Governor M. Jodi Rell
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Governor M. Jodi Rell

<b>Governor M. Jodi Rell</b> </br>image courtesy of the </br>Museum of Connecticut History

M. Jodi Rell served as the 87th Governor of Connecticut from 2004–11. She was the second woman and first Republican woman to serve as governor of the state. Her administration is known for its strong advocacy on behalf of the state of Connecticut and for restoring trust in Connecticut government.

A native of Virginia, Rell relocated to Connecticut in 1967 with her late husband Lou, a commercial airline pilot. In Connecticut, she became involved in community organizations including the Parent Teachers Organization and the fire department auxiliary. This community activism led her to politics. She served as a member of the Republican Town Committee in Brookfield, Connecticut and worked on local campaigns. 

In 1985, Rell was urged to run for the 107th District legislative seat being vacated by Rep. David Smith. She was elected and served in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1985–1995. While in the General Assembly, she became a valued member of the leadership, rising to the position of Deputy House Minority Leader. In 1994, she was nominated by the Connecticut Republican party as its candidate for Lieutenant Governor. She served as Lieutenant Governor from 1995–2004. She became governor upon the resignation of Gov. John Rowland in 2004, and she was re-elected to a full term as governor in 2006.

Accomplishments

  • Led a successful bipartisan effort for a historic Connecticut campaign finance reform bill outlawing contributions by lobbyists and state contractors and enacting public financing for state campaigns. (2005)

  • Ended the controversial practice of housing Connecticut prisoners in out-of state facilities. (2004)

  • Signed a bill enacting civil unions for same-sex couples. Connecticut was the first state to adopt civil unions without a court order. (2005)

  • Successfully championed enactment of the Charter Oak Health Plan providing low cost health coverage for many uninsured adults. (2007)

  • Led the bipartisan effort to prevent the closure of the Groton/New London Submarine base. (2005)

  • Reached agreement with legislative leaders on a number of criminal justice reforms which were responsive to the systemic failures prior to the Cheshire home invasion. A special session in late January passed laws to toughen penalties for home invasion and tighten parole procedures. (2008)