There will be a State Election held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Redding Community Center. For more information, visit the Town of Redding website.
The following state offices are up for election: Governor; 4th Congressional District; CT State Senate District 26 (represents all of Redding); CT State Representative District 2 (represents Northern Redding); CT State Representative District 135 (represents Southern Redding); Lieutenant Governor; Secretary of State; Attorney General; Treasurer; Comptroller and US Senator for Connecticut.
Biographies for the Democratic candidates for each office are detailed below.
Candidate for CT State Senate District 26 (includes all of Redding) – Will Haskell
Will Haskell was raised in Westport, Connecticut and is a graduate of the Westport Public Schools. He believes the values of his community – equality, justice and respect – are sadly absent in Hartford. He hasn’t spent decades in public office, but he’s prepared, ready and eager to help Connecticut turn the page from an era of dysfunctional government.
In Connecticut and Washington, Will has dedicated himself to electing smart, accountable politicians, elevating our public discourse, and improving all levels of government. Will worked for the Democratic National Committee, where he analyzed state legislation and fought to protect the right to vote. He has also interned with Hillary for America and the Capitol Hill offices of Congressman Jim Himes and Senator Chris Murphy. In Washington, he assisted the Community Tax Aid program by lending a hand to low-income residents as they filed their taxes. He helped launch the Free Speech Project, an academic endeavor based at Georgetown and dedicated to monitoring and protecting the freedom of expression. In Connecticut, he aided the Office of the Public Defender, helping low-income defendants navigate the criminal justice system after their arrests. This experience gave him a deep appreciation for the work of our state employees, as well as a knowledge of the flaws in our criminal justice system.
This year, Will graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and chose to return to Connecticut. These are his roots—this is where he learned the values he hopes to bring back to public service. Growing up in the 26th district, he was surrounded by the incredible artists and visionaries who make our community remarkable. As the President of the Staples Players, he learned the importance of fostering the arts both inside and outside of the classroom. In high school, he spoke up to fight cyber bullying and earned national media attention for his efforts. And it was here where Will first learned that the strongest way to safeguard our democracy is to make our democracy more accessible. This is why he has decided to run against Toni Boucher, an incumbent who has spent her career impeding access to the ballot.
Will believes that the perilous financial condition of our state has scared too many young people away from building a future here. If elected to the state senate, he plans to propose policies that would draw more young people to Connecticut. He believes that investing in public transportation and enacting paid family leave will bolster our future workforce.
Like so many others in his community, Will is tired of the hearing the same empty promises and partisan infighting from Hartford. It’s time to elect a new voice who brings different ideas and an eye for Connecticut’s future. Every day, entrenched lawmakers make decisions that will impact our state for decades to come – but they’re doing so without any input from the next generation. As a stakeholder in Connecticut’s future, he’s eager to challenge the status quo and be a voice of change in the General Assembly.
Will knows this is a trying time – for our state, and for our country. With the state senate tied for the first time since 1893, this is a crucial election. Will believes it’s an opportunity to change course. His campaign is driven by the timeless questions: If not me, who? If not now, when?
Candidate for CT State Representative District 2 (includes Northern Redding) – Raghib Allie-Brennan
Raghib is a hardworking Connecticut native who loves his community and cares deeply about our families and towns. His father immigrated to Queens, NY from Guyana and Raghib was raised in Bethel, where he currently resides. His father worked multiple jobs to support his family and built a successful IT company based in Connecticut. That work ethic and commitment to perseverance were instilled in Raghib at a very early age.
Raghib is running for State Representative for three reasons: 1) to support small businesses and help fix our budget crisis, 2) to stand up for public education, and 3) to invest in Connecticut’s green energy future.
As a former Congressional adviser in the U.S. House of Representatives, Raghib developed deep policy knowledge on energy and environmental issues, emergency response, Foreign Policy and civil rights. He has drafted environmental protection legislation that received bipartisan support, served as a lead staffer in efforts to secure Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding, and has testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding environmental justice issues.
In 2015, Raghib returned home to Bethel, and began setting out to find ways to give back to his community. He ran as the Democratic candidate for State Representative in Connecticut’s 2nd District, losing by a small margin in a Republican stronghold during the wave of 2016.
Raghib was not discouraged by his electoral loss and has, in fact, redoubled his efforts and commitment to his community, finding new ways to engage in important causes. He is an active board member for three Connecticut organizations: the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Triangle Community Center in Norwalk, and Vice President of the HERO Project which brings awareness and resources to the opioid epidemic in the Danbury area. He also lends his support to organizations and causes in other parts of the state and works with various groups such as Action Together CT.
In addition to his extensive community and organizational commitments, Raghib successfully maintains a demanding day job helping small businesses secure grants and loans from the Department of Economic and Community Development at the firm Pastore & Dailey LLC in Stamford.
Recently, Raghib has led an effort to ban fracking waste in his hometown of Bethel. With a strong commitment to working in a bipartisan manner, Raghib was able to secure support from Republican State Representative Steve Harding. His ability to work across the aisle in building productive coalitions are qualities he would bring to his service in Hartford.
Raghib graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies. Upon graduating, he interned for Congresswoman Esty, whom he still considers a mentor and friend.
With years of hard work and community service under his belt, Raghib believes that now is the time for new voices, new perspectives and new ideas in Hartford. He wants to keep our towns moving forward and bring bold, energetic, and vibrant leadership to the people of the 2nd District.
Candidate for CT State Representative District 135 (Southern Redding) – Anne Hughes
Anne has decades of experience with community building and leading non-profits into fiscal, mission-driven viability. Some of her experience includes:
- Coordinator with the the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at Jewish Senior Services for the 10 towns in lower Fairfield County.
- Serving on Easton’s Commission on Aging.
- Fieldwork at Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging, working with policy makers and community providers at the Capitol to prepare the workforce and resources needed for CT’s aging constituency.
- Manager with Fairfield County non-profit CLASP for 12 years, which provides homes and supports for adults with autism and intellectual disabilities.
- Co-Director with Silver Lake Conference Center for 11 years, a youth camp and retreat center for all ages in Sharon, CT, supported by the CT Conference of the United Church of Christ.
- Anne was born and raised in Fairfield as one of five daughters of public school educators Phil and Kay Meiman. She recognizes the crucial role that access to good quality public education and affordable higher education play in securing CT’s future.
As a political organizer and artist, Anne has led and participated in hundreds of rallies with pithy signs for human rights, gender and wage gap, worker’s rights, disability rights, affordable housing, racial justice, peace, immigrant rights, nuclear disarmament, and climate policy since she was old enough to pull a red wagon with stacks of newspapers and recycling from her neighbors’ porches.
Anne has faith in CT’s future. She has first-hand experience with the resources and strategies that could drive CT’s economic future, make this a desirable place to live and work for CT’s graduates and young families, and a better place to retire for its long-time citizens.
A CT can-do attitude can model what transition to renewable energy, environmental sustainability, investment in first-class public transportation, equitable tax reform, education cost-sharing, and student loan relief to CT’s workers looks like-to the rest of the country. Anne is enthusiastic about working with this team of other proactive Democrats who pledge to collaborate to implement smart, long-term policy to work for everyone.
Candidate for CT Governor – Ned Lamont
Ned Lamont is about getting the job done. As governor, Ned will fight every day for Connecticut as an example of what politics can and should be.
As a businessman, Ned started his own company, taking on the large and established giants of the telecom industry. His driving idea was a simple but revolutionary one: a better product at a lower price, with a commitment to put the needs of his customers first. Under Ned’s vision and stewardship, the company grew to serve over 400 of America’s largest college campuses and 1 million college students across the nation.
As a public servant, Ned got his start shortly after college, founding a weekly newspaper in a town hit by the loss of its largest employer. Covering town meetings and the Board of Selectmen, he helped to bring voice and transparency to a community working to recover from job losses and reinvent itself. Later, as a member of both the Greenwich Board of Selectmen and the Board of Estimate and Taxation, Ned worked in a bipartisan effort to safeguard a multimillion-dollar budget and deliver results for constituents. For four years, Ned also served as Chairman of the State Investment Advisory Council, overseeing a multibillion-dollar state pension fund.
As a volunteer teacher, Ned also sought to give back to his community by volunteering at Harding High School in Bridgeport. In an effort to pass on the entrepreneurial spark, Ned taught students about the inner-workings of small businesses, bringing in local businesspeople to share their own experiences, and helping to place students in local internships. Ned is on the faculty of Central Connecticut State University as an adjunct professor of political science and philosophy, where he also helped to found a popular business start-up competition. In early 2009, he helped lead an initiative to bring together Connecticut leaders from across the business, nonprofit, and labor sectors to unite in a strategy to create new jobs in the state.
As a candidate for United States Senate in 2006, he stood up for his convictions and challenged the political establishment. Taking on long-time incumbent Joe Lieberman for the Democratic nomination for United States Senate, Ned campaigned on the platform that wars in the Middle East were draining resources and attention that could be better focused on pressing domestic issues like the economy, education, and healthcare. In their endorsement of Ned for the general election, the New York Times wrote that Ned’s “willingness to take on Mr. Lieberman when no one else dared to do it showed real courage and conviction.” Though he was defeated in the general election, he has stayed active in Democratic politics, serving as co-chairman of the Obama campaign in Connecticut. As a private citizen he has continued to fight for the issues he believes, serving on the boards of Mercy Corps and the Conservation Services Group, non-profits which seek to make a difference in the humanitarian and renewable energy fields, respectively.
As governor, Ned Lamont will draw on these varied experiences to challenge the conventional wisdom in Hartford and get our state back on track.
Candidate for CT Lieutenant Governor – Susan Bysiewicz
Susan Bysiewicz was raised the proud granddaughter of immigrants who came to Connecticut from Poland and Greece with nothing but hopes for a better future. After many years of factory work, they saved enough to buy a farm in the Westfield section of Middletown that became Susan’s childhood home. Growing up and working on the farm, she and her siblings learned the values of hard work, education, and persistence.
Susan’s father Stan was a pilot in World War II, and ran their family farm as well as a small business. Her mother, Shirley Raissi Bysiewicz, was the daughter of Greek immigrants. She attended law school, becoming the first woman to be a tenured law professor at the University of Connecticut, and was a pioneer for women in the legal profession in Connecticut.
Susan’s parents taught her to fight for what she believes in and to stand up for others who need help.
Susan graduated from Yale University and Duke Law School. Susan’s Yale senior thesis on former Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso was later published as a book titled Ella: A Biography of Ella Grasso. While at Duke, she met her future husband, David Donaldson, and after graduating, they returned to Connecticut.
The legacy of determination, hard work and perseverance is what guided Susan when she served in the State Legislature and represented Middletown, Middlefield and Durham, and they continue to guide her today. As a State Representative, she wrote legislation to ban dangerous “drive-through” mastectomies and ensure that women being treated for breast cancer had proper care. Susan also fought political patronage and wrote the law to ban lobbyists from giving gifts to legislators.
As Secretary of the State of Connecticut, Susan helped thousands of businesses grow, registered thousands of voters, cut bureaucratic red tape, honored veterans, and fought to keep elections fair.
Now, as a business lawyer and a job creator, she has helped over fifty companies access millions of dollars in capital, expand their businesses, and create hundreds of jobs in our State. Susan knows that our economy thrives when we create good-paying jobs and everyone has access to affordable healthcare.
David and Susan reside in Middletown. Their three children, Ava, Leyna, and Tristan, are all recent college graduates. As the mother of three, Susan understands the need to make higher education and vocational training more affordable for families in Connecticut. As a life-long Democrat, she believes in a woman’s right to choose, pay equity, and for equal rights for everyone in our state.
Running for re-election for CT Secretary of the State – Denise Merrill
Denise W. Merrill, elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014, is serving her second term as Connecticut’s Secretary of the State. Denise has focused her time in office on protecting and expanding the right of Connecticut citizens to participate in free and fair elections, on making registering and voting easier and move convenient, and on streamlining and modernizing Connecticut’s business services offerings.
Denise has taken the lead in making it easier for Connecticut’s voters to register, successfully fighting for Election Day Registration, online voter registration, and, most recently, automatic voter registration trough the Department \
of Motor Vehicles and the federal “Motor Voter” law. She continues to be in the forefront of the fight to make casting a ballot more convenient by advocating the implementation of early voting in Connecticut.
Denise has been a champion of protecting the privacy of Connecticut’s voters by standing up to the Trump administration’s Pence-Kobach Commission’s heavy-handed attempt to use voter registration information to fraudulently disenfranchise voters nationwide.
As the most recent past-President of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and current chair of the Cyber Security Committee, Denise has made protecting the integrity of Connecticut’s, and the United States’, elections from foreign cyber interference her highest priority.
Prior to her service as Connecticut’s Secretary of the State, Denise was the State Representative from Mansfield from 1995 to 2011, culminating in serving as Majority Leader in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, a lawyer licensed to practice in California, and a classically trained pianist, Denise has three children and five grandchildren and lives in Hartford with her husband Stephen.
Candidate for CT Attorney General – William Tong
For more than a decade in public service, William Tong has taken on powerful forces and beaten them. As the House Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, William has overall responsibility for Connecticut’s legal system. In that role, William took on the National Rifle Association and won, protecting victims of domestic violence by taking guns away from their abusers. He took on the big banks and overhauled our state’s foreclosure laws to help Connecticut families stay in their homes during the financial crisis. He took on a system of mass incarceration to give thousands who made mistakes a second chance to succeed and he reformed an unjust bail system. He took on right-wing extremists and helped to pass historic, first-in-the-nation civil rights laws, including laws to protect the LGBTQ community. William took on these fights alongside Connecticut’s families in the name of fairness, justice, and because each was the right thing to do.
A Connecticut native born to immigrant parents, this is a very personal fight for William — he has always fought for families like his who have worked hard to find opportunity here in our state and our nation. Growing up in the Hartford area, the Tong’s owned a Chinese restaurant where William worked alongside his parents before going to Brown University and then the University of Chicago Law School where he was taught by then-Professor Barack Obama. He is currently a lawyer at Finn, Dixon & Herling LLP, one of Connecticut’s leading law firms where he practiced law for 14 years.
William took on the fights that matter to Connecticut families and he won. William’s record of fighting for Connecticut’s citizens and most vulnerable communities shows he’s ready to follow in the footsteps of Dick Blumenthal and George Jepsen to take on the fight against the powerful interests that only care about their bottom line, not Connecticut families. And he’s ready to take on the harmful policies coming out of Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C.
Today, the opportunities that William and his four sisters were given to succeed through the love and hard work of his parents are at risk by the hateful policies coming out of Donald Trump’s Washington. The deck is being stacked against the middle class and working families while immigrants and communities of color are being threatened by the hateful and bigoted policies of Donald Trump, and we need leaders who are willing to stand up and fight. That’s why William is running for Attorney General, because families like his are being put at risk.
William lives with his wife, Elizabeth, their three children and many pets in Stamford. Elizabeth is Vice President of Tax for North America for the Diageo Corporation.
Candidate for Treasurer – Shawn Wooden
Shawn Wooden is a Partner at the law firm of Day Pitney LLP, where he currently leads the firm’s public pension plan investment practice. Shawn has spent his adult life helping to improve the financial stability and security of working families. But his passion for public service began at home.
The youngest of six kids raised in North Hartford, Shawn’s parents moved from Georgia to provide a better life for him and his siblings. From a young age, they taught him the importance of a good education, hard work and giving back to your community. His father ran a small business. His mother was a teachers’ aide in a program to prepare preschool-aged children for school. She later worked at the Community Renewal Team as part of their lead poison prevention and energy assistance programs. Shawn’s parents’ work embodied the lessons they taught him as a child and had a strong influence on how he would lead his own life.
Although Shawn grew up in Hartford, he participated in Project Concern, a de-segregation busing program, and attended Manchester Public Schools. He graduated from Manchester High School with honors. He went on to earn a four-year academic scholarship to Trinity College in Hartford, where he now serves as a member of its Board of Trustees. Upon college graduation, Shawn worked for the Mayor of Hartford and then as Connecticut Director of Project Vote, a national voter registration and education program and then as a key aide for Connecticut Commissioner of Social Services. Shawn later attended New York University School of Law before beginning his career at Day Pitney. Early in his legal career, Shawn worked in the AFL-CIO’s Office of Investment in Washington, D.C.
Shawn is a member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys. He regularly speaks on panels in the investment industry and recently co-authored an article for Bloomberg Law’s Pension & Benefits Daily entitled “Consolidation of Public Pension Plan Investment Management: Is This a Solution to the Problem?” Pensions and Investments named him one of the “Twenty-Five Investment Professionals to Watch”. Super Lawyers magazine designated Shawn a Connecticut Super Lawyer for Securities and Corporate Finance, Business/Corporate.
Beyond the practice of law, Shawn previously served as the President of the City Council of Hartford, CT. He also served as a member of the Connecticut Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board, the body which interprets and enforces the state’s ethics laws and oversees the Connecticut Office of State Ethics.
Shawn is also the proud father of two young boys.
As Treasurer, Shawn will continue to put his passion for public service and experience with complicated financial and investment issues to work for the people of Connecticut. He will use real experience to get real results.
Running for re-election for CT Comptroller – Kevin Lembo
Across a lifetime in public service – as an AIDS activist, a health care advocate and now as Connecticut’s State Comptroller, Kevin Lembo has earned a reputation as someone who takes on the system to make it work for people.
Now in his second term as Comptroller, Kevin has led and continues to lead efforts to improve and expand public access to information about state revenue and spending, state payments, and payroll. He is the first openly gay statewide elected official in Connecticut.
Kevin took an unconventional path to public service. As a young adult, Kevin was driven to public health advocacy, working in communities of need on hospice home care and needle exchange projects when many people were dying in the early years of the AIDS pandemic.
In 2004, he was appointed as Connecticut’s first state Healthcare Advocate. He helped thousands of Connecticut residents navigate the complexities of the health care system, advocated for patients that were denied coverage, and returned millions of dollars to consumers.
As the state’s chief fiscal guardian, Kevin is driven by strong progressive principles and data-driven decisions that boost Connecticut’s working families, expand opportunity, and promote equality. He provides an independent voice in reporting on the state’s financial and economic outlook.
As Comptroller, Kevin voted against State Bond Commission decisions to borrow $22 million for Bridgewater Associates and another $35 million to AQR Capital because Connecticut should invest in job creation and schools, not borrowing to pay off the world’s wealthiest hedge funds.
Kevin has pushed for independent review of the state’s economic development spending and now consumers have access to information to track where economic assistance dollars are going and the return on investment.
Kevin also developed a plan to reform the state’s pension payment plan to make it flat and predictable over time. And the General Assembly passed, though with a 2020 effective date, legislation he proposed to require the state to build its budget reserve fund and avoid overspending in good economic times.
And he also has been a leading advocate to get consumers more information on prescription drug costs to stop price gouging.Lembo has been recognized by Connecticut Citizen Action Group with The Nancy Benedict Social Justice Award for his substantial contribution to the advancement of social justice in Connecticut, including his work on health care, labor rights and civil rights — and by GLAD as a social justice advocate for LGBTQ individuals and families.
In building their own family, Kevin and his spouse, Charles Frey, were denied the ability to adopt two children after a New York judge deemed their family unsuitable due to their marital status and sexual orientation. They successfully appealed the matter all the way to the New York State Supreme Court. They later adopted a third child.
Kevin grew up in the manufacturing town of Paterson, New Jersey, where his parents owned a small machine shop. Family finances were often at the mercy of boom-and-bust cycles and when Kevin was a boy, his stepfather suffered an accident at the shop that forced him off the job and cost the family their only source of income and their health insurance. Kevin was the first in his family to attend college.
Kevin now lives in Guilford with Charles, and their son Jordan, who is a freshman at Southern Connecticut State University.