Heather Dean - 'I'll give it my all'

I am running for State Representative because I want to help improve the quality of life for the people in the 134th District and throughout the state. I have learned that the top three concerns of voters are jobs, taxes, and education. If I am elected, my priorities will reflect these concerns. I will work to:

• Make responsible cuts to the state budget that will ease the tax burden on families and small businesses;

• Support initiatives to help small business owners create new jobs and grow their businesses;

• Support education reforms, including applying evaluations to administrators as well as teachers, and ensuring they are fair, making sure we properly fund early literacy programs and strengthening early childhood education.

I've always been about community service and volunteering. I got involved in town politics when several leading town officials asked me to run for RTM. I am now serving in my fourth term and genuinely enjoy helping my constituents. I've chaired committees and have striven to be fair and let all voices be heard while also asking the tough questions so my vote is always an informed one.

I've never shied away from hard work. I give it my all from start to finish, long after the photographers and the crowds leave.

At age 25, I found myself divorced with two sons under five. I went back to work and enrolled in community college at night to obtain my associates degree, then on to UConn in Stamford, at night, to complete my bachelor's degree.

Within a year of getting my degree, I purchased Bright Futures, an infant-toddler child care learning center. Five years later, while still running Bright Futures I went back to school, again at night, to get my master's in elementary education.

I don't shy away from controversy either. I got my first taste of it when I led a committee to start a wrap-around child care program at Osborn Hill Elementary School in 1997. We faced multiple challenges getting the community to accept that we were no longer a society of stay-at-home moms, but instead a diverse neighborhood of working families that needed safe, affordable, high quality child care.

I believe then as I do today, people shouldn't have to choose between being good parents or good employees. Today, I am still proud to be a part of the team that created Kids' Place, a program that continues to flourish and provide quality before and after school care.

If I am elected state representative, I promise you that I will serve you with the same tenacity and commitment that I have brought to the RTM and other volunteer leadership roles. I'll listen to what my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, look for common ground, seek out ways to work out differences, and find solutions that are good policy, not politics as usual. If I attach my name to a bill, I will work to see it through to passage. Likewise, if I tell you I support something here, I won't go to Hartford and vote against it.