Fred Garrity, the current chairman of Trumbull’s Planning and Zoning Commission, filed candidate paperwork this week with the State Elections Commission to run for state representative for the 134th District that represents Trumbull and Fairfield.
“I am running for State Representative for very practical reasons,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “I believe that financial accountability at the state level needs improvement. Our state’s financial performance needs to be monitored on a weekly and monthly basis, not just during budget season.”
Garrity stressed that Connecticut has not done a satisfactory job scrutinizing finances.
“That needs to change now — it is crippling Connecticut taxpayers,” he said. “To control spending, reduce our tax burden to small businesses and residents, we need real world governing of our state economics, through better financial accountability and reporting at the operational level, every day of the year.
“Electing more fiscally responsible representatives into office is crucial for building Connecticut’s future,” he added.
In his campaign announcement, the P&Z chair acknowledged the importance of education, calling it “the key to our children’s future.”
“How we both support and make sure we have qualified teachers is crucial. Do we balance testing versus educating correctly? These are important issues to all of us,” Garrity said.
Also on his to-do list, the Trumbull resident identified Fairfield County’s transportation infrastructure as a major item to focus on if he were elected.
“Are the right resources being applied to upgrades and future needs for highway and railways?” he rhetorically asked. “I am ready for that challenge.”
Garrity’s unique background includes senior leadership positions in commercial, municipal, organized labor, and nonprofit disciplines.
Currently serving a second term on Trumbull’s Planning and Zoning Commission, he also served on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He served as chairman of the board for the Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency, twice elected by the bipartisan board of directors from Fairfield, Trumbull, Easton, Stratford, Monroe, and Bridgeport.
“I am proud of having a track record of successfully leading and working across the aisle, at the local and regional level, and I am now ready to bring my experience to the state level,” Garrity told The Times.
Garrity may be best known locally, regionally and statewide as the visionary and executive director of the CT United Ride, Connecticut’s largest 9/11 tribute, and one of the largest charity motorcycle rides in New England.
Through Garrity’s leadership, this event has annually become the largest fund-raiser for police and firefighters in the state of Connecticut.
Garrity is a frequently sought-after master of ceremonies, helping raise money for the Connecticut Burn Center and the Center for Family Justice.
“I am honored and privileged to know Fred Garrity,” said Chief Denis McCarthy of the Fairfield Fire Department. “He has dedicated his life in service to others.
“Fred has the ability to bring support from across the region and state to support programs and projects that are important to the community,” he added. “He is a genuine public servant. I am confident that Fred will bring that personality and leadership to serve the residents of Fairfield and Trumbull as our state representative.”
The state representative hopeful is currently employed as director of operations for Ruane Attorneys, which has offices in Shelton, New London and Wethersfield.
Previously, he was senior manager of operations and labor relations with Northrop Grumman for more than 25 years.
For over a decade, he was an organized labor leader, elected multiple times serving as local union president, on the executive board of the Fairfield County Labor Council and as a vice president of the Connecticut state AFL-CIO.
“Fred Garrity has been a dedicated supporter of the Center for Family Justice over the past five years, organizing our Ride Against Child Abuse and volunteering with many of our events to help us raise greatly needed proceeds that allow us to provide free and confidential services to both domestic and sexual violence victims which include children, individuals and families,” said Debra Greenwood, CEO and president of the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport. “Fred’s leadership in our community has helped many people by raising awareness on where to go for help.”
A graduate of Notre Dame Catholic High School in Fairfield, Garrity is also a graduate of Albertus Magnus College, with undergraduate and master of business administration degrees, summa cum laude.
A Trumbull resident for more than two decades, he was born and raised in the Hollow section of Bridgeport — the oldest of four sons from working parents. He also spent a good deal of time during his adolescent years in Fairfield at his paternal grandparents’ home.
Garrity and his wife, Holly Bart, have four children together — Fred’s two children, Freddy III, 24, and Christina, 17, and Holly’s daughters, Samantha, 23, and Melynda, 21.
Fred was widowed in 2004. He met Holly in 2012 and they were married in 2013.
“Fred has always impressed me as someone who leads by actually working with everyone,” said Trumbull Town Treasurer Anthony Musto. “His ability to lead bipartisan efforts as chairman of Planning and Zoning has brought millions of dollars of economic development to our town.
“He brings this same passion to raising money for charity every year, and in raising his two children as a single parent since the death of his wife,” he added. “No one I know has a greater commitment to family and community. He’s already a great public servant, and I would be proud to say he’s my representative in Hartford.”