Logan Learns To Play On A New Stage

Paul Bass PhotoJuggling duties as a frontman for a Jimi Hendrix tribute band and a freshman Republican state senator from a diverse district, George Logan hit on a tune to which much of his audience can dance: “Don’t raise taxes!”

Logan has found a way to communicate with people through his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, a talent he began honing as a high school senior growing up in New Haven’s Kimberly Square neighborhood. He has played in bands for decades. His current band, Electric Lady Land USA (the Hendrix tribute band), gets the crowd dancing at Toad’s Place.

(Watch the most recent gig in the above video. Logan sings and plays lead guitar on songs like “Voodoo Chile” and “Hey Joe”; he doesn’t light his Fender on fire.)

At 48 years old, he has also launched a political career. He is in his first term representing the 17th State Senate District — which includes Hamden, Ansonia, Derby Woodbridge, Bethany, and Beacon Falls — in Hartford. He’s finding that both jobs require communicating with people from different walks of life, especially in a district like his, with families of all income levels.

“It’s a feeling of connectedness, Logan said during an appearance on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program. “You’re playing the music. Folks are grooving and dancing with it. Similarly in politics, when I’m talking with folks, I’m talking about what my priorities are. I’m listening to folks. When I see that the work I’m trying to accomplish in Hartford is in line with the people of my community, that’s wonderful.”

In this year’s legislative session, Logan, a Republican, supported the eventual bipartisan budget that became law. He called it a triumph of the two major parties working together. He also praised the lack of major tax increases in the budget. He’s hearing a refrain — “Don’t raise taxes!” — across his district.

“We had to work together” because Democrats no longer have a large enough majority to pass their own legislation without any defections, he observed. “We need to do more of that.”

A self-described fiscal conservative and “moderate” Republican, Logan was an unaffiliated voter for decades. He joined the Republicans two years ago, figuring he needed to find the party where he’d be more comfortable in order to run for office. He said he’s determined to work with all groups regardless of power: He took no stand on the 2016 presidential election. He met recently with a new progressive group in his district, the Hamden Progressive Action Network (PAN). While they respectfully disagreed on taxes, he said, he learned from the conversation about opposition to a state proposal to steer revenue form increased teacher pension contributions to the general fund rather than the teachers’ retirement. He agreed that the money should boost the fund, and brought that message to Hartford, he said.

Trained as an engineer, Logan works as director of environment management at Aquarion Water Company. Logan is a first-generation American; his parents moved here from Guatemala. His mom worked as a secretary at Yale, his dad in a local factory. Asked about the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration, he replied, “I don’t feel we should be rounding up” immigrant children or “people who have been here for years.” But he also said he doesn’t see a need for the declaration of “sanctuary cities.” The federal government needs to fix the immigration problem through legislation that sets a coherent national policy, he argued.

That has proved tough in divided Washington. Getting there will require parties to ... work together, the way they had to in Hartford this year.

Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear the full interview with State Sen. George Logan on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven.”


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