As a North Haven resident and former mayor of East Haven, April Capone is familiar with the 34t
h District. In recent weeks, she has been visiting different neighborhoods to meet the residents and find out more about their concerns.
“People are concerned with kids heading back to school and COVID dragging on. Connecticut has been doing really well, but now we hear the numbers are ticking back up as schools are opening,” said Capone. “People are also concerned about the economy and what impacts COVID will have on that. Working families are very concerned with what will happen next.”
Capone said that COVID and its repercussions inspired her to run for the State Senate. She says many of her experiences are relevant to the issues residents are facing. Capone served as the mayor of East Haven from 2007 to 2011. During her time in office, she was involved in the reform of the East Haven Police Department, and she led the town and its residents through the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, which destroyed more than 40 homes on the shoreline and left sections of town without power for nearly a week. “If there’s ever a time for experienced leaders to step up in government, now is it,” said Capone. “I led through a crisis before after we faced Irene and when we see discussions about police reform in Hartford, we have a successful story in East Haven. Nine years ago, we lost power for nearly a week after the hurricane and since then we’ve been told that these rate increases are going to harden the infrastructure, but here we are again, with a tornado, and we’re losing power for days on end again. I’m very concerned and have had discussions with folks in the senate about the hearings, energy bills, what we can do, and how to hold the energy companies accountable.”
After serving as mayor, Capone was the manager of intergovernmental affairs at the State of Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management where she served as municipal liaison between state government and all 169 towns and cities from 2011 to 2016. In 2016 she joined the team at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) to launch the Center for Living Organ Donors, where she currently works to fulfill the center’s mission of supporting the long-term health and wellbeing of all YNHH living donors.
“Healthcare is a major challenge for many people,” said Capone, who recently had an unexpected surgery after she was bit by a dog while campaigning. “Having worked in healthcare for four years now, I know how important it is that people have preventative healthcare and what happens when you don’t. I also see it from the consumer’s standpoint heading into unexpected surgery and as a small business owner with those challenges.”
If elected, Capone plans to support the idea of residents being able to buy into the State of Connecticut’s healthcare program. She also feels that many more individuals would pursue entrepreneurship if health insurance wasn’t tied to their jobs.
Capone’s husband Jarrett Rousseau is a longtime local small business owner. The couple also launched an additional business two years ago. Capone has also seen the challenges faced in education, particularly during COVID, as a stepmother to Jarrett Jr.
In conversations with residents, Capone said that a state senator has three jobs: “1. Read and understand the bills that come before you and vote in the best interests of your constituents; 2. Be the chief lobbyist for your district, making sure that resources in the way of dollars come back to support the district; 3. Work with individual constituents to help them cut through red tape when interacting with state agencies.”
“I’ve done all three of those jobs— I’ve had the experience, led through a crisis, served part of this district as mayor, and understand how to cut through the red tape,” said Capone. “Experience matters and I’m ready to get to work.
For more information, visit www.aprilforct.com or AprilforCT on Facebook.
BY JENN MCCULLOCH/ZIP06.COM • 09/16/2020 08:36 A.M. EST