Born in the district that now covers East Haven, Wallingford and parts of North Haven, Democrat April Capone announced her bid on Facebook.
Apr 28, 2020 6:42 pm ET
EAST HAVEN, CT — Former East Haven Mayor April Capone announced her candidacy today on a Facebook Live video for the 34th State Senate District covering East Haven, Wallingford, and parts of North Haven and Durham.
"I was born and raised in the 34th senate district," Capone said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to serve the public again in a new capacity. As the only candidate in this race who has held elected office, combined with extensive municipal government, state government, and private sector experience, I am prepared on day one to begin working for the people of this district to deliver real results."
Capone laid out three top priorities for her campaign:
Absentee ballots and applications with postage-paid-return envelopes for all voters to maintain the most important civic duty we have as citizens while protecting public health during the pandemic;
Sharing her experience from the healthcare industry to work toward a more equitable healthcare system for Connecticut residents, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic; and
Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic economically healthy as well as physically healthy. As local small business owner April understands that our economy thrives when we invest in our small businesses.
"The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that we must reform our absentee ballot and early voting approaches to our elections. People should never be forced to choose between their health and their democracy. Having more robust mail-in voting ensures more people participating safely in our elections process." Capone said.
Capone said that she believes 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; and 3) work with individual constituents to help them cut through red tape when interacting with state agencies.
"I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve as your state senator because I have direct experience with all three of those important jobs," Capone said. "I look forward to having many conversations with voters in the district, whether through social media or other innovative ways that enable us to connect with each other. This campaign is about us, not me."
Capone was first elected to the East Haven Town Council in 2005 as the sole Democrat on the 15- seat body, representing a conservative district. As a Council member, Capone said she often found herself on the opposite side of the Republican supermajority but persisted as the leading Democratic voice in town. Her efforts resulted in a town resolution opposing Broadwater, a liquefied natural gas facility poised to be located 10.5 miles off the East Haven coastline. In 2007, she defeated a long-time sitting Republican for the Mayor's office and became the youngest person, and the only woman, ever to be the town's chief elected official.
During her tenure as Mayor, Capone said she presented common sense budget reforms before the Council, including the creation of the Town's Rainy-Day Fund. She concentrated on economic development issues and championed the rights of those who were marginalized in her community. During the 2008 financial crisis, Capone said she brought public and private agencies to East Haven to meet with residents to keep them in their homes.
Capone said when disaster struck again, this time on the shoreline during Hurricane Irene in 2011, Capone said she worked with residents affected by the storm to ensure they had all the support from town, state, and federal programs that they needed by creating a Relief and Recovery Fair that brought in government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private entities to East Haven High School to meet with residents and provide them with guidance and resources. She also created a Recovery Roundtable Council to streamline the recovery process for residents by setting up times for them to meet with all relevant town departments in the same room to get their recovery plans approved as quickly as possible.
"During the financial crisis and in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, I saw, first hand, the devastating impacts on the people of East Haven. I also saw what the effects of passionate and unrelenting advocacy can have on helping people to the other side of catastrophe. Not unlike what we are faced with now, I will bring those lessons learned to bear for the people of this district" Capone said.
After leaving office in 2011, she joined the State of Connecticut's Office of Policy and Management as the Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs where she served as municipal liaison between state government and all 169 towns and cities. In her capacity as liaison she worked with the legislature to ensure that critical state funding for municipalities was maintained to ease the burden on property taxes across the state.
Capone also led a nine agency- member team to submit the State's successful application to the National Disaster Resilience Competition, earning first place and resulting in a $54 million award for disaster resilience projects throughout the state.
In 2016, Capone joined the team at Yale New Haven Hospital to launch the Center for Living Organ Donors. As a living kidney donor herself, April uniquely identifies with the role of supporting other living kidney and liver donors throughout the donation process. By building lasting relationships, April fulfills the Center's mission of supporting the long-term health and well-being of all YNHH living donors.
Capone is also an adjunct professor at Gateway Community College, a fellow of Branford College at Yale University, and founding member and past chair of PoliticaCT, a progressive political organization dedicated to electing women to office.
Capone lives in North Haven with her husband Jarrett Rousseau, a longtime local small business owner who launched an additional business two years ago with her as a partner. Also living with them is Jarrett Jr. and his mini-poodle Gracie.