Tag Archives: 26th State Senate District

Toni Boucher Enters State Senate Race

Toni Boucher wants her old job back.

The former state senator announced this morning that she is running for State Senator, in the 26th district. The Wilton resident — a Republican — represented that district for 10 years, before her defeat by Democrat Will Haskell of Westport in 2018. He was re-elected in 2020, but decided against running for a 3rd term. He will attend law school this fall.

Boucher’s announcement was reported first by Good Morning Wilton. Click here for the full story.

Boucher has also served as a state representative. Her roles included Senate chief deputy leader, and House assistant minority leader.

She cited as her major issues in this campaign:

  • protecting local control regarding residential property rights
  • protecting local control of education and respecting parental involvement
  • making communities safer
  • making Connecticut more affordable through tax relief.

Toni Boucher

In announcing her run, she said she most enjoys “helping others and making a positive difference in people’s lives …. I’m also very proud of my record of bipartisan legislative policy accomplishments which have helped to improve the quality of life for people of all ages across Connecticut.”

She called Haskell “hard-working, personable, and (he) cares deeply about Connecticut. I wish him nothing but success and happiness as he enters a new chapter of his life.”

Boucher has been a director at Commonfund in Wilton, working in business development, marketing, research, education and professional development activities for private clients and nonprofits.

Boucher is the first Republican candidate to announce a run. The lone Democrat in the race is another Wilton resident, Ceci Maher.

Michael Gordon Enters State Senate Race

Today, Westport businessman and former Board of Education chair Michael Gordon announced his candidacy for the State Senate. He joins fellow Democrats Ken Bernhard and Ceci Maher in the race to succeed Will Haskell.

Calling himself “an optimist,” he says:

Michael Gordon

“The past 2 years have taken an enormous toll on our children, our seniors, small business owners, working parents – all of us. I am running to make a positive difference for all of them — and for all of us — to help lead Connecticut into its next chapter. I’ve spoken to Democratic party leaders throughout the district, and there are 4issue areas that impact the citizens of our towns.

“First, children and education. The past 2 years have been a mental health catastrophe for our children. We don’t yet know the consequences, and Connecticut needs to inspire many more mental health providers to work in the state. We also need to protect working parents and support their childcare by expanding initiatives like care4kids. In addition, the cost of higher education continues to skyrocket and has generally outpaced inflation for the past 40 years. And we are letting down the next generation – my children’s generation – on the issues of climate, gun safety and our democracy.

“Second, gender equality. We need to turbocharge more coding at earlier ages, especially among girls and young women. As a small business owner who has created jobs, I want to stimulate more small business development centers for minority/women-owned business enterprises. We also should employ strategic micro loans to these businesses early in their development.

“Third, our seniors. I want to be the go-to state senator for our seniors. My late mother talked frequently about how difficult getting old is. We can provide more relief for seniors on their pensions and annuities. We have to offer more homebound services and support for seniors so they can age happily in place.”

“Fourth, endemic Connecticut. The state has fared better than other places economically, but a pandemic is not a strategy. I will be a hammer on the transportation issues that dog our communities. Among other things, we need to repair the bridges that slow down Metro-North and move to more and faster trains. We also need to continue to attract people by expanding our arts and outdoor activities.

“There is an urgency to our work together. Our children only have one chance at a world-class education. Our seniors only have one chance at a peaceful golden age. And we are running out of chances to bring more compassion to our discourse.”

Michael and Linda Gordon, with their children.

Gordon began his career as an attorney at Skadden, then joined the Clinton administration. His first role was with the Secretary of Education on policy issues including college affordability. He moved to the Justice Department, as a spokesperson for Attorney General Janet Reno.

A few years later, Michael started a corporate communications firm in New York, Group Gordon. Half of his practice is in the public interest for nonprofits. He has worked on a range of issues including education, health care, the environment, food insecurity, civil rights, gender equality, domestic violence services and senior services.

Crain’s named Group Gordon one of New York’s 100 best workplaces, regardless of size or industry, and the SABRE Awards named it one of the top 5 corporate agencies in North America.

In addition to chairing the Board of Edcuation, Goron has served on boards of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, ADL Connecticut and the local Jewish Federation. Michael and his wife Linda were honored with ADL’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award.

The couple have 3 teenagers. Over the years, Michael coached or managed more than 40 Little League baseball and Westport soccer teams for them.

In his spare time Gordon is a diligent music fan and a perpetually-frustrated Detroit Lions fan.

(For Michael Gordon’s website, click here.)

Ken Bernhard Seeks Return To Hartford — This Time, As A Democrat

Ken Bernhard spent 8 years representing Westport in Connecticut’s General Assembly. He rose to assistant minority leader.

Now Bernhard — who was was also 3rd selectman from 1987 to ’89, then served on the Zoning Board of Appeals — wants to return to Hartford.

He’s running for Will Haskell’s 26th District State Senate seat. The legislator is heading to law school, not running for a 3rd term.

And Bernhard — who spent his entire political life as a Republican — is doing it as a Democrat.

Ken Bernhard (Photo/Dave Matlow)

The longtime Westporter and civic volunteer — he’s been a board member of the Westport Library, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, Norwalk Human Services Council, Earthplace, Westport Historical Society, Levitt Pavilion, Aspetuck Land Trust, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, and Connecticut League of Conservation Voters — told “06880”:

I was disappointed to learn that Will Haskell is planning to vacate his senate seat, but I admire him for his decision to attend law school and to focus on his future.

Having received the news about Will’s decision, I felt a sense of responsibility to ensure that the 26th District will continue to be well represented, and that it will remain a part of the Democratic Party caucus. I would consider it a privilege to represent our community in Hartford once again, this time as a Democratic state senator.

As an experienced legislator, I understand the political process and how it works in Hartford. If elected, I would be ready to represent the district effectively on day one. Additionally, I am available to devote my full time and attention to this important work.

When I served as Westport’s State Representative in the role of assistant minority leader, I was recognized as a moderate-to-liberal legislator who advocated for a woman’s right to choose, promoted the protection of the environment, voted for sensible gun control legislation, and supported voting rights. My record in public and private life embodies those values and I am eager to take on a more active role in advancing them in Hartford and around the nation.

Our republic is under assault. Every day we see this happening in Washington, DC and throughout the United States. We cannot allow it to happen here in Connecticut.

There is much work to be done at the state capitol to address the ongoing threat and ravages of climate change, to ensure that the state’s fiscal house is in order, to improve our transportation infrastructure, to guard against racial injustice, and to enhance community “safety nets.” I want to make certain that the interests of our Fairfield County communities are not overlooked in Hartford.

I believe my record will attract the support of moderate and conservative-leaning Democrats, like-minded Republicans and unaffiliated voters, all of whom want and deserve a state senator who will exercise good judgment, common sense and work hard to get things done. That’s why I am announcing my candidacy for State Senator from the 26th District.

I look forward to meeting with the voters and to have a dialogue about Connecticut’s future. In a couple of weeks, I will be registering my campaign with the State and will shortly create a web page where we can engage. Thank you in advance.

In addition to his Westport activities, Bernhard helped found the Syria Fund, which provides support and education to refugees in Jordan. He’s deeply involved with the Tree of Life Orphanage in Haiti, which educates and feeds over 200 children, while creating jobs for adults.

He organizes shoe collection drives for Soles4Souls, shipping thousands of shoes to children around the world. He and his wife Alice have also raised 7 guide dogs.

Other potential candidates in the 26th district — which has been newly redrawn, eliminating Bethel but adding a bit of Stamford — are considering runs too.

Through Westport’s 2 Rotary Clubs, Ken Bernhard — who once taught law in Ukraine — has been involved in efforts to reform legal education there. In 2018, he posed (left) with law students and a professor, and the Connecticut state flag.