Tag Archive | "Shawn Wooden"

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Hartford Native Shawn Wooden Sworn in as State Treasurer

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford native and former City Council Chairman Shawn Wooden was sworn in as Connecticut’s 83rd State Treasurer, pledging to use his office to protect worker’s retirement security while spurring improvements in the state’s economy, infrastructure and educational system.

The Hartford resident was among several elected state officials, including Gov. Ned Lamont, who took the oath of office on Wednesday at the William A. O’Neill State Armory. Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson administered the oath of office.

Wooden showed gratitude for the path that led him to his new position.

“I’m honored beyond works that the people of Connecticut have placed their confidence in me by electing me state treasurer,” Wooden said in a statement. “Having oversight of more than $60 billion in state assets is an enormous responsibility. I assure the taxpayers of this state that every investment and decision I make will be geared towards maximizing returns and moving Connecticut forward.”

Democrat Wooden succeeds Denise Nappier, another Hartford resident, who served as state treasurer for 20 years. Nappier elected not to seek another term.

Wooden, 49, was an investment attorney at Day Pitney, specializing in public pension plans for 21 years.

Before that, he worked for the former Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry and then as Connecticut Director of Project Vote, a national voter registration and education program. He was also served as a key aide for the Connecticut Commissioner of Social Services.

Raised in the North End of Hartford, Wooden said his is an unlikely journey. The youngest of six children, he participated in Project Concern desegregation busing program and attended Manchester Public Schools, where he graduated with honors. He then went to Trinity College and New York Law School.

Besides his work in the private sector, Wooden served as President of Hartford City Council from 2012 to 2015, leading efforts to close budget deficits, protect the city’s pension system and boost economic development.

His work in the state treasurer’s office is an extension of those efforts, he said.

“Connecticut is facing some enormous fiscal challenges right now, as well as some very exciting opportunities for growth,” Wooden said. “I look forward to using my extensive experience in government and as an investment attorney to take on the very serious work ahead of us.”

Featured Photo: Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden is sworn in by Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson as his sons Senai, 13, (L) and Isaias, 16, (R) hold the Bible.

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Martin Luther King III to Visit Hartford

HARTFORD —  Candidate for State Treasurer Shawn Wooden will be joined by Martin Luther King, III on a campaign rally in Hartford and Bloomfield this Saturday.

Wooden, the endorsed Democratic candidate, is facing Dita Bhargava in the Aug. 14 primary. That’s because five-term incumbent Treasurer Denise L. Nappier is not seeking re-election.

King, the oldest son of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott, will be in Hartford and Bloomfield to support Wooden and to mark the 50th anniversary of his father’s passing.

King will also join about 20 other clergy for a meeting at The First Cathedral in Bloomfield hosted by Archbishop LeRoy Bailey, Jr.

King will also meet privately in Hartford with leaders of the Connecticut

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To Some, Wooden’s Withdrawal Is No Suprise

By Ann-Marie Adams, Op-Ed Columnist

Shawn Wooden is a curious fellow.

Not long after giving an impassioned speech about plans to be Hartford’s next elected mayor, he mysteriously quit.

The recent news of his withdrawal from the mayoral race was strange, even within the context of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s intervention. It was also shocking to some, but not to those following the machinations of Hartford’s political underbelly.

Wooden, a prodigal son of Hartford, returned from New York several years ago and recently began pursuit of his long-held political ambition: to be the third black mayor of  Hartford.  Thirman Milner was the first in 1981 until 1987. Carrie Saxon Perry was the second in 1987 until 1993. Wooden was Perry’s assistant and a rising political star.

To some, Wooden had the mayoral timber to be “the next one.”  Had he continued on as the top contender to Mayor Pedro Segarra and won, he would have defied naysayers who said there will never be another black mayor in Hartford. Instead, Wooden raised then shattered the hope of many.

So for some residents, he still has some explanation to do.

But to others, an explanation isn’t necessary. Wooden’s political pivot was inevitable.  Perhaps the essence of this inevitability lies in Wooden’s past in Project Concern, a school program that bussed Hartford students into the suburbs.

Wooden, while in Manchester High School, said he learned how to navigate his way around stereotypes about blacks. He apparently developed what some would call “engaging characteristics” appealing to suburban whites.  His experience exposed him to other children, (usually whites) who “expected to succeed.” This was a touted benefit of the program that began in 1966.

But few talked about the  psychological harm to some impressionable black teenagers in an all-white world perceived as ideal, especially ones without a solid foundation in their own history and thier people’s contributions to society. Was Wooden affected in such way? I don’t know.

But this much I do know: Wooden walked away learning how to negotiate a white world, but failed to learn how to navigate the old neighborhood he left behind.  So when he went knocking on doors there, few people warmed up to him.

As the story goes, Wooden left the neighborhood to achieve for himself and his family. And as one resident said: “He didn’t achieve for us.” Hey, I have yet to hear a story of Wooden doing pro bono work as a lawyer in his old neighborhood.

In addition, his wife was supposedly adamant about not placing their sons into the Hartford Public School system. So to some, it was like this: “If your kids are too good to be in school with our children, you don’t need to be my mayor.”

While Wooden racked up record amounts of money for his mayoral campaign, his letter-writing campaign to solicit support from several Democratic Town Committee members resulted in naught.

And although he had the inside political connection, his campaign message lacked appeal to those outside city hall. His message was mostly tailored to corporate Hartford and to the suburbs rather than to Hartford residents. He also sent his press releases to media houses that cater to suburbanites, rather than to local neighborhood and ethnic press focused on Hartford.

Besides that political blunder, there was the issue of his hiring “an Indian from Ohio and a white girl from Kansas” to run his campaign, said Butch Lewis, who said he’s supporting Segarra.

“They couldn’t even find their way from downtown Hartford to Mahl Street,” Lewis said.  “He met with us and told us we’re not ‘intelligent enough’ to run his campaign.”


If that was actually true, Wooden showcased the same arrogance espoused by his friend and former mayor of Washington, D.C., Adrian Fenty. Fenty was perceived as someone who snubbed D.C.’s black community. He was reportedly insulting to D.C. taxi drivers, who on election day, galvanized. From sun up to sun down, taxi drivers volunteered to take people to the polls for free—all in an effort to vote out Fenty. Apparently Fenty forgot that these “foreign” taxi drivers were also citizens who could vote.

Here in Hartford, some African Americans had already decided they wouldn’t give Wooden a chance to get in as mayor—no matter how much money he amassed. Wooden’s decision to withdraw from the mayoral race may have been calculated several weeks ago. The questions Wooden had to face then were: how and when.

But the question he will face as he continues on as candidate for the Hartford city council is: why?



Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D.

Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. writes a bi-weekly column for The Hartford Guardian. Follow her on Twitter and FacebookSend letters to The Editor : editor@thehartfordguardian.com

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Shawn Wooden To Withdraw

HARTFORD — Shawn Wooden, Hartford’s 2011 mayoral candidate, has announced his withdrawal from the upcoming mayoral election.

Wooden, at a press conference before city hall today, announced that he will run for a seat on the City Council and back Mayor Pedro Segarra.

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