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  Merrill, Denise W.
NameDenise W. Merrill
Storrs, Connecticut , United States
Born Unknown
Died Still Living
ContributorJoshua L.
Last Modifededdy 9_99
Jun 22, 2010 12:10pm
InfoBackground and Experience:

State Representative, 54th House District (Mansfield). First elected in 1993, currently serving fourth term as Deputy Majority Leader. Committees: Appropriations (1993-present), Education (1993-present) Vice Chair, 1996-98; Commerce (1994-98); Government Administration & Elections (Vice Chair, 1994-96).

Attorney, member California Bar Association.

Former Executive Director of the Consortium for Law & Citizenship Education, Inc., private non-profit educational corporation

Curriculum consultant, State Department of Education (1984-92)

Teacher, The Vershire School, Vershire, Vermont (1979-81)

Established statewide citizenship and law education programs by working with numerous state agencies and private organizations including the CT Attorney General, the Commissioner of Education, the CT Secretary of State, the CT Judiciary and the CT Bar Association. (1984-93)

Director, Training Resource Academy, Child Health & Development Institute of CT


Chair, legislative Task Force on Educational Telecommunications (1995-97)

Special interest in the rights of children in her work in inner cities on projects for at risk youth and conflict resolution in the schools.

Interest in Connecticut history. Under grant from the CT Humanities Council co-edited "350 Years of Connecticut Government - Guide to Connecticut constitutional history & history of the General Assembly (1989).

Recognized by former Chief Justice Warren Burger for her work on Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. (1987) Special interest in constitutional history.

Interested in Bill of Rights issues, especially for children. Published articles for American Bar Association Journal, including "Is the Death Penalty Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Juveniles?" and "Where Stands Due Process in the Schools" (Co-author with Judge Joseph Shortall). Helped CT Civil Liberties Union establish educational programs on Bill of Rights (videotape on Bill of Rights w/ teacher's guide).


Flemming Fellow (1995) - Center for Policy Alternatives, Washington D.C. Awarded for leadership potential to 30 state representatives throughout country.

Legislator of the Year (1996) - Selected by Congress of Connecticut Democrats. For leadership on progressive policy issues.

Legislator of the Year (1997) - Connecticut Library Association. Also awarded Distinguished Legislator (2000) for work on Early Reading Success and education technology initiatives.

Distinguished Legislator Award (1998) - Connecticut Association of Boards of Education.

Legislator of the Year (1998) - ACCESS Agency, Eastern Connecticut. For outstanding work on social service issues for poor families and on her work on the Early Reading Success legislation.

Friend of Education, CT Education Association (1998).

Catherine Roraback award for Leadership in Women?s Issues from Ct Chapter of National Abortion Rights Action League (2000).

Distinguished Service Award, CT Council of Social Studies (2001).


Member of the Mansfield Board of Education. (1991-93) Promoted parent participation; Chief Negotiator for Mansfield Education Association Contract.

Co-President of the Annie Vinton PTA in 1991.

Member, League of Women Voters of Mansfield

Volunteer with Community School for Arts and Greater Mansfield Council for Arts

Campaign Chair for three Mansfield Democratic campaigns

Northeast Regional Coordinator for the Clinton/ Gore/Dodd campaign 1992).

State Coordinator, Women for Clinton/Gore (1996).


Women's Campaign School at Yale, Co-Chair of Board, 1998-2000.

University of CT Alumni Association, Board member

Connecticut Economic Conference Board member (1997-99).

Northeast CT Council on Substance Abuse (NECASA), Board Member

State Taskforce on Citizenship Education (1991)

Secretary of the State Board, League of Women Voters of Connecticut. (1993)

Numerous other state and national education committees and councils (CT Council for Social Studies, National Council for Advancement of Citizenship, State Committee on ConnCept test, National Conference of State Legislatures? Education Committee, etc.)


Graduate of the University of Connecticut. Attended San Francisco Law School and became member of California bar in 1978.

Three grown children: daughter, Nicole, graduate of the University of CT; son, Alex is a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio; and son, Nate attends the University of Wisconsin Engineering School.

Lived for three years in Geneva, Switzerland where she studied classical piano. She speaks fluent French and is an avid gardener, hiker, and outdoor enthusiast.


Active member and supporter of CT NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League). Promoted educational programs on sex equity in schools.

Active member of and contributor to numerous environmental groups: C.C.A.G., Sierra Club, Project LEAP, NE Regional Transit Alliance and CT Fund for the Environment.


Higher Education: co-sponsored legislation to fund infrastructure at University of Connecticut (UConn 2000) (1994), the CT College Scholarship Program (1996), and other higher education improvement legislation.

Chief sponsor, Economic Development Cluster Bill (1996) to develop a strategic plan for Connecticut in high technology industry clusters.

Sponsor of various legislation on campaign finance reform: "On-line Access" for the public to legislative information, ban on gifts from lobbyists, public financing of campaigns and other ethical reforms.

Education Technology: supported and sponsored legislation to create grant programs for schools and libraries to enhance telecommunications and other technology.

Early Reading Success - sponsor of this 1998 legislation to promote literacy in early grades.

Civic Education: Sponsored legislation to require the teaching of civics as a requirement for high school graduation (2000).

School Readiness Initiative: sponsored legislation to fund nationally-recognized early learning program of day care for children ages 3-5 in priority school districts. Have spoken nationally in numerous forums on the importance of early learning and Connecticut?s programs. (1999)


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