District towns: Cornwall, Goshen, Salisbury, Sharon, Torrington
Election history: Willis won an open seat in 2000 with 53 percent of the vote, succeeding Republican Andrew Roraback, who was elected to the state Senate. In 2008, she was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party and unopposed by the GOP.
2008 general election
Roberta B. Willis (D) 8,293 87 percent Roberta B. Willis (WF) 1,231 13 percent
Public financing: Willis qualified for $7,500 in public financing for her campaign, but she returned the entire grant and $1,447.97 in other surplus funds to the state.
Background: Willis is a long-time political activist and former teacher who with the actress Meryl Streep and others founded Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet, a group that focuses on removing environmental toxins from children's food.
Committees: Appropriations, Environment, Higher Education and Employment Advancement (co-chair)
Education: A.A., Northwest Connecticut Community College; B.A., Vassar.
2008 Financial Disclosure: Willis declared no wages other than her legislative salary. Her husband, William F. Willis, is a partner in the Founders Insurance Group. They own a home in the Lakeville section of Salisbury and property in Au Sable Forks, N.Y. Willis is part-owner of a building in Sharon.
They own a dozen stocks, including AIG, General Electric, CL&P, Pfizer and Fuel Cell Energy of Danbury.
Willis filed a confidential addendum listing any debts exceeding $10,000. She declined to release the addendum, as is her choice under the law.
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.
Cornwall! Goshen! Salisbury! Sharon! Torrington
A.A., Northwest Connecticut Community College! B.A., Vassar.
Appropriations, Environment, Higher Education and Employment Advancement (chair)
Willis is a long-time political activist and former teacher who, along with the actress Meryl Streep and others, founded Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet, a group that focuses on removing environmental toxins from children's food. as co-chairwoman of the Higher Education Committee, Willis leveled sharp criticism at the Connecticut State University system in 2010, charging it spent too much on administrative compensation compared with its academic programs.But in 2011, Willis cast herself as a defender of higher education against the newly elected administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who proposed and ultimately won legislation consolidating the community colleges and state university system. Willis, who pushed years ago for higher education to complete a strategic plan, a task never begun, complained that Malloy's reorganization was "a restructuring without a plan." She said in March 2011 that she was lobbied by a number of administration officials, including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, to approve Malloy's bill as written. As a peace offering, Willis had her committee approve the governor's bill - and a competing bill that she drafted. "I am being very nice," Willis said. "If it was a Republican governor, I would have given the proposal a hearing, but it wouldn't have come out of committee." The brief standoff with Willis led to a call from Malloy's chief of staff, Tim Bannon, to Donovan, who also has chatted with members of other committees where there was resistance to moving along the governor's bills without changes. "I was driving, got a call from Tim Bannon. We straightened some things out, that kind of thing," said House Speaker Christopher Donovan, who did not go into specifics. "Sometimes here, people get all excited. Then you sit down and work it out." Willis was not as sanguine. "The tension in the air is palpable," she said.Willis is now exploring a run for House majority leader.
Willis won an open seat in 2000 with 53 percent of the vote, succeeding Republican Andrew Roraback, who was elected to the state Senate. In 2008, she was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party and unopposed by the GOP. She appeared twice on the ballot once again in 2010, defeating Republican Kathy Lauretano by more than 1,400 votes.
Kathy Lauretano! Roberta B. Willis! Roberta B. Willis