On Monday evening, May 18, via a video conference call from her home, Orange Board of Education member Mary Welander was unanimously endorsed as the democratic candidate for State Representative for the 114th District. The 114th District encompasses parts of Orange, Derby and the Town of Woodbridge.
“My motivation for running, and for most things in my life, is to help people. It’s simple, but to the core, it’s the truth.” Welander said in her acceptance speech. “I realized that if I truly wanted to help people then I needed to be part of the bigger conversations that shape these laws. Despite our culture’s aversion to discussing politics, these laws affect every aspect of our lives and, as the saying goes, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu’”. For too long the voices of everyday families have not been heard at the table because the people making the decisions don’t understand what we are facing every day.”
In addition to serving on the Orange Board of Education, Mary holds the Vice Chair positions of both the Finance and Policy, Personnel, and Transportation subcommittees, and is the Co-President of the Race Brook School PTA. She also continues to serve as one of two statewide representatives for the Sandy Hook Promise Organization supporting non-partisan, social/emotional based gun violence prevention programs.
Marc Garofalo, former Mayor of Derby, stated, “It is with great pleasure and pride that I nominated Mary Welander tonight to be State Representative for Derby, Orange, and Woodbridge. Mary is different from the typical official you see in Hartford. As a mother, locally elected official and an active member of her community who puts service above self, Mary ‘walks the walk’ more than ‘talks the talk’, and has proven it. I know she will be an effective, dedicated advocate for all of our towns.”
Margaret Novicki, current member of the Orange Board of Selectmen, said, “Mary is exactly the kind of leader we need representing us at the state level at this challenging time in our history. Hers will be a deeply caring and compassionate leadership, keenly attuned to the needs of our communities – whether our young families and children, or our senior citizens. I have seen at close hand how hard Mary works for the issues and principles we stand for as a community, party and district. Always ready to put her shoulder to the wheel, Mary has demonstrated time and again commitment, dedication and true volunteer spirit when our town has needed it. A great representative for Orange, Woodbridge and Derby, Mary will take the people’s concerns to heart and to Hartford. We need her kind of leadership NOW.”
Sandra Stein, current member of the Woodbridge Board of Selectmen, also shared her enthusiastic support. “Mary is an exceptional individual who cares deeply about her community and their access to education, healthcare, benefits for workers, and building our future together. Mary understands the issues that the communities of Woodbridge, Orange, and Derby are facing. It is her real-life problem-solving approach focusing on people, not politics, that makes her the ideal person to represent all of us in Hartford.”
Welander continued, “We are facing serious challenges; none of the solutions will be easy, and none of them will please everyone, but one thing is for certain: if we want to create better, healthier, more successful communities we need leadership who has already been listening and putting in the hard work to make it happen. When we redefine our future as a district, we will need a voice who brings that understanding, and that care to the table.
“I have been here – elected to serve, listening in the meetings, questioning the choices. I am humbled by the trust and support given to me in the past and am determined to keep it through hard work, caring, and dedication to Derby, Orange, and Woodbridge.”
Mary and her husband, Matt, live in Orange with their three children and dog, Bauer.