A constituent coffee hour hosted by Rep. William Petit and a legislative colleague drew a small but politically engaged crowd to a downtown breakfast spot a few weeks ago.
Among the taxpayers anxious about spending and the government workers worried about looming changes to their retirement benefits stood a familiar figure from Petit's past, clutching a large gift bag.
Kathy Hein has known Petit for decades. She was a patient of his back when he practiced medicine, and before that, she was his high school teacher. "The class was called 'bachelor know-how,'" Hein said. "It was a little bit of cooking and a little bit of how to survive in life."