First Selectman Candidate Profile: Pat Llodra

Republican incumbent Pat Llodra is seeking a second term as first selectman.

Pat Llodra grew up in a family farm, one of eight children in South Hadley, MA who remembered boarding a bus with her sister to travel into Connecticut to work in one of several tobacco farms in the state.

Her father was a native of Ireland whose formal schooling ended in the fourth grade though he was a lifelong avid reader. Her mother, on the other hand, was the daughter of an Episcopalian minister whose family originally came from England.

Llodra said that although she grew up poor, she set her sights on higher education and became the first member of her family to attend college – though it took her 17 years between working and raising a family before she completed her undergraduate degree.

She has worked as a waitress, bartender, teacher, principal, executive coach and Newtown first selectman, for which she is seeking a second term.

“It’s work I think I do well,” the Republican incumbent said in explaining why she is running for re-election.

Llodra is known for working in her office through the weekend, and having just turned 69-years-old, she said she's not ready to leave office.

“I still have tremendous energy,” she said.

Llodra cited the town's finances as the single most pressing issue facing the town.

"Our revenue stream is not a sufficent match for our needs," she said. "We have increasing pressure on our operating budget. We also have demands on our capital improvement plan that are outstripping our capacity to serve in terms of tax revenue."

Llodra said that she wants to reach a better balance in the ratio of residents and businesses in town as a way to alleviate the tax burden on individuals while increasing revenue needed to cover town services.

Former town finance director and current Legislative Council member Ben Spragg said that in the 30 years in which he has worked for Newtown, he has had a chance to work with several first selectmen and thinks highly of Llodra.

“I would put her as one of the town’s top first selectman,” Spragg said. “She’s proven herself. Her communication skills are outstanding. She listens. She actually hears what people are saying.”

Most town residents know her best from her daily updates she sent in the days following Tropical Storm Irene and the October storm.

“It was an outstanding example of her hands-on approach to town government,” Spragg said.

Llodra’s education background as a former superintendent also helps her sift through some of the town and school issues facing Newtown, Spragg said.

“Her ability to work collaboratively with the school system – it will help better manage the limited resources,” he said.

Education has always been important to her, Llodra said. After graduating from high school, she became the first member of her family to go on to college, entering the University of Bridgeport where she met her husband. In her junior year, she quit school, married and worked while her husband finished his schooling.

They had decided that only one of them could be in school at any one time due to the financial pressures. At one point, they were working five jobs among them, she said.

The couple has two grown children, Michael and Beth, and a daughter, Sharon, who died a couple of years ago. Llodra said that outside of work, she and her husband, Robert, spend as much time with their seven grandchildren as possible.

Spragg said he is not surprised Llodra is seeking a second term as many of her predecessors have.

“They get caught up in it. They start getting involved and see things are not entirely finished,” he said.

Correction: Pat Llodra's work experience includes being a principal and advisor to principals and superintendents. An earlier version of this article misstated some of her work experience.

George S November 08, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Po, thanks for the answer. Makes a ton of sense; IMO anyone who trusts delegating this to a town zoning commission and/or some "authority" supports unwanted development occurring at some point in deed, if not in word. Is there any difference between the IPN position and the Llodra/GOP position on these items?
Miss November 08, 2011 at 04:38 PM
I never thought I would see the day where I vote for a republican but Pat Llodra has my vote this year. She has done a great job.
Po Murray November 08, 2011 at 04:50 PM
George, I believe IPN has put on enough pressure from this election to push the GOP and Mrs. Llodra to consider modifying the FHA ordinance. I have not heard or read that they are strongly commited to allow the voters to decide on lease arrangements, housing etc.. on FFH. I am 100% in favor of allowing the voters to decide and I have been pushing for this for years and years. I have found that the only way to get their full attention is to run against them. Now, I am finding that they are more vocal about not supporting housing etc... I have never desired a public office but I did so for the results. Competition drives better decision making and I am very proud of the IPN and the IPN candidates for providing this competition to make Newtown a better place. I believe IPN could make some sweeping changes if more of us were elected.
pat Llodra November 08, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Po. Neither you nor the IPN has anything to do with my position regarding Fairfield Hills. More than 2 years ago I laid out my plan regarding Fairfiled Hills: 1) commission a review of the Master Plan; 2) review the role and purpose of the Authority in view of my commintment to bring the develoment of the Campus under the scope and authority of 'regular' practices and not 'special' practcies of the FHA; 3) move supervision and mangement of the Campus away from private contracts into Town departments, i.e. Police to supervise security; and P&R to supervise property care; and months ago I added number 4) modify the Charter so that the Town has better processes avaiable to dispose of pubic lands, therefore eliminating the need for the FHA to negotiate leases. Much of this has been accomplished or is on track. This is MY plan - well known and documented and more than idle talk.
Carey Schierloh November 08, 2011 at 05:02 PM
George, not a dumb question. Please read the following link for answers to your questions. Not sure how often Pat can check the Patch. http://www.newtownrepublicans.org/all-newsletters/2011/final-election-thoughts.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com November 08, 2011 at 05:05 PM
Pat i think you came to the table late. I was at the LC meeting when you had the chance to vote to review the ordinance and you said you did not see any reason to do so. Now you do and it was IPN pushing that finally got you to the table.And that is the fact!
George S November 08, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Pat & Carey, thanks. Some feedback - here is where i see a significant difference, in IPN's favor from my perspective: "review the role and purpose of the Authority in view of my commintment to bring the develoment of the Campus under the scope and authority of 'regular' practices and not 'special' practcies of the FHA". What's to review - this has been going on forever, seems there is ample evidence the "Authority" is a boondoggle? Seems a no-brainer to just cut to the chase and repeal the monstrosity, a la what Po apparently is supporting.
Mike Kelley November 08, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Proven past perfomance and relating to the wishes of the residents is what has made Pat Llodra a fine First Selectman. Already voted this morning Pat. Thanks and keep up the good work,. Not just rhetoric and slogans; real results and real solutions to difficult problems is what has made a difference over the last two years and what will make a real difference for the next two.
Daria November 08, 2011 at 06:04 PM
I have recently purchased a home in Newtown and would like to say I am impressed by Pat's responsiveness to the messages I have sent to her re: this latest storm. My emails were answered in a matter of minutes and she has continously made known her efforts to help Newtown citizens who were out of power for this unimaginable length of time. I have never had such a positive and thorough interaction as I have had with Pat. Thank you!
Concerned Parent November 08, 2011 at 06:36 PM
33 seconds - Not impressed Po
Sam Mihailoff November 08, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Po, pretty nervy of you and the mighty IPN to dare take credit for anything. Today is election day, and clearly it will not be yours. By your own penned comments (at least today's version, since they vacillate so often) the IPN platform forced Pat Llodra to act? This would almost be laughable if it weren't an outright sinister statement. This from a party that refuses to answer simple questions whether asked by folks using "pen names" or the real McCoy. This by a party who claims to slice the property tax and budget but cannot come up with "detail numero uno." The only thing I agree with is your statement that you have never desired a public office...and at 8:00 tonight you will have your wish. The more you speak, the more repugnant you become. How's that for staying on topic???
skinnygirl November 08, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Po responds to screen names when it suits her purpose. See below. Delegation and collaboration are indeed needed, but the office cannot overstep its bounds as Ms. Murray wants to do. Pat demonstrates delegation and collaboration daily and certainly did last budget season. There's a big difference between genuine collaboration and self serving political platitudes.
skinnygirl November 08, 2011 at 07:13 PM
What's astounding to me is that she is advocating a reduction...something she has never done before.
Mike Kelley November 08, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Neither of these candidates voting record while in the positions they were elected for support their new found positions of reducing spending by 5%. Score and report that! Oh; sorry, forgot the "track" record.
Jan Andras November 08, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Actually, Po wants to reduce the town side of the budget (the only part the Board of Selectmen has a say in). I'm sure she would then advocate to move that money over to the education side. Technically no reduction in spending. Just a reduction in services like snow plowing, police availability, etc.
Mike Kelley November 08, 2011 at 07:52 PM
I should clarify that I am referring to Mrs. Murray and Mr. Furrier in my comment above.
nrd November 08, 2011 at 09:15 PM
I really don't understand why on every political article in the Patch there is always an argument against Po Murray, another member of IPN, or IPN in general. It seems to me that many of the people in Newtown only vote for people in their party affiliation and are not open to the ideas of others, whether they be good or bad. No one can up with a compromise; it is always shutting down others' ideas.
Mike Kelley November 08, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Party affilaition has nothing to do with my comments or thoughts. although I am a Registered Democrat, I have not been active in the Democratic Party in years. In my estimation, party policitcs in local elections is not even an issue.Just as the IPN states that being a registered Democrat or Republican or Independant makes no differnece to them. It is the person who I am voting for not a Party. National elections and State elections are a bit different. The person and the experience and track record is what I vote for and why I did not vote for Mrs. Murray or Mr Furrier, nothing to do with their party, just their record and lack of detail on their ideas. Many have asked for the details for weeks and got the same non answers on details of how they were going to accomplish what they said and where the cuts were going to be made and how.You can have a great idea, but must somehow be able to give the details on how the idea is going to be implemented, and be able to explain it; at least that is the way most businesses operate.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com November 08, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Mike did you actually write this with a straight face? I wonder if there is even one IPN candidate that you might have a good word for. Go back and review your blogs and let me know.
yoda November 08, 2011 at 10:29 PM
Bruce, what no party tonight?
Emma November 08, 2011 at 10:53 PM
Bruce, for someone who is running for office, you make rather condescending remarks to voters. Is that how you treat voters you don't think are voting for you?
kaia November 08, 2011 at 11:28 PM
eloquent yes, but that very logic lost us the IBM tenancy. a BIG loss.
kaia November 08, 2011 at 11:34 PM
actually NRD, FWIW, I have always considered myself an Independent thinker and voter, and was excited about the idea of IPN years ago, until I saw Furrier in action (inaction) on the Board of Selectmen. He only used it to push for his friends, meeting after meeting - a real conflict of interest. Now, I am back in my anti-party mood. Pat's fair, smart and has proven herself to be a very hard worker. I've gotten over the fact that she calls herself a Republican in some gatherings.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com November 08, 2011 at 11:39 PM
Emma wonder who you are?
Karen Visca November 09, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Everyone will vote for who they want.. I make up my own mind.
Karen Visca November 09, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Everyone will vote for who they want. I make up my own mind.
Renee November 09, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Totally agree.. she has my vote...
Karen Visca November 09, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Everyone will vote for who they want.
Mike Kelley November 09, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Bruce;Missed this comment yesterday, but did see your comment in the Bee today. The post you put in there today on Patch was a lot better than the comments attributed to you and Mr. Furrier by the Bee last night. Suprised that no one from IPN came by to congratulate the winners last night. The election is over, the voters who took the time to vote have spoken. Time for all to move on and get together to solve the problems.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com November 09, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Yup, Mike it is time to move forward. Everyone involved really has the same objective to move Newtown forward in a positive, make it even better.My hope is we all can get comfortable with that idea, me included.


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