Interview: How to become an Advocate for Children with Dante Bartolomeo
Dante Bartolomeo is a State Senator for Connecticut. She represents Cheshire, Meridan, Middlefield and Middletown. Also, part of Rockfall, CT. That’s over 100,000 people. It’s actually quite a story on how she became a politician accidentally.
Below is a summary of our interview:
Her grandmother, who is 96, has always said, “If you’re doing something that’s important to you, you keep your list of the pluses and minus, but if the pluses are longer and if it’s important, you stick with it.”
Her maiden name was “Self.” Her mother’s side of the family is Italian and her dad was a third generation farmer. Her mom was very liberal. She never ever thought that she would end up in politics. She went to Colby College and graduated with a degree in Psychology. When she finished school, she got into the Hotel Sales and Marketing industry. But when she had her first child, she decided to be a stay-at-home mom, which was a good thing. Her oldest son needed special education. So she spent time in Connecticut and New York getting his special needs met. It became her full-time job getting him recognized that he had and needed services. So that was the beginning of her advocacy. Once she navigated the system, she became a volunteer, and was a community organizer. She’s quite passionate about helping children. She was also approached to join the city council, and became a liaison. Then, she was approached and asked if she would run for the Senate, and is now been in the Senate for Connecticut since early 2013.
A Low Point
Her son needed special needs at the age of 2-4 years old and she needed to devote her time to fighting for his needs. She almost had to sue people.
When she realized that she would be an advocate for children.
Dante’s work now
Dante’s job as a State Senator for Connecticut involves a large community. She is chair of the Children’s Committee. An she chairs the housing committee and a member of the education committee. She’s involved in everything that matters to her. One of the major things she did in June 2013 was to pass a unanimous, 100% supported bill that restructured the way Connecticut approaches children’s mental health.
She came into Legislature in January 2013, right after the Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy on December 14. 2012. So not only was it important to Dante’s children’s committee but also it was important to her and her sister, who had been adopted and was in the child welfare system. There was little to no help from the system. So from the time Dante’s sister was 14-30, she in and out of hospitals. Dante’s hope is that families are well supported and her committee is requiring multiple agencies to work together that is much more family centered.
Book Dante recommends:
Two words – The Help.[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”0425245136″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zQ9dI1%2BgL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”purposerockst-20″ width=”98″]
Being a perfectionist.
Millie Torres Ferguson, who has been amazingly helpful. Dante credits her.
If you go to her website, you can find everything there- senatorbartolomeo.cga.ct.gov
What’s Your Purpose?
Advocacy for children in mental health and education.
Where to follow Dante
Her website: www.danteforstatesenate.com. She is currently in campaign season.
Phone Number that she can be reached:203-440-2272
Thanks to Derrick for reaching out to her.