Mary Alice Dwyer Hughes announces run for mayor
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Tue., Mar. 1, 2011
Mary Alice Dwyer Hughes, chair of the town board of education, announced Feb. 27 that she will be a candidate for mayor of East Hartford.
Dwyer Hughes is a former member of the town council and is the current chair of the board of education. The decision to run for mayor, "is something I have been kicking around for while now,’’ Dwyer Hughes said.
If elected, Dwyer Hughes said she would focus on economic development, finding ways to support businesses in East Hartford. “I would reach out to businesses and ‘ask what can we do to help you,’’ she said. “We need better marketing to let people know what is here in East Hartford.
The office of mayor is an open seat this year. Marcia A. Leclerc, the current mayor, was appointed to finish the term of former mayor Melody Currey, who stepped down as mayor when she was appointed by Gov. Dannell P. Malloy to head the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Dwyer Hughes’ four-year term on the board of education ends in November, “which made it a perfect time for me to run for mayor,’’ she said.
A majority leader on the town council for 10 years, Dwyer Hughes, a Democrat, left the council in 2007 to join the board of education and was elected its chair. She joined the school board at that time in an effort to help turn things around, she said.
“At that time, the morale was low in the schools and the state (board of education) was on our backs – they were even talking about a take-over of our school system. Everything was just imploding," she said.
Since that time, East Hartford public schools have seen a significant turnaround, with higher test scores and greater education choices for students and parents, she added.
“ I am also proud to say that the board of education delivered a budget this year that reflects a zero increase in taxes,’’ Dwyer Hughes said.
In addition to Dwyer Hughes, Santo Alleano, Jr., a retired firefighter, announced his candidacy for mayor last month.