in favor of anti-abortion legislation.[51] The state house voted ninety-nine to forty-seven, with Bonetti against, to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 1973.[52]

Workers

Bonetti supported the Committee to Stop the Strike which was an organization that opposed strikes being done at colleges.[53] Bonetti voted in favor of reducing the work week of state employees to thirty-five hours in 1967, but later stated that he regretted voting for it and introduced legislation to restore the forty-hour work week for state employees in 1971.[54] He introduced legislation which would freeze the hiring of state employees for two-and-a-half years after Governor Thomas Meskill temporarily halted the hiring of state employees.[55]

Electoral history

1961 Torrington, Connecticut Board of Tax Review election[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Thomas G. Zappula 7,598 27.35%
Republican Alfred Avagliano 7,548 27.17%
Democratic Addo Bonetti 6,362 22.90%
Democratic Anthony DeBerardino 6,269 22.57%
Total votes 27,777 100.00%
1965 Torrington, Connecticut town clerk election[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Thomas G. Zappula 7,088 55.92%
Democratic Addo Bonetti 5,588 44.08%
Total votes 12,676 100.00%
1966 Connecticut House of Representatives 175th district election[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti 3,777 58.80%
Republican John Cilfone 2,647 41.20%
Total votes 6,424 100.00%
1968 Connecticut House of Representatives 175th district election[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 4,438 64.37% +5.57%
Republican Joseph Perosino 2,457 35.63% -5.57%
Total votes 6,895 100.00%
1970 Connecticut House of Representatives 175th district election[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 4,011 61.77% -2.60%
Republican John Cilfone 2,482 38.23% +2.60%
Total votes 6,493 100.00%
1972 Connecticut House of Representatives 65th district Democratic primary (invalidated)[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic John J. Miscikowski (incumbent) 1,040 50.02%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 1,039 49.98%
Total votes 2,079 100.00%
1972 Connecticut House of Representatives 65th district Democratic primary[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 1,598 52.09%
Democratic John J. Miscikowski (incumbent) 1,470 47.91%
Total votes 3,068 100.00%
1972 Connecticut House of Representatives 65th district election[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 6,101 62.54% +0.77%
Republican Edwin R. Chadwick 3,655 37.46% -0.77%
Total votes 9,756 100.00%
1974 Connecticut House of Representatives 65th district election[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 5,291 70.51% +7.97%
Republican William T. Barrante 2,213 29.49% -7.97%
Total votes 7,504 100.00%
1976 Connecticut House of Representatives 65th district election[25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 5,799 63.52% -6.99%
Republican George H. Christian 3,330 36.48% +6.99%
Total votes 9,129 100.00%
1981 Torrington, Connecticut city clerk Democratic primary[37]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti 1,996 54.93%
Democratic Frank Czapor 1,638 45.07%
Total votes 3,634 100.00%
1981 Torrington, Connecticut city clerk election[38]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti 6,622 60.48%
Republican Richard Zaharek 4,327 39.52%
Total votes 10,949 100.00%
1985 Torrington, Connecticut city clerk election[38]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 6,777 63.60% +3.12%
Republican Roger F. Pollick 3,879 36.40% -3.12%
Total votes 10,949 100.00%
1989 Torrington, Connecticut city clerk election[40]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Addo Bonetti (incumbent) 7,910 100.00% +36.40%
Total votes 7,910 100.00%

See also