Making Democracy Work

Gubernatorial Forum at Maker Faire Westport

SATURDAY April 21, 2018 12:30--2:00 PM Westport Town Hall

Come meet many of the candidates for Connecticut Governor and learn about some of their ideas for the State of Connecticut.

LWV Westport invited all Connecticut gubernatorial candidates to participate in a non-partisan forum on April 21 and to submit a photo and 100-word bio for this website. We have posted all photos and bios that candidates have sent us to date, and we will add more when we receive them. Biographical information is published as received - we do not edit except to truncate responses that exceed 100 words.


Jacey Wyatt My name is Jacey Wyatt, and I am a Candidate for Governor of our beautiful State of Connecticut.

I am the first transgender woman to run for political office as Governor in the State. I've found a passion for being an involved citizen working to do more for people of Connecticut. I have become a great leader with the experience and common sense necessary to make the hard decisions we face in these tough times. I am a determined woman willing to stand strong on my beliefs and values, and as a result of running an honest and transparent campaign...


Dave WalkerDave Walker, a Republican candidate for Governor of Connecticut, has over 40 years of award-winning leadership experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors as a Professional Problem Solver. As a former practicing CPA, a strategic advisor to top government officials, and the immediate former Comptroller General of the United States, he is the only candidate that has proven government transformation and financial restructuring experience in TURNING AROUND large and complex governmental entities.


Mark Stewart Mark Stewart is a businessman, former lawyer, and educator. He founded a tutoring firm in 2001 that has helped over 5000 students enter competitive colleges. His current business is Education Excellence, which gives students more post-grad opportunities through outsourced in-school guidance counseling. He is also active in Connecticut Commerce, to attract outside businesses, and founded to help the Whalers return.

Mark is a liberty-oriented democrat, helping the Democrat party return to tolerance and individualism.


Marisa Manley Marisa Manley is president and founder of Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation Limited. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. She supports the Inner City Scholarship Fund in New York City and is a former board member of the Northeast Charter School Network. Manley has championed community health centers to help deliver primary care services with dignity for all patients. Manley has a fourth-degree black belt in Kempo karate and is an avid cyclist and runner. Manley and her family are long-term residents of Fairfield County...


Lee Whitnum In 2010 Lee Whitnum ran for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut (D). In 2008, Whitnum ran for U.S. Congress in the 4th Congressional District in Connecticut (D).

Whitnum holds a masters degree (edm) from Harvard University in Administration, Planning and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Computer Science from the University of Maryland.

Her father, Paul Whitnum was a British banker; her mother, an American teacher. Whitnum is secular Protestant. Both of Lee's grandfathers fought in WWI. Lee's father was a British pilot in World War II for the British Royal Air Force.

She is a...


Tom FordBorn in West hartford, Raised in Farmington, Attended East farms Elementry, Saint Bridgit in westhartford, jr high and Saint Paul's High School in Bristol . In addition to being in the automobile business for 25 years , I also owned and/or managed a multitude of businesses, For the last 13 years I have run a painting business in the Eastern part of the State. I currently reside in Coventry Ct. I have also been activly involved as a member of several non profits, and served on the board of directors for , Project 100 in Hartford for 2 years, and the Covenant...


Mike Handler left a career in finance 11 years ago to pursue his true passion, public service. Today, he serves as Director of Emergency Management in New Canaan where he has the responsibility for keeping families and over 4000 children safe and as Chief Financial Officer for the City of Stamford, where he was called upon to fix the economic mess that Dan Malloy left behind when he first became Governor in 2010. Most importantly however, Mike is a husband and a father of four daughters. He is running for Governor to fix Governor Malloy's economic mess, for the second...


A proven reformer and Hartford outsider, Tim Herbst has spent the last eight years as Trumbull's First Selectman leading a remarkable turnaround. Tim brought Trumbull from a town on the brink of financial ruin to one of the most prosperous, well-managed municipalities in the state. Tim is uniquely positioned to stop the job-crushing, tax-hiking agenda of insiders in Hartford. Tim represents a new generation of leaders for Connecticut. He will take his proven record of reform and fearless outsider perspective to Hartford and end business-as-usual under the Gold Dome.


Oz Griebel led the MetroHartford Alliance, the Hartford region's largest organization of business leaders, for 17 years. During that time he has been heavily involved in advocating for state policies intended to create jobs by expanding the state's economy. He sat on the corporate boards of MacDermid, Inc., Tallan, Inc., and World Business Capital. Before joining the MetroHartford Alliance, Griebel was CEO of Bank Boston Connecticut. He has been named "Business Person of the Year" by both the Hartford Courant (1995) and the Hartford Business Journal (2001).Griebel graduated from Dartmouth College, where he played baseball and football. Griebel also earned...


Serving 4th term as the State Representative from Glastonbury ߦ Assistant Republican Leader ߦ Ranking member of the Public Health Committee ߦ Member of Environment and Judiciary Committees ߦ Named TOP DOCTOR by CT Magazine, 8th year in a row

Community Involvement: Established the Prasad Family Foundation in 1999 to promote Education ߦ Donates Legislative Salary for worthy causes ߦ Ambassador, Hartford foundation for Public Giving ߦ Corporator, Hartford Hospital

To Revive Connecticut, I will focus on: Pro-Growth/Pro Business Environment (Establish Predictability, Streamline Regulations), Efficiencies in State Government (Zero Based Budgeting, Increase Worker to Management Ratio), Pension Reform...


Sean Connolly is a decorated Iraq War veteran, current Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, and former Commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Veterans Affairs.

The son of a working-class Irish immigrant, Sean grew up in East Hartford. He joined the U.S. Army and served seven years on active duty in Iraq, the Pentagon, and other locations.

After returning to Connecticut and working for Pratt & Whitney, Sean accepted the appointment to run Connecticut's VA. There he modernized housing and services and built partnerships to improve care.

Sean lives in Hebron with his wife, Carol, and their two boys. He is...



Micah Welintukonis, unaffiliated. Retired senior leader US Army, and public servant. He has deployments to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. While serving in Afghanistan he was severely injured by a suicide bomb attack. Post injuries he started a charity for First Responders, served as Vice-Chairman Coventry's Town Council and Director of Legislative Affairs for a state Veterans organization. Micah is the only candidate to not accept a single donation until his plan was written. Micah's focus has not been on fundraising, and he runs his campaign without a campaign manager. He has single-handedly found over $150 Million in government waste.




Jonathan A. Harris is a proven progressive problem solver who has consistently delivered results. Jonathan is a former Mayor, State Senator, Deputy State Treasurer and Commissioner of Consumer Protection with a demonstrated record of advocating for Connecticut and developing innovative solutions.

As an attorney, public servant, and entrepreneur for 27 years, Jonathan has developed the knowledge, relationships, and experience to be an effective leader. Jonathan will bring real change to Connecticut on day one. Jonathan is a graduate of Brandeis University and NYU School of Law, and resides in West Hartford with his wife Lucy and their son Spencer.


Peter Thalheim is an outsider, who has never held political office. He is disgusted with the fiscal condition of Connecticut but is also concerned with political correctness and identity politics which are tearing the fabric of our society apart. The campaign ideas of Gratitude, Common Humanity and Liberty (Life, Love and Liberty) are the antidote to the poison of identity politics. Mr. Thalheim is a home builder, attorney, Coldwell Banker Realtor and a U.S. Army Reserve veteran who made it to Major in the JAG Corps. He is also an immigrant from West Germany, a father of three great daughters and was a Sunday school teacher for seven years."


Susan Bysiewicz was raised the proud granddaughter of immigrants who came to Connecticut from Poland with nothing but hopes for a better future. After many years of factory work, they saved enough to buy a farm in the Westfield section of Middletown that became Susan's childhood home. Growing up and working on the farm, she and her siblings learned the values of hard work, education, and persistence.

Susan's father Stan was a pilot in World War II, and ran their family farm as well as a small business. Her mother, Shirley Raissi Bysiewicz, was the daughter of Greek immigrants. She...

Ned Lamont (D)

Ned Lamont is the Democratic candidate for Governor standing up for progressive change in Connecticut. A leading member of the Connecticut business community, Ned has brought new businesses to Connecticut for the past decade. He has been training the next generation of entrepreneurs as a professor at CCSU. Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in 2006, he was the Chair of the Obama campaign in 2008 and in 2010 he challenged Dan Malloy for the nomination for Governor, saying that if real political courage wasn't shown, Connecticut was headed for economic crisis.

Robert Stefanowski (R)

Bob Stefanowski, business executive with 30 years of experience leading large international organizations including UBS Investment Bank and numerous divisions of GE. He is a CPA, CFA, CFE and teaches at Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and other international business schools. Bob and his family lived in Westport and Weston for 15 years.

Erin Stewart (R)

Erin Stewart, 30, is the 40th Mayor of the City of New Britain, Connecticut. She was first elected at the age of 26 in November 2013 and was re-elected to second and third terms in 2015 and 2017, respectively. She is the youngest mayor in the city's history and the only female mayor of New Britain to be elected to more than one term. Mayor Stewart has received numerous awards and recognition for her service and leadership. She has been the subject of in-depth profiles by national media outlets such as the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Time Magazine, and Newsmax, which in...


My name is Rod Hanscomb and I am the Libertarian Party nominee to be the next Governor of the State of Connecticut. I am the first candidate in the race with a party nomination, having received this at our convention on March 10. We will be the 3rd choice on the ballot this upcoming November the 6th. Our campaign is about true fiscal conservatism with a visionary plan for where Connecticut needs to position itself in order to be a high growth State, with the most entrepreneurial pro business policies in the nation. Please visit us at


David Stemerman is a businessman and political outsider who built his business in Fairfield County, where he and his wife are raising their five children.

David's story is the American Dream. His father was the first in his family to go to college. David attended public schools through high school and attended Yale College, graduating summa cum laude. He went on to Harvard Business School, where he received his M.B.A. with distinction and his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

David started his own business, Conatus Capital, from a single desk. He grew Conatus into a multi-billion-dollar global business.


Mark Boughton is currently serving his ninth consecutive term as mayor of the City of Danbury. Boughton, a lifelong Danbury resident, graduated from Danbury High School in 1982 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in History from Central Connecticut State University. He returned to Danbury to earn a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology from Western Connecticut State University.

Boughton served in the United States Army Reserve from 1983 to 1989, achieving the rank of Sergeant. In 1987, he decided to explore his passion for education and returned to Danbury High School to teach Social Studies.


Peter Lumaj, was born and raised in communist Albania. Lack of freedom and opportunity, encouraged Peter and his brothers, to escape oppression and settle in the United States.

While attending college, Peter worked as a porter and a doorman to support his family and to pay for his education. Later, Peter enrolled in Law School. While attending law school, he worked as a fraud investigator in the Giuliani Administration. Currently, Peter is a small businessman and attorney.

In 2014, Peter was selected as the Republican nominee for Connecticut Secretary of the State.

Peter Lumaj resides in Fairfield with his family.


Eric Michael Mastroianni Sr. was born on May 1, 1972 in New Haven, Connecticut, to Pamela Rose Tarquino and Harold Lincoln Mastroianni Sr. His father ( Italian Sicilian descent) ), and his mother is (Italian ,Irish descent). While growing up, Eric joined the young Marines at the age of 7 as a sophomore in High School enlisted into the Navy and was sent to fight in Desert Storm, in 1991 went back to High School and graduated Hunter Huss High School in Gastonia, North Carolina. Eric traveled and ended up in San Diego, California studying at San Diego Community College and received a Chiefs degree,