Stratford Democrats Honors Remarkable Leaders at Annual Awards Banquet

Stratford Democrats 2024 Awards Banquet

Stratford, CT – On Saturday, March 16, 2024, we held our second annual Stratford Democrats Awards Banquet. It was a night to remember! 

We celebrated our 2024 Democrats of the Year, Councilwoman Kaitlyn Shake, Karen Tracy, Representative Jonathan Steinberg as our Terry Backer Environmental Champion, and nearly 30 volunteers for their contributions to the community and our Democratic Party successes. Their dedication and commitment inspire us all!

Esteemed dignitaries Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, State Comptroller Sean Scanlon, State Senator Herron Gaston, State Representative Joe Gresko, and State Representative Josh Elliott graced the event. Their support underscores the importance of our collective efforts to positively impact Stratford and the state of Connecticut. 

The atmosphere was electric as we came together to honor these remarkable individuals. And after the awards, we hit the dance floor and had an absolute blast! It was a magical night of unabashed Democratic joy, affection, and gratitude. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this memorable evening and our planning committee for their hard work putting the event together from start to finish. Here’s to many more celebrations of excellence and camaraderie in Stratford. 

2024 Stratford Democrat of the Year - Kaitlyn Shake

Stratford District 7 Councilwoman Kaitlyn Shake

Stratford Councilwoman Kaitlyn Shake is a force to be reckoned with. She is currently serving as the Councilor for District 7 after being politically gerrymandered out of District 2. Undeterred, she defied conventional wisdom and filed to run for a third term by unseating another Republican incumbent in what can only be characterized as a landslide victory. Results matter to voters; her tireless work as Town Council Democratic Leader, Councilwoman Shake worked across the aisle to deliver an additional $1 Million for Stratford Public Schools. She has delivered $350,000 in historical infrastructure improvements to Longbrook Park and High Park while protecting old-growth trees and $150,000 for the long overdue South End Flood Study. Working with Stratford Public Safety, Shake advocated and ensured funding for resources for additional safety cameras in high-traffic areas. Councilwoman Shake is an example of a responsive, collaborative, and dedicated public servant who ensures people have a voice in local government.

Outside Council Chambers, Councilwoman Shake is a full-time nurse and proud AFSCME Unit 23 Union member. During her first term in office and on the frontlines during the COVID-19 Pandemic, she enlisted in the Stratford region Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to volunteer with the Stratford Health Department to administer hundreds of COVID-19 vaccines. Councilwoman Shake also partnered with local healthcare organizations to provide community education and accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines at the Paradise Green Farmers Market and local places of worship.

2024 Stratford Democrat of the Year - Karen Tracy

Our current Political Director, has served as a transformative leader within the Stratford Democratic Town Committee since joining in 2018, holding various roles throughout state and municipal election cycles. Combining her expertise in software engineering with her political acumen, she has developed a campaign strategy characterized by its personalized, nuanced, and data-driven approach. 

From her involvement in the 2018 Special Election for the 120th House seat, where she focused on voter outreach and fieldwork, to her recent contributions to the 2023 municipal election, where Karen was instrumental in guiding and supporting a team of eighteen candidates, her unwavering commitment and encouragement have been unparalleled. Her presence on campaigns ensures our candidates are well-equipped to engage voters and garner support.

Stratford Democrats 2024 Democrat of the year Karen Tracy

Beyond her political endeavors, Karen dedicates her other volunteer time to serving as the President of the Stratford Animal Rescue Society, our beloved STARS. She also enjoys gardening, particularly experimenting with growing every tomato variety from STARS’ annual plant sale, and spending time with her three rescue dogs.

Stratford's 2024 Terry Backer Environmental Champion - Rep. Jonathan Steinberg

Stratford Democrats 2024 Terry Backer Environmental Champion - Representative Jonathan Steinberg

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg is currently the House Chair of the Legislature’s Energy & Technology Committee, Co-Chair of the Bioscience Caucus, and a member of the Long Island Sound Caucus. The nonprofit group Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment named Representative Steinberg one of their four 2021 Connecticut Environmental Champions, noting his work restricting PFAS chemicals and supporting the passage of a comprehensive State Water Plan. 

He has collaborated with Stratford’s State Representative Joe Gresko on many bills over the years and they recently co-authored an OpEd in the CT Post, urging their legislative colleagues to recommit to significant action on climate in 2024. This award has extra significance as Representative Steinberg sat next to Representative Backer when he first arrived in Hartford in 2010.

Photo Highlights From the Event

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