Susan Bysiewicz recently announced she has joined the new Glastonbury office of the law firm Pastore Shofi & Dailey, practicing corporate law. She's been at work already a couple of weeks energetically getting the place "up and running."
In 2012, Bysiewicz lost the Democratic primary to then-U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, who was just sworn into Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s vacated seat.
Bysiewicz began her political career as a state representative for the 100th Assembly District from 1992-98 and spent 12 years as Secretary of the State from 1999-2011. She was briefly a candidate for governor in 2010, before dropping out to run for Connecticut Attorney General.
The lifelong Middletown resident lives with her husband, a small business owner and three adult children, two of whom attend Wesleyan University and one who will graduate from Middletown High School this spring.
Bysiewicz spoke with Patch to explain the motives behind her career move, whether she's done with politics for good, and the lack of female leaders on the state and federal level.
Patch: What's it been like to reconnect with family after a grueling primary bid?
Bysiewicz: It was fantastic to take a deep breath and spend a good month or two making sure the 17 people working on my campaign staff had positions. I spent some really good, quality time with my family. I'm excited now to focus on helping build this new firm and build a client base and work with business clients.
Patch: What made you reassess your career after the election?
Bysiewicz: I have two kids in college and any parent who's put one or more children through school knows, it's an expensive proposition. I never very much that I wanted to get back into private practice. I love being a lawyer.
Patch: So are you done with politics?
Bysiewicz: I never got that crystal ball to be able to predict the future. I've got my sleeves rolled up now and I'm looking forward to helping clients with business law. I do see myself involved in making a difference but I'm not sure what form that will take.
Patch: What do you say to those who may wonder if you are building your resume to run for attorney general?
Bysiewicz: Many people in public service are lawyers. I have no immediate plans to run for public office. I love policymaking and public service but I very much want to build a very good private practice. Joe Pastor is a friend and a fellow law colleague. He's put together a team of very talented professionals with similar backgrounds.
Patch: Do you believe fellow Democrat Chris Murphy will carry forth with many of your ideas during the primary?
Bysiewicz: I do because I think we agreed on a good number of issues, some issues we disagreed upon and the primary was the opportunity to have a lively debate on that and now we both agree on the tremendous need to have bipartisan cooperation because of the massive budget issues and deficits. I know Chris and I feel very strongly that we need to have meaningful gun laws passed, especially at the federal level where there is a tremendous call for background checks and basic things like making sure the assault weapon ban gets reinstated.
Patch: Some say your career follows a trajectory not unlike that of your personal hero, Gov. Ella Grasso. Does considering her legacy stir thoughts of things you've yet to achieve?
Bysiewicz: She was a pioneer, especially in her profession which heretofore had been dominated by men. While Gov. Grasso might be encouraged by some progress women have made, if you look at other countries, women have made much more progress there then we have her in our country.
We need to continue to mentor competent women to run for government office. Women leaders are making a difference when they are elected. I'd like to see more women help to level the playing field. In the business world, when you look at board of directors or leaders of major corporations on the Fortune 500, you see few women at the helm of those companies. We need to have more leading states and Congress.