Activist Grandmother From Danbury To Challenge For State Senate Seat

DANBURY, Conn. – Longtime Danbury activist, mother, and grandmother Julie Kushner is throwing her hat in the ring as a Democratic candidate for District 24 in the Connecticut State Senate.

Julie Kushner, a Democrat running for state Senate in Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, & Sherman. Photo Credit: Julie Kushner

“I am delighted to declare today that I am running for State Senate to represent Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman," Julie Kushner said. "Our district deserves someone devoted to fighting for fairness and progress for our hard-working families."

The Senate seat is currently held by Michael McLachlan, a Republican from Danbury.

"I’ve spent my whole life fighting to improve people’s quality of life. We have a lot going for us in Connecticut, but we need leadership in the State Senate who can get things done and stop holding us back," Kushner said. "We’re all tired of obstruction to common sense policies such as affordable college, paid family leave, and local infrastructure investments. I’ve always had to find creative solutions to tough problems, and I’m excited to work hard to move Connecticut forward.”

Kushner grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and graduated from the University of Wisconsin. She moved to Danbury from New York City in 1993 with her husband Larry and her three children, who all attended Danbury public schools. In addition to her three children, she has four grandchildren.

Kushner said Connecticut is failing to make the needed investments in transportation, schools, and communities to attract businesses and families. Meanwhile, neighboring states are providing such services as public pre-kindergarten, tuition-free college, and paid family and medical leave. 

"Connecticut can achieve that kind of success and more for our people and economy, but only by asking our state’s super-wealthy and corporate partners to do their fair share," she said. 

Kushner will seek the Democratic nomination and the Working Families Party cross-endorsement.

“If we want to see important issues like paid family and medical leave, meaningful investment in local infrastructure, protection of the local environment, and affordable college for children like mine become a reality, then Julie is the one to do it. She has lived a lifetime empowering people to fight for what’s right, and she can do it for our towns,” said Theda Lambert, a small business owner and Candlewood Lake advocate from New Fairfield.

Kushner, a longtime organizer, is a Connecticut Working Families Party co-chair and director for UAW Region 9A, who has been organizing for over 40 years. She became politically engaged while organizing secretaries at Columbia University to achieve flexible work schedules, childcare, health and safety guidelines, and sexual harassment protections. She is a member of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and the NAACP. 

When 200 childcare workers in Stamford weren’t being paid a living wage, Kushner helped to empower them to stand up for themselves, improving their earnings and benefiting child care services in the city. When 2,200 teachers and research assistants at the University of Connecticut were saddled with inadequate and inaccessible healthcare, she helped them to organize for a dramatic improvement, including family and preventative care. The new healthcare program at UConn is so successful that it is being offered to all graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.

“I’ve watched Julie grow as a powerful voice for the people in our towns and state," said Oswaldo Chin, president of ATU Local 1622, Danbury. "She has truly been a local leader and fighter, with a proven record of winning concrete improvements in people’s lives, building bridges and coalitions, and thinking creatively to solve difficult problems.”

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