Norwalk State Rep. Thomas seeks CT Secretary of State endorsement

State Rep. Stephanie Thomas (D-143) leads an October press conference at Norwalk City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. — Stephanie Thomas has announced a run for Connecticut Secretary of State.

Thomas, who is serving her first term as District 143’s State Representative, is the only Democrat to have filed a Candidate Committee for the position, indicating that she is formally pursuing the position, her news release said.  Several Democrats have filed Exploratory Committees to pursue statewide office but have not decided whether to seek a particular office.  

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, has held the seat for three terms but announced in June she would not be running next year, making her the only constitutional officer not expected to run for reelection.

Four Democrats have previously indicated interest in the position, multiple news reports say, naming State Sen. Matt Lesser of Middletown, State Rep. Josh Elliott of Hamden, State Rep. Hilda Santiago of Meriden, and New Haven Alder Darryl Brackeen Jr.

“A Republican has not served as Secretary of the State since 1995. But this election, two GOP candidates have thrown their hats in the ring: Dominic Rapini, a senior account manager at Apple, and Brock Weber, an aide to Mayor Erin Stewart of New Britain,” CT Examiner reports.

The Secretary of State position has taken on greater significance given the allegations made by former President Donald Trump, who claims voter fraud in his defeat to Joe Biden.

State Rep. Stephanie Thomas (D-143). (Ilir Bajraktari)

“For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about civic engagement,” Thomas is quoted as saying to supporters at a campaign launch in Norwalk.  “Voting is the underpinning of our democracy, and it breaks my heart when I hear people say that they don’t plan to vote or that voting doesn’t matter.”

She said, “Apathy often wins more elections than our political parties and I believe it is time for that to change.  I am very excited to be here with all of you this morning to announce the launch of my campaign for Secretary of the State of Connecticut.”

Thomas turned a red seat blue last year when she defeated Republican candidate Patrizia Zucaro in the State Representative race. Gail Lavielle had represented District 143, comprised of parts of Norwalk, Wilton and Westport, for a decade and supported Zucaro.

“Thomas is a small business owner who has spent three decades advising and problem-solving for nonprofit organizations,” her news release said. “…In Hartford she sponsored and helped to pass a variety of voter focused bills such as automatic voter registration at state agencies and resolutions to advance early voting and no-excuse absentee ballot voting.”

“Although I love being a State Representative, I had no control over the timing of Secretary Merrill’s departure and this opportunity was too perfect a match for my interests to let it go by,” Thomas said Thursday in an email to NancyOnNorwalk. “My passion for voter rights and civic engagement, coupled with my interest in creating transparency and efficiency in government, makes this position an ideal fit for me.  I think I’ve accomplished a lot in one term and I know that there are other strong Democrats who will continue that work in 2022.”

“Stephanie Thomas has been a wonderfully responsive and knowledgeable advocate for Wilton as State Representative for the 143rd District,” Tom Dubin, Wilton Democratic Town Committee Chairman, said in a statement. “During her tenure she has distinguished herself through a commitment to ballot access, including early voting and more convenient registration. In addition, her background as a small business owner provides experience and insight that would support Connecticut’s entrepreneurs and business owners. Stephanie would make an ideal Secretary of the State and we are pleased that she has thrown her hat into this ring.”

“We have strong a Democratic Party here in Norwalk,” said Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez. “We’ve built a great bench of elected officials at the municipal, state, and federal levels. I’m proud of the work they do and all their aspirations for our community. I encourage and admire those who want to serve on a larger stage to consider it and let the voters decide.”

Thomas is quoted as saying, “Although the position has become synonymous with voting rights and elections, the Secretary of the State’s office is responsible for so much more. I will fight for every Connecticut resident, with transparency, advocacy, and integrity. I have made a career out of problem-solving and finding solutions that work and I will bring that same proactive attention to the position of Secretary of the State to champion transparency in government, streamlined business processes, and to strengthen trust in our elections.”

Updated, 1:44 p.m. Thursday: Additional information.

Updated, 9:41 p.m.: Additional information.


DrewT December 2, 2021 at 8:32 am

Who’s Stephanie Thomas?! Someone who we only hear about during Elections? Does she still serve Norwalk?! Funny how Gail was everywhere and you heard about her all the time! Thank god the article had a picture of her since 90% of Norwalk residents couldn’t pick her out of a line up!

I Wore the Uniform - Patriot December 2, 2021 at 9:29 am

We must safeguard our elections. Congratulations State Representative Stephanie Thomas.

piberman December 2, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Once upon a time candidates formally announcing detailed their platforms. Now that’s so old fashioned. “Working for the people” is now sufficient. Which helps explain why for the past decade our State has had a stagnant economy, employment level and population. With our youngsters leaving school upon graduation for better opportunities elsewhere. Maybe platforms are just not relevant anyone.

John J. Flynn December 4, 2021 at 7:07 am

Hilarious. Dominic Rapini runs Fight Voter Fraud, endorsed by Flynn. Only Dominic Rapini is qualified to run and win the Secretary of State Seat. If you don’t Vote for Dominic, You are supporting Voter Fraud.

Ct. V December 4, 2021 at 7:39 pm

@flynn The thing is… there is no actual voter fraud in CT. The main issue with voting in CT is it’s actually very hard to do relative to most states. We don’t have enough voting locations, especially in our cities and we are one of a tiny number of states where it’s very hard to vote except for 13 hours on a Tuesday. Someone running on a voter fraud platform in CT is like running for governor on a platform of keeping an invading Canadian army out.

Piberman March 22, 2022 at 11:08 am

Is it “voter fraud” that keeps most of our City voters from voting during local elections ? Or just indifference knowing their votes won’t count in a One Party City ?
Is “voter fraud” keeping City residents at home during State and Federal elections ?
Or “indifference” too.

For many years we’ve received an absentee ballot for an individual who hasn’t lived at our residence in over a decade. Is this an isolated case or are there numerous examples of similar instances ? Does anyone know ? Or is it an isolated event.

Not too long ago in Norwalk going to vote on Election Day was an opportunity to meet City officials and candidates at voting stations. As well as neighborhood residents.
I remember Mayor Rilling stoically standing for hours in freezing weather outside East Rocks School greeting City residents.

We ought consider bringing back the “tradition” of candidates greeting City residents at voting locations. Provides an opportunity to briefly discuss matters of interest. Over the years we’ve lost Norwalk’s once commendable citizen interest in public affairs. Now for many its just a matter of putting the envelop back in the mail box. How does that promote “better governance” ? Is our future “election by internet” ?

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