Trumbull Democrats will present the inaugural Leadership Award and the Kevin J. Sutherland Inspiration in Democracy Award at the party’s Keys to Democracy Awards Dinner March 26 at Tashua Knolls. For tickets or information, call 203-452-7427.

The Kevin J. Sutherland Inspiration in Democracy Award is being presented to Matthew Kuroghlian, a Trumbull High School junior, for dedicating himself to public service and engaging young people in local and state elections while still in high school. He is vice president of his class and a leader in the Model United Nations club. Matthew became involved in real-world politics through the recent campaign of Congressman Jim Himes and held a leadership role in the 2016 campaign of Lino Costantino for state representative. Matthew also recently formed the Eastern Fairfield County Young Democrats with the goal of bringing interested young people together to help make a difference.

The award is given in memory of Kevin Joseph Sutherland, 2009 graduate of Trumbull High, political strategist, photographer, and son of Douglas and Theresa Sutherland, also of Trumbull. Kevin lost his life in a senseless act of violence in 2015. Through this award, the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee and his parents hope to encourage others to follow in Kevin’s footsteps.

The 2017 Leadership Award is being presented to two Trumbull residents who have contributed to town politics and the community over time. The recipients are Timothy A. Cantafio, vice president of engineering for Northeast Electronics Corp., for more than four decades of involvement in local political and social issues, and Beryl Kaufman, for furthering the participation of citizens in government and protecting the rights and education of people with special needs.

Cantafio has been involved in local politics and community needs since he ran for a Trumbull Town Council seat when he was 18 years old. He is a lifelong Trumbull resident and with his wife, Dawn, raised two children here. Currently he is a member of the Trade Technology Advisory Committee for Platt Technical High School, deputy treasurer of the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee, board member of the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation, corporator of the Milford Health & Medical and Milford Hospital boards, and member of the Trumbull Board of Assessment Appeals.

Raised in Bridgeport and a UConn graduate, Kaufman has been a compassionate and dedicated advocate throughout her life. She began her career as a teacher of history and civics. As a young mother, she became executive director of the Connecticut Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficits, which she developed into an internationally respected standard for excellence. Kaufman pioneered the first conference in Connecticut on issues faced by high school graduates with special needs. Her leadership helped educators recognize the importance of early intervention and helped fund the first community college staff member in the country to help students who learn differently receive support in college.

Kaufman is secretary of the Downtown Cabaret Theatre’s board and a member of the Trumbull Economic and Community Development Commission, Trumbull Chamber of Commerce (past president), Greater Bridgeport League of Woman Voters, and Women on Watch. In 1968, she was the League of Women Voters Connecticut liaison with ABC News for the U.S. presidential election night reporting.
The topic of the evening is Trump’s First 100 Days: Our Voices, Our Actions, Our Country — Still Strong. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy and Congressman Jim Himes will speak on the impact of the Trump administration’s actions, and they will discuss positive actions that can be taken to protect the policies and laws that Democrats have fought hard to put in place.