For Jill Fitzgerald, serving in the state House “just seems like it falls in line with the type of things that I’ve done in my life.”
The 48-year-old owner of a bookkeeping company – who has co-produced two musicals for Bristol Theatre Arts – said that seeking political office is “the next level” for the sorts of things she’s been doing for years.
Fitzgerald, who served as Democratic city Councilor Kevin McCauley’s first campaign treasurer, was tapped by Republicans this week to run for the 77th District seat that freshman GOP state Rep. Ron Burns is giving up.
Fitzgerald will take on Christopher Wright, the son of a former state representative who held the seat for a decade, for the opportunity to represent northeastern Bristol in the legislature.
Wright said Wednesday that while he doesn’t know Fitzgerald, “I would like to welcome her to the race and look forward to an open exchange of ideas of the issues facing our city and state.”
Wright also thanked Burns for his service and wished him well in the future.
“While I may not agree with his political opinions, I believe that Ron is an honorable man who does good work for the children of Bristol in his job at the Boys and Girls Club,” Wright said.
Fitzgerald, a new member of the Republican Town Committee, is a moderate who can appeal to most voters in the Democratic-leaning district, party leaders said.
She said she considers herself a Republican because the party is friendly to “freedom, independence and small business” – issues that matter to her.
Fitzgerald said she is also a fiscal conservative, which aligns her more with the GOP “though you wouldn’t know it from this last president.”
Calling herself “a people person,” Fitzgerald said she’s done “a lot of volunteering” in the community for years.
“I have a lot of passion for our youth and our community and families,” she said.
The idea of seeking the state House seat arose, Fitzgerald said, arose while she was volunteering during the Day of Caring at Shepherd Meadows with some Republican officials. They talked about the race, she said, “and it started to just ring in me.”
Fitzgerald owns Bookkeeping Basics, a business she started so she could work at home when her children were young. She’s a QuickBooks Pro advisor.
Born in Southington, Fitzgerald has lived in Bristol her entire adult life. She has two children attending Bristol Eastern High School, a son who’s a senior and a daughter who’s a sophomore.
She and her husband of 23 years, Shawn Fitzgerald, co-produced two musicals for the community theater, including last fall’s production of “High School Musical.”
Fitzgerald is treasurer of the performing arts booster club at Eastern and has served on the school’s governance council in the past. She’s also active with her church, Baptist Community Valley Church in Avon.
Since graduating from Southington High School in 1978, Fitzgerald said she’s taken some courses in accounting and English, as well as some classes for certification she needs for her job, but does not have a college degree.
State lawmakers serve two-year terms and earn $28,000 for their part-time positions. The general election is November 4.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org