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Is Maynard ready?

It is more than five months since state Sen. Andrew Maynard suffered a debilitating head injury in a fall. It is about one week from the swearing in of a new legislature. The senator's constituents, including those who voted to return him to office, deserve solid information about his ability to serve.

More specifically, the public deserves to hear from the Democrat. If he is not ready to speak in public and answer news media questions, that certainly raises doubts about his capability to function as a legislator when the General Assembly resumes with the Jan. 7 swearing-in of lawmakers.

Sen. Maynard, 52, has a strong record as a state senator. His moderate approach has served him well and proved popular with voters in the 18th District. It is the reason - along with weak competition - that voters returned him to office Nov. 4 with 58 percent of the vote, despite the fact the senator remained in a rehabilitation unit and has made no public appearances since his July 21 accident.

At 2:30 that morning, according to the police report, Sen. Maynard was helping someone move furniture up an exterior stairway, lost his balance and fell headfirst about 10 feet to a concrete surface. The brain injury was traumatic. The predictions of his recovery have been highly speculative.

In the lead up to the election, the family released a statement that "it is our genuine belief that, given the progress over the last two months, Andrew will be ready to serve." Earlier this month, incoming Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney told the Hartford Courant that he anticipated Sen. Maynard's return.

"At this point, we are assuming he will be back with us during the session," said Sen. Looney.

State senator is a demanding job, particularly during the session, with reams of legislation to read, committee meetings to attend, constituents to meet with, ceremonial appearances and long days with a lengthy commute.

If the senator is ready, it is time to demonstrate that is the case. A treating physician should be made available to explain the prognosis. In the best-case scenario, Sen. Maynard has recovered sufficiently to serve.

If not, the process should begin to elect a replacement.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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