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State Sen. Alex Kasser resigns and says she is leaving Greenwich because of stress from long-running divorce case

State Sen. Alex Kasser, a Democrat from Greenwich who is midway through her second term, abruptly announced her resignation on social media Tuesday, citing the continuing strain of a long-running divorce.

Kasser, a high-profile Democrat the 36th Senate District and a former corporate lawyer, is in the midst of a bitter divorce from Seth Bergstein, a Morgan Stanley executive. They are the parents of three children.

“Seth uses his powerful position at Morgan Stanley to enable his conduct, so I must work even harder to fight for my freedom. Because of the enormous time and energy this consumes, I can no longer serve my constituents to my fullest ability,” Kasser said.

“I can not longer live or work in Greenwich, as it is loaded with memories of the 20 years I spent raising my children here. It is too painful to be in Greenwich now that I’ve been erased from their lives,” Kasser said. She did not say where she was moving.

Janet A. Battey, an attorney representing Seth Bergstein in the divorce case, dismissed what she called Kasser’s “outrageous allegations.”

In a statement, Battey said Kasser “sadly continues to wage a public battle in the press while simultaneously dragging out the court proceedings. Throughout the marriage, Ms. Kasser described Seth as a devoted father and patient and loving husband. Seth and his three children sought to keep this matter private, but Ms. Kasser continues to make blatantly false public statements in furtherance of her own agenda.”

Bergstein, Battey said, “trusts the legal system and family court and that the upcoming trial will reveal Ms. Kasser’s narrative for what it is.”

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said she received Kasser’s resignation letter Tuesday; it is effective immediately.

Under state law, Gov. Ned Lamont has ten days to issue a writ of election to choose Kasser’s successor. A special election must be held on the 46th day after the issuance of the writ of election. Major party conventions must take place at least 36 days before the special election, according to Merrill’s office.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney said Kasser called him Tuesday morning to inform him of her decision, shortly before sending it out on social media.

Asked whether he had an inkling that Kasser was planning to step down before her term ends in January of 2023, Looney said no.

Looney said he is “certainly disappointed” by the news. Kasser is “clearly a valuable member of our caucus,’' he said. “We’re looking forward to the special election now which, depending on the time table the governor has to set, it would likely be a summer special election where turnout is challenging obviously.”

First elected in 2018, Kasser — then using her former last name of Bergstein — was part of a blue wave of Democrats elected to the legislature from Fairfield County. Bolstered by a surge of anti-Trump sentiment, she unseated Republican Scott Frantz to become the first Greenwich Democrat elected to the state Senate since 1930. She was reelected last fall.

Soon after her election Kasser came under fire when she acknowledged she was paying one of her aides out of her own money. She later said she was in a romantic relationship with the staffer. In an op-ed published in the Stamford Advocate last year, Kasser said she came out as gay more than a decade ago.

Kasser’s divorce figured prominently in her short legislative tenure and in her public statements about the proceedings. She was a prominent supporter of a bill passed this year that broadens the definition of domestic violence to include “coercive control.” Her divorce trial is scheduled for later this year.


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