Mushinsky, Mary M.

District town: Wallingford

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Election history: Mushinky won an open seat in 1980, succeeding Democrat Michael Kraskowski. In 2008, she was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party.

2008 general election

Mary M. Mushinsky (D) 5,568 54 percent
Mary M. Mushinsky (WF) 893 9 percent
Michael T. Vitali (R) 3,793 37 percent

Public financing: Each candidate received $25,000 in public financing for their campaigns. Each returned a surplus: Mushinsky, $5,571.72; Vitali, $249.73.

Background: Mushinksky is the longest-serving legislator among current members of the House. In 1980, Mushinsky was a 29-year-old environmentalist and community organizer, finishing a four-year stint with the grass-roots activist organization, the Connecticut Citizen Action Group. It was an inauspicious year for a liberal Democrat to make her debut: With Ronald Reagan leading the ticket, Republicans picked up 21 seats in the state House of Representatives.

Her legislative career has had three phases: She was co-chair of the Environment Committee for six years, the Select Committee for Children for 10 years and she is now co-chair of the legislature’s bipartisan oversight panel, the Program Review and Investigations Committee. Her latest interest: results-based accountability in state government.

When a Republican mayor of Wallingford refused to join every other Connecticut community in making Martin Luther King Day an official holiday, Mushinsky filed legislation to pressure to observe the birth of the slain civil rights leader.

Many personal milestones have legislative connections for Mushinsky. She met her husband, who was a wire-service reporter, at the Capitol. In 1989, she was pregnant with one of her two sons during a protracted budget crisis.

Committees: Children, Environment, Finance, Program Review (co-chair)

Education: B.A., Southern Connecticut State University; Florida Atlantic University; M.A., Wesleyan University.

Occupation: Executive director, Quinnipiac River Watershed Association.

2008 Financial Disclosure: Mushinsky’s only outside income was her salary from the watershed association. Her husband, Martin J. Waters, was employed by CBS radio. They own a home in Wallingford.

They owned no securities worth more than $5,000.

She voluntarily disclosed an addendum listing one debt in excess of $10,000: a mortgage with M & T Bank.

A note on financial disclosure: Every spring, officials are required to disclose the ownership of real estate, the source of any income exceeding $1,000 in the previous calendar year and securities worth more than $5,000. They also are required to file an addendum in which they report any debt of more than $10,000; this may by law be kept confidential.