Carolanne Curry challenges Toni Boucher again

When it came time for Democrat Carolanne Curry, of Westport, to throw her hat into the ring for the 26th state Senate seat, she did it the modern way, the low-cost way: she shared it with her friends on Facebook.

“Just as in 2012, I’m running against the same woman who has held the position since 2008, and before that she was a state representative in the House. Long, long timer! Yes, I am running again against Toni Boucher, and I am again facing tremendous odds,” Curry said in her Facebook statement.

In light of these odds, she said, she chose not to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program, which gives $90,000 or more to qualifying state Senate candidates who have first raised $15,000 on their own. She said with the odds overall so strong against a Democrat winning in the seven towns that make up this Republican stronghold, and with no other person willing to face these odds, it is not acceptable to her to use tax dollars for such an elusive venture. She also said the Curry for State Senate campaign will make no expenditures, and will consist entirely of getting her message out online and offline.

“For example, I already have several League of Women Voters candidate debates (offline). I’ve received surveys and surveys on top of surveys to ‘fill in and return,’” Curry said. So far she has received endorsements from Planned Parenthood, NARAL and Connecticut State Retired Teachers.

“Each of these endorsements means a great deal to me and reflects accurately my views in the service of the 26th,” she said.

Curry discussed her top three issues for her district in a telephone interview.

“A priority for me is the revision of Connecticut’s affordable housing law. It has been a struggle for the towns in my district to comply with that, and they’ve been subjected to developers who have been exploiting, if not abusing, the law itself,” Curry said.

Second is educational funding reform. “I think the men and women of the Senate and the House have a lot to do with asking the state to reform,” she said. “I expect there will be a lot of legislative activity on this next session, as people in the Senate can help with the implementation of the judge’s ruling.”

Third, she wants to eliminate or reduce the $250 state business entity tax she said comes every two years for small business owners. “Sometimes it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back; this is ridiculous,” Curry said. “Really, the backbone of the economy is small business and they’ve been getting hit hard by this administration and previous ones.”

As a lifelong resident of Connecticut and a 28-year resident of Westport, Curry is active in politics, is committed to her community and holds a long professional career in public service.

Her professional experience includes department director of several municipal agencies overseeing large numbers of staff, annual budgets in the millions, program development, and streamlining agencies and programs, while enhancing productivity of governmental operations

and maximizing staff functions.

Curry’s experience as the city of New Haven’s director of welfare and the city of Bridgeport’s director of welfare saw her recruit employees, deal with budget cutbacks, and

implement major department transitions.Through city of New Haven task force memberships, Curry played a major role in developing a Youth Services Plan featuring health, education and social skills components and in expanding a private/public partnership summer youth employment program into a year-round service. As a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Universal Child Care Access, she was given a role in defining day care staffing standards, monitoring service quality and resolving operational issues.

In New Haven, she was also responsible for managing public sector functions resulting from legislation or severe budget cutbacks, re-engineering welfare functions to expedite the delivery of services, reducing the potential for fraud and upgrading compliance, formulating

management initiatives resulting in a significant reduction in employee grievances, devising strategies to support management’s position in collective bargaining negotiations, and managing public relations campaigns designed to communicate the objectives of and win support for governmental programs.

In other projects with the city of Bridgeport, Curry helped to establish the Citi-Stat program in Bridgeport, modeled on the successfully implemented program in Baltimore, Md., where the end results were a more cost-effective delivery of services and programs, more productive

employees and a more efficient use of taxpayer money.

Curry’s work in 2007 with the Citi-Stat Department in Bridgeport resulted in 117 findings for improving the city’s services. She sees Citi-Stat as a potential model for Connecticut. The program’s purpose is to refocus how money is allocated, how services are delivered and how cost savings are passed on to the taxpayer.

Currently, in her role as an aide to the mayor of Bridgeport, Curry has been assigned as liaison with the city’s anti-blight/illegal-dumping program.

In the Westport community where she lives, Curry has been a leader in seeking to keep a healthy balance between the goal of land developers and the rights of residential property owners to preserve the quality of life Westport offers. She served eight years as a Westport planning and zoning alternate, and recently stepped down in order to actively fight the inappropriate actions of a developer who has waged a 10-year battle to decimate her neighborhood of single-family homes with high-rise apartment buildings.

She is well known for her history in support of women’s rights, reproductive rights and LGBT rights.

Curry was president and founder of Blue Hills Insurance, a brokerage that handled group insurance programs. She was also partner and vice president of Income Protectors Inc, an insurance brokerage for marketing group products.

Her political experience includes several years in the Senate Democratic majority office as administrative assistant to the Senate majority leader and Senate president working on legislative research, constituent services and public relations; founder of First Woman President Inc.; president emerita of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University; member of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund; founding board member of Career Resources in Bridgeport; and member of Greater New Haven Leadership.

She has extensive experience in public speaking and election campaign training programs at colleges and universities around the country, as well as women’s business groups and women’s bar associations. Curry attended the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

She currently lives in Westport with her partner of 28 years, Selma Miriam, who is co-owner of Bloodroot vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Bridgeport.