Dennis Bradley was first elected to represent the 23rd Senate District (Bridgeport) in 2018.
As a state senator, education and ensuring our justice system is fair and equitable are two of his legislative passions. Sen. Bradley is an attorney at Bradley, Denkovich & Karayiannis (BDK) Law Group, a civil litigation and personal injury law firm. Passionate about education, Sen. Bradley served as chairman on the Bridgeport Board of Education from 2015 to 2019.
Prior to his time as chairman of the Park City’s Board of Ed., Sen. Bradley worked alongside Congressman Jim Himes (D-Connecticut) as a campaign associate in 2008 and 2010. For his exceptional work in the community, Sen. Bradley has been awarded the Public Service Pro Bono Award and the St. Thomas Award.
Sen. Bradley earned his B.S., at Norwich University in 2009 and a J.D from UMass-Dartmouth in 2013. He lives in Bridgeport and enjoys reading.
Phil Young is the state representative for Stratford’s 120th District.
While serving on the Stratford Town Council, Phil served as Majority Leader and was a consistent advocate for fiscal responsibility.
Phil is a past director of the Connecticut Citizen’s Action Group, working on consumer and environmental issues. He was also a director in the Storrs based CT Public Interest Research Group.
In order to right a wrong, Phil sued Stratford’s Mayor, and won, causing the town-wide vote on the Water Pollution Control plant issue.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Phil has lived in Connecticut for 37 years. He has been a member of the Stratford Democratic Town Committee, and is a proud Stratford resident with his wife Jen. Phil is a career chef, well known for his cooking and business management of the Bridge House in Devon.
Born and raised in Stratford, Joe attended Holy Name Elementary, Wooster Middle and Stratford High School. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from Central Connecticut State University, Joe worked as a weather forecaster at Western Connecticut State University before catching the news bug and beginning a career in radio news. He had a successful career as a radio news reporter/anchor at WICC/WEBE, winning many Associated Press awards and twice the Ellen Abrams award for best radio reporter in the state.
After working in the City of Bridgeport administration managing all media relations and public affairs functions including the police and fire departments, Joe served as the deputy chief of staff for the State of Connecticut House Speaker.
He returned to the city of Bridgeport and currently works on green initiatives ranging from energy efficiency and renewable energy to urban forestation and sustainable growth.
Joe annually volunteers at the Housatonic River clean-up and is a member of Protect Your Environment (PYE), the Stratford Rotary and the Lordship Fathers Club. He is also an auxiliary member of the local VFW Post 9460 and was also a lector at Holy Name of Jesus Church.
Joe is fighting for Stratford interests at the State Capitol, including assisting in the securing of funding for the renovation of Stratford High School, the grant for the improvements at the South End Community Center and playscape, the funding for the Sterling House upgrades and the Connecticut Air and Space Museum at Sikorsky Memorial Airport. He is honored to be representing the district held by his good friend, Terry Backer, until his passing in late 2015.
Local Municipal Candidates:
Mayor: Immacula Cann
District 1 Town Council Rep: Will Farmer
District 2 Town Council Rep: Kaitlyn Shake
District 3 Town Council Rep: Paul Tavaras
District 4 Town Council Rep: Kim Rice
District 5 Town Council Rep: Greg Cann
District 6 Town Council Rep: Jen Budai
District 7 Town Council Rep: Tim Bristol
District 8 Town Council Rep: Dianne Nolan
District 9 Town Council Rep: Linda Chaffin
District 10 Town Council Rep: Kathleen Callahan
BOE: Chris Cormier
BOE: Lisa Caroll-Fabian
BOE: Matthew Schlager
Planning Commission Zone I: Joseph Gerics
Planning Commission Zone III: Barbara Heimlich
Planning Commission Zone IV: Christina Kazanas
Planning Commission Zone V: Jason Thompson
Zoning Commission Zone III: Harold Watson
Zoning Commission Zone IV: Shaun Pasquale
Zoning Commission Zone V: Karen Tracy
Zoning Board of Appeals I: Laura Markis-Johnson
Zoning Board of Appeals II: Rene’ Marie Gibson
Zoning Board of Appeals III: Anthony Owusu Afriyie
Immacula Cann is a Democrat running to be the next mayor of Stratford, CT. She is a Board Certified Psychiatric and Mental Health Registered Nurse, with a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree from Northeastern University. Immacula has over 27 years of professional nursing experience, working with non-profit organizations, state-licensed social service agencies, and health care facilities.
Immacula has been continuously recognized as an outstanding employee with the State’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) where she’s been responsible for the Southwestern region’s training and staff development initiatives.
Immacula Cann has been a Stratford resident for the past 28 years. She is the mother of four children and has five grandchildren, three who are also current residents of Stratford. Immacula has a high degree of involvement in the Greater Stratford community, and she currently serves on a number of boards and commissions.
Immacula is a lifelong advocate for social justice, families, and children, with local and international experience developing/implementing education-focused policies and programs.
Will Farmer is originally from Detroit, Michigan aka “Motown”, where he enlisted into the United States Air Force. He spent his 22-year military career serving as a Military Intelligence professional. Having spent 18 years combined in England, Germany, and Japan, Will supported military operations in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and airborne missions in the Far East off the Coasts of Vietnam, Hong Kong, North Korea, and Russia. His military career spanned intelligence operations from ground, space, and airborne intelligence-gathering assets. As a seasoned and trusted advisor to military and Department of Defense Leaders whether on an Airborne mission, the National Security Agency, United States Cyber Command, or at the Pentagon as a Cyber Security Deputy Program Manager, Will became known for demonstrating integrity, attentiveness, fairness, and character.
Upon his Honorable Discharge and retirement as a Senior Master Sergeant, he moved from the Maryland Beltway suburbs to Norwalk, Connecticut in 2015 as a Cyber Security Consultant to a global hedge fund. He decided to make Stratford, Lordship his home in 2018, where he continues providing computer security consulting services to some of the world’s largest companies. He serves on the Board of Directors of Alpha Community Services YMCA Board where he supports the area’s effort to eradicate homelessness. He single handedly managed a volunteer program to register over 100 ACSY clients, Democrats, and Republicans, to vote in the 2020 election.
With a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Leadership, Will has worked alongside, for, and with all walks of life in the community and in professional surroundings. He recently completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Connecticut where he graduated with honors.
Kaitlyn Shake has devoted her life to helping others. She currently represents District 2 on the Stratford Town Council and since she was elected in 2019, Kaitlyn has been a champion for public health, public safety, transparency, and small businesses. As Chairwoman of the Longbrook Park Commission, her leadership is committed to putting people over party to efficiently and effectively address the long-standing safety issues and environmental challenges.
Kaitlyn’s experience proved indispensable as her first term was marked by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a full-time registered nurse and proud CHCA union member, she continued to serve on the frontlines at a local hospital while also administering hundreds of vaccines with the Stratford Health Department. Throughout the ongoing pandemic Kaitlyn has been a persistent advocate for our residents, calling for more testing sites and community health partnerships, equitable community education, and greater accessibility of vaccines. In her role as Town Councilor, Kaitlyn provided resources to constituents in dire need of assistance regarding food insecurity, child care needs, senior services, and potential home evictions. As a strong advocate for Stratford’s business community, she provided door-to-door information to business owners regarding the CT CARES Small Business Grant program.
Driven by her passion to care for the community and the most vulnerable, Kaitlyn has put the needs of Stratford’s residents first. She continues to listen to the concerns of her district and supports a community-driven vision regarding the Center School Project and economic development planning and understands the urgent need for more affordable housing. She is honored to be the second district Councilwoman and would like to continue serving Stratford by building a safer, stronger, sustainable future for all Stratford residents.
Paul Tavaras is a lifelong resident of the South End. A husband, father, retired firefighter. Served as Chairman of The Board Of Zoning Appeals, President of The Rotary Club of Stratford. A member of CARE (Citizens Addressing Racial Equity). The Bridgeport Regional Business Council. A Leadership of Greater Bridgeport graduate, Stratford Chamber of Commerce, and The Bridgeport Chamber of Black Commerce.
And I desire to keep being YOUR voice on the Town Council.
Kim Rice is a progressive union activist who has been involved in a lot of the issues that Stratford Democrats care about the most. Kim has worked with local Democrats like Phil Young, Joe Gresko, and Kaitlyn Shake, canvassing for their campaigns. At the state level, she has testified before the Connecticut General Assembly on such issues as supporting early voting and expanded absentee voting, reforming our tax system to help working-class families, and providing expanded health coverage for the people of Connecticut through a public option.
Kim has a Master of Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. She works at the state Department of Social Services, administering Medicaid and SNAP benefits. In her role as a leader in the labor movement, Kim is on the AFSCME Council 4 Statewide Steering Committee and Civil Rights Committee, is a Delegate to the Western Connecticut Area Labor Federation, and is a local representative of the Coalition of Black Trade Unions. Additionally, her extensive work with the Black Environmentalists Activist Movement and Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs – Protect the Climate Work for Justice gives her some of the knowledge and experience needed to protect Stratford’s environment.
Greg Cann is in the business of identifying and achieving opportunities for process improvements, be it quality of information, supply chain management, or customer service. This analytical mindset, the ability to influence and deliver solutions, is what he offers to the Town of Stratford. Greg has long volunteered with the town in many capacities, and while change is often difficult, he trusts that persistence and logic will enable us to do the right thing. For his children and grandchildren, public service is a means to secure a healthier and more prosperous tomorrow.
For more than two decades, Jen has been a tireless community servant. Her background in banking— including 10 years supporting compliance with state and federal regulations— brings an informed perspective on town issues. She is a regular attendee at town meetings, including the Conservation Commission, where she introduced two initiatives that were quickly implemented by the town: a fracking waste ban, and the unified water study. She was instrumental in opposing the sale of the town’s water treatment plant by collecting signatures from citizens who were in favor of having a referendum on the sale.
Jen has a reputation as one of the most energetic and dedicated members of the SDTC. She has been recruiting and training volunteers to work on elections for more than eight years and has inspired a number of Democrats to run for office and to take action at the state, local and national level. She has advocated before the state legislature for issues like Paid Family Medical Leave, access to quality, affordable health care, expanding access to voting and numerous environmental initiatives.
Jen and her husband Dave have been proud Stratford residents since 1997.
Small businessman Tim Bristol is the Democratic candidate for Town Council in District 7. You may have met Tim at The Melting Truck, his gourmet grilled cheese company, which has helped other businesses grow through partnerships. He started the company at the height of the pandemic in September 2020, and he has built the business so that it is now a finalist for Best Food Truck in the state.
Tim ran for Town Council two years and came close to winning. He impressed people with his understanding of business issues. Since then, he has campaigned for other Democrats and served as Campaign Treasurer for two state rep candidates, including Stratford’s Phil Young in 2020.
Tim is a progressive, one who believes in equity for all and for people to be treated with respect. He says a lot of progressive ideas are discussed at the state and national levels, but they often can be achieved best through local government and community action.
Tim says: “The difference I will make for average voters in my district is that they will actually have a voice. I will be their advocate on the council. My agenda will be their agenda. For too long the 7th distinct has been silenced by Republican representatives who were asleep at the wheel or simply act as yes-men to Mayor Hoydick. I will not be a rubber stamp for anyone. I will always act in the best interest of District 7.”
Dianne Nolan was born and raised in Gloucester City, NJ. Her father was a US Postal Service Letter Carrier and decorated Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient from the Battle of Guadalcanal. Her mother was a High School Teacher and accomplished Girls Basketball Coach and her brother recently retired from his business agent position with Local 8 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union. She received her undergraduate degree at Rowan University and a graduate degree in Physical Education from West Virginia University. Dianne began her college teaching and coaching career at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. Her next stop was Fairfield University where she obtained a Master’s in Corporate and Political Communications and coached the Women’s Basketball Team for 28 years.
After stops at Yale and Lafayette College, she retired having accumulated 575 Career Wins, Four NCAA Tournament Appearances, and the distinction of having every senior she ever coached graduate, on time, with their degree. Dianne has been inducted into more than a half dozen Athletic Halls of Fame and served on the Board of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club and The Field of Dreams of Bridgeport, CT. Currently, Dianne teaches at Central High School in Bridgeport, directs the Summer Springboard Program at Yale, and is a member of the ESPN3 Basketball Broadcast Crew at Quinnipiac University.
Dianne and her husband Mark are the proud parents of three boys and two granddaughters.
Linda Chaffin is passionate about civics and community participation. Her career as a Volunteer Director and Certified Teacher allowed her to combine her passion for teaching with community service work.
Linda taught character education and service-learning throughout the state of Connecticut for 13 years. Most recently, she worked with a student group to introduce and pass state legislation to eliminate polystyrene in schools. They also worked tirelessly to eliminate plastic bags in our state
Linda with her husband Tom leads an Indivisible group. They created a program called “Adopt A District” with over 300 DTC and activist volunteers throughout the state. These volunteers canvassed for candidates outside of their districts in “winnable” areas to get Democrats elected to the CT General Assembly, reversing the decade-long trend of CT turning red. That also helped get Phil Young elected.
Linda also worked hard to have our state join 15 other states in the National Popular Vote Compact which redefines the awarding of votes in the Electoral College. She also led an effort to get early voting passed in the CT. legislature.
Linda continues to work with her Indivisible group which continues to call, postcard, text, and canvas on issues of concern in CT, as well as other states.
James Maroney has publicly acknowledged Linda’s tireless efforts in helping him win a State Senate seat.
Linda is married, has one child, and is a passionate organic gardener.
As a lifelong Connecticut resident, Kathleen Callahan has lived in Stratford for 11 years and has been a member of the DTC since 2018, returning to the political roots of her childhood. Initially inspired to run this cycle to secure a Democratic majority for post-census redistricting, she intends to focus on housing, aging in place, public safety, and the potential commercial and environmental development projects in her district.
Kathleen is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, a colleague; a macro social worker; a former software engineer; and a lifelong learner, consensus builder, problem-solver, and leader. She thinks in relationships, systems, stories, and data. Kathleen is also a woman in long-term recovery from addiction and her recovery is her touchstone, the measure of who she is, and the determination of how she shows up on a daily basis.
After securing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Connecticut, Kathleen spent over two decades as a software engineer, traveling throughout this country and the world while developing, testing, and installing radar systems, both airborne and surface-based. Her sobriety brought a career shift and in her mid-50s she received her Master of Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University; her work today involves system and organizational change and sustainability, community outreach and programming, and advocacy in the field of behavioral health, equity, childhood adversity, and community resilience.
Kathleen has worked in many roles on multiple local, state, and national campaigns, including campaign manager for State Representative Phil Young’s 2020 reelection. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the statewide Connecticut State Taskforce on ACEs and Resilience, a board member of the National Association of Justice-Involved Females and Organizations, and the chair of the Education and Legislative Action Network for the state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Kathleen collaborates with multiple state departments and has testified often before the Connecticut General Assembly over the years.
Chris Cormier is a CT native who has lived in Stratford for over 15 years. He lives in the 2nd District with his husband Jonathan. They are the proud parents of 4 awesome, unique, high-spirited boys, ages 7, 9, 11, and 12.
Chris is entering his 10th year as an educator and currently teaches 3rd grade at Edison School in Bridgeport. After a career in project management and commercial real estate, Chris decided to make a major life change and pursue his passion of being an educator. In 2007, Chris earned his Master of Science degree in Elementary Education at the University of Bridgeport. Chris also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management, Economics & Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University, and an Associate of Science degree in Finance & Banking from Norwalk Community College. Chris is also an alum of Parents SEE (Parents Supporting Educational Excellence), a leadership program in which he collaborated with other parents and learned how to effectively navigate the school system and advocate for students and families.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Chris serves as the Bridgeport Education Association Building Delegate, Building Systems Operator, and PAC member, and has served on the board of the Franklin Elementary School PTO for the past 5+ years. Chris is a leader and collaborator and often shares his knowledge and time with other PTSA groups here in Stratford. He also volunteers in other programs in town such as The Lord’s Kitchen, cooking and serving food to those in need.
Lisa Fabian is the parent of two Stratford school district students and has worked as an educator for over twenty years.
Lisa is not only the parent of Stratford public school students but is also a product of the Stratford School system. Graduating from Bunnell High School in 1995 she holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from SCSU as well as a Master of Education from Sacred Heart University. Lisa continued on with her education and earned a 6th year in Remedial Reading K-12. She is certified as a K-6 teacher as well as a K-12 Reading teacher. Lisa returned to Stratford after college and began her career and her family here. She taught 1st and 2nd grade at what was Stratford Academy/Honeyspot House and served as a reading specialist and 6th-grade teacher at Chapel Street School. After 11 years working in the Stratford Public Schools, she was offered an opportunity to teach remedial reading at the high school level and took a position at Fairfield Warde High School where she has been ever since.
Lisa believes in giving back and feels indebted and committed to Stratford for the rich and diverse education and well-rounded development that it has given her. As a mother of two current students in multiple levels of educational placement, Lisa sees some room for improvement and feels it is her time to give back, for the benefit of all. She is committed to every student in our system and their needs and best interests. “As parents, we need to come together because when united, we can make things happen!”
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Lisa serves as a member of the Greater Bridgeport St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and has served on the board of the Flood Middle School PTA where she currently serves as President.
Matthew Schlager is a married father of two Stratford Public School students. He is a proud alumni of Cohort Seven of Parent SEE (Parents Supporting Educational Excellence). Matt was able to use that experience to gain membership to the Superintendent’s school re-entry committee in the summer of 2020. Matt’s focus on the Board will be to ensure that all students in Stratford receive a quality education.
Matt is a 22yr resident of Stratford and has been employed by Yale New Haven Health for 14years.
Joseph Gerics and his wife Susan are the parents of a grown son.
Gerics is a retired Catholic school educator. He taught for 24 years at Fairfield Prep prior to two decades as a principal and associate superintendent in the Diocese of Bridgeport and Archdiocese of New York. He completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at Fairfield University and earned a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.
He has resided in Fairfield County for most of his life, and in Lordship for four years. He was formerly an organizer with Greater Bridgeport Interfaith Action, a coalition of 14 religious congregations mobilizing nonpartisan political action on state and local issues such as gun violence, crime, urban blight, and environmental racism.
His primary concerns in Stratford land use are protecting the public interest in the disposition of the Shakespeare Theater property and protecting the interests of Stratford taxpayers in any future development of Sikorsky Airport.
Barbara Heimlich’s lifetime of love for Stratford and concern for its future incentivized her to become involved in our Town politics and this election cycle to run for the Planning position. Barbara ran for Zoning Commission in the 2017 Municipal Election and lost by 3 votes in a recount. She was elected as Stratford Constable in the 2017 election, and is a Deputy Registrar of Voters. A 50-year resident of Stratford, both of her children, Marc and Jennifer, are graduates of Stratford High School and Connecticut State Colleges.
As a resident of the Fifth District for 28 years, where she owns a home, Barbara’s strong conviction that we all need to “pay it forward” in life has motivated her to support non-profits (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Alzheimer’s Foundation, American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood, various environmental organizations) as well as serve in the community (several Board of Education committees when her children were in high school, first Stratford Recycling Committee, The Lord’s Kitchen, Stratford Democratic Town Committee). She is a professional topical research analyst proficient in providing solutions and critical information and in troubleshooting for both new business and new product development and planning. Her company, Knowledge-Needs, has served clients that include Fortune 500 companies, universities, public and private companies, governments, and political parties.
Christina Kazanas has been a Stratford resident since 2016. She recently moved to the 7th council district after living in the 1st and sorely misses her Floral Park neighbors. Christina was elected to the Planning Commission in 2018, serving Zone 1 (the 1st and 2nd council districts), and was elected as the Vice-Chair/Secretary of the Commission.
Christina has had a long and accomplished career in non-profit development and administration. She is currently the principal of Kazanas Development Strategies, a woman-owned consulting firm focusing on grant writing, project management, and systems analysis for nonprofit organizations and municipalities. Christina has a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and a B.A. from Indiana University. Prior to this, she was the Grants Administrator for the Town Of Stratford and played a pivotal role in securing millions of dollars in public and private funding across all departments, including funds to advance smart growth and brownfields redevelopment, coastal resiliency, and transit-oriented development.
When Christina moved to the 7th district with her partner, Steve Taccogna, she was required to resign from her Zone 1 seat. This year, Christina is running for the Zone 4 planning seat (districts 7 and 8) to ensure that our Plan of Conservation and Development is revised to reflect a progressive, equitable, and sustainable vision for Stratford’s future.
Jason Thompson is the father of three beautiful children that attend Second Hill Lane Elementary School and Platt Technical High School. After managing a local pizza restaurant, he changed careers and joined the IBEW. He is grateful to the union for the opportunity and support of his transition as he is now a licensed electrician. He has worked at various schools and other locations in and around Fairfield County.
Jason credits his parents for his work ethic and the importance of nurturing dreams. His father was born and raised in Jamaica and immigrated to this country with intentions of creating a better life for himself and his future family. Settling in Norwalk, he was a self-taught welder and excelled at that for over three decades before his retirement. Jason’s mother has been a Norwalk resident her whole life, running a successful home child care program for over twenty years before making her own career transition to work with a US passport agency, a job she continues today. Jason is proud of the foundation they provided him and is excited to represent his neighbors and his town on the Planning Commission.
For the past 6 years, Harold Watson has served ably on the Planning Commission, first as an alternate, then elected as a commissioner, and finally, as Planning Chairman, where he has been dedicated to realizing Stratford’s Plan of Conservation and Development, as well as making real our response to coastal resiliency and housing affordability.
He has lived in Stratford for the past 15 years, and previously in New York City and at the end of Long Island, where he was also active in town planning and regional LIS environmental and coastal issues.
For four years, Harold served as vice-chair of the town’s SDTC and an even longer period as the SDTC Data Director helping bring Stratford Democrat’s campaigns into the digital age, earning him Democrat of the Year 2017.
An avid bicycler and a member of both the Greenway and Complete Streets Committees, he prefers the up-close view of wetlands, the Long Island Sound, and parklands, and he has argued for greater commitment by the town to the as yet incomplete Stratford Housatonic Greenway network.
Shaun Pasquale is running for Stratford’s 4th district zoning commission. Born and raised in Connecticut, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Western Connecticut State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Quinnipiac University. With over 15 years of experience in corporate finance and accounting roles, Shaun is a proven leader with a strong track record of success in his roles. He currently holds the role of Division Controller for Conair Corporation, based in Stamford, CT. Additionally, Shaun is also involved in the community holding a volunteer position as Associate Director on the Board of Directors of US Alliance Federal Credit Union (a northeast credit union with over $2 billion in assets).
Having lived in Stratford for the past three years, he sees Stratford as a quaint suburban town with a budding business district. He supports business growth in the town as well as limiting excess spending to offset residential taxes as a need for income. He plans on using his business acumen to achieve these goals as an elected official of the town. In his spare time Shaun enjoys running, golfing, working out, and rooting for NY sports teams.
Karen Tracy lives in Stratford with her wife and four dogs. She holds degrees in Biology from Villanova University and Computer Science from Southern Connecticut State University. Karen grew up in West Haven and was encouraged by her parents to understand the value of civic duty and that being part of a community meant sharing the responsibility of upkeep and service for the wellbeing of all.
The 2016 election motivated Karen to re-engage with the Democratic Party by volunteering for local elections, co-founding Fight Back CT – Stratford, and joining the Stratford Democratic Town Committee. Propelled by a 30-year career in software engineering and applying new technologies and data strategies to campaigning, Karen helped flip the 120th house seat in the 2018 special election after 44 years of GOP control. She quickly transitioned to Deputy Campaign Manager of the 21st senate district coordinated campaign. 2020 was even busier, as Field Director for Michelle for CT 2020 and supporting multiple local races. Last year, Karen’s hard work earned her the annual Ella T. Grasso Women’s Leadership Award for Congressional District 3.
While quite comfortable with the behind-the-scenes work of data-driven operations and strategy, Karen’s candidacy for the Zoning Commission was primarily inspired by two events: the groundbreaking work of Professor Sara Bronin at Desegregate Connecticut and the May release of “2021-26 Housing Strategies for Stratford” from the Stratford Housing Partnership. Karen understands the Housing First model and the impact zoning has on all residents, whether housing insecure or not.
Karen’s other great passion is rescuing companion animals. She is the President of the Stratford Animal Rescue Society, a 30+ volunteer and beloved community organization. Transforming rowdy dogs into great family pets and flipping seats from Red to Blue? Pure bliss!
Rene’ Marie Gibson is a longtime resident of Stratford and attended public school in the town through graduation from Stratford High School. She lives in the 4th District with family and visits her father, other family, and friends in the 3rd District often where she grew up and lived for many years while raising her son. As the single parent of one son and the grandmother of 3 wonderful grandsons and one lovely granddaughter, ages 23, 18, 8, and 2, Rene’ is delighted to soon become a great grandmother.
Rene’ graduated from Heart Christian University Life Coach, Spiritual Counselor, and Chaplain Certificate programs and received an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Divinity from Heart Bible Christian University. She has studied at American Intercontinental University in their Business Administration and Gerontology Healthcare Administration B.A. programs.
For more than two decades Rene’ has been a Community Relations Representative for major health insurance companies, enrolling many families into affordable healthcare plans, and an insurance broker specializing in retirement planning, family financial planning, senior and disability healthcare benefits, Medicare advantage, and supplement insurance products. Rene’ loves helping people to protect themselves and their families, also shown in her work as a Liaison Outreach Specialist with Monitor My Health and a Health Educator for the Greater Bridgeport Area Prevention Program “Healthy Love” where she teaches HIV awareness and provides free HIV testing.
Rene’ is the founder of the annual South End Day which has featured expos and youth sports tournaments since 2014. These events and activities are intergenerational, welcoming diverse cultures and populations to the South End of Stratford. Rene’ and her team enjoy working together with their communities, local businesses, friends, and families and she recently received a mayoral citation for her community leadership and service in the Town of Stratford.
Anthony Owusu Afriyie first came to this town in 2006 when his parents moved their young family to this little piece of heaven called Stratford. His parents emigrated from Ghana, West Africa, the Bronx, New York, in the mid-1990s and have always considered themselves a lower-middle-class family. Yet, everything they earned, they put aside for their children’s education. Education and opportunity were the core reasons for their relocation from the Bronx, NY to Stratford, CT in 2006.
Upon, graduating from Stratford High School in 2015, Anthony went on to pursue a degree in political science from Western Connecticut State University, from which he graduated in the middle of the pandemic. Upon completion of his bachelor’s, he enlisted for national service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, with whom he completed 10 months of national service. Anthony performed direct, hands-on service in areas of natural disasters, environmental stewardship, and conservation, and supported the COVID vaccination effort. Whether it was doing national service, or interning for the Secretary of the State, U.S. Representatives John Larson, or The General Assembly in Hartford, Anthony has excelled in a wide array of roles and found himself working within teams of great people, to solve big problems whose scope exceeded personal gain.
Anthony wants to be your candidate for the 3rd zoning district because zoning shapes our communities and our lives. It’s the invisible hand that molds the locale to fit its character. Land use laws determine where we can find housing, schools, and parks and who has access to them. Anthony is running to safeguard Stratford’s lands and resources through balanced stewardship. Anthony yearns to make a difference and reimagine what Stratford can be. Focusing on equity and environmental justice to propel Stratford into modern-day methods.
Currently, Anthony works as the Assistant Day Camp Director at the Stratford YMCA, simultaneously working for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as a resource assistant. Throughout his life, Anthony has prided himself on successful behaviors rather than successful traits or talent. Thus, if voted by his constituents, he is ready to commit the time, energy, and effort to utilize his voice and actions for the betterment of Stratford. Anthony aims to work tirelessly and diligently to assist Stratford’s overall efforts, to meet goals, objectives, and timelines identified by leadership to work towards resolutions that enhance our beautiful town.