Toni Boucher brings to public service a unique combination of experience in both the private sector and state and local government. She understands what businesses need to grow and create jobs and how to work with both sides of the political aisle in government to get results for the people she represents.
Boucher is a Chief Deputy Majority Leader in the Connecticut State Senate, where since 2009 she has represented the seven towns of the 26th district: Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. Previously, she represented the 143rd district (Wilton, Norwalk) in the state House of Representatives for 12 years, and before that, she served for 10 years in Wilton’s town government — on the Board of Selectmen and, as Chair, on the Board of Education. She was also a member of the State Board of Education.
Boucher has worked in the private sector for more than 20 years, both before and throughout her legislative career. She held executive positions with two Fortune 50 firms, founded a small business, and has served for the past 13 years as a director of a nonprofit financial firm. She holds an MBA from UConn, as well as Series 7 and 63 securities licenses.
As a legislator, Boucher, who has served on both the Finance and Appropriations Committees, is a staunch advocate for responsible management of Connecticut’s finances. She has consistently fought to lower and eliminate taxes and fees for people and businesses, reduce the size and cost of government, pay down debt, and create a more pro-business environment that will foster job growth. She has been a vocal opponent of the current administration’s budgetary policies, which have imposed the largest tax hike in the state’s history and increased spending to unprecedented levels, making Connecticut the only state whose economy actually shrank in 2012.
As Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, Boucher has been one of the legislature’s strongest advocates for mass transit and for upgrading the state’s transportation infrastructure. She has led successful initiatives to improve all aspects of commuter rail service, reduce traffic congestion, and increase access for bicycles and pedestrians.
Throughout her career in public service – first in Wilton town government, then as a member of the State Board of Education, and during her 17 years in the legislature, where she is Ranking Member of the Education and Higher Education Committees — Boucher has been an outspoken advocate for education at all levels. Among her accomplishments in this area, she has successfully introduced and supported legislation that promoted early reading success, created preschool education programs for disadvantaged children, established 529 college trust fund accounts, restructured the Hartford school system, reformed bilingual education, and introduced rigorous accountability standards for both public schools and the state’s higher education system.
Boucher was born in Italy and immigrated at the age of five with her family to Naugatuck, CT, where she completed all of her elementary and secondary education in the public school system and learned the value of hard work. She is a champion for legal immigrants who are seeking opportunities to work hard for the benefits of a good education for their children and for a better quality of life for their families. She is proud of the work ethic that has allowed her to succeed in both business and government while raising a family and contributing to her state and community. Since 1983, she has lived in Wilton with her husband of more than 40 years. They have three children, all of whom attended the Wilton public schools, and five grandchildren.
Accomplishments in the Legislature
Jobs and the Economy
As a member of the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee, Senator Boucher is working to resolve the state’s existing fiscal problems and plan for the future in a bipartisan manner. She believes that Connecticut must recreate an environment where businesses can grow and families can prosper. Senator Boucher, who served on the Appropriations Committee as a State Representative, is now on the front line of efforts to balance the state’s growing budget deficit while holding the line on taxes, reducing government spending, saving businesses and growing jobs. Included in her accomplishments were: Co-authoring balanced No-Tax-Increase state budget as an alternative to the administration’s tax heavy, debt-laden budget; Stopping the Governors cuts to local schools and towns; Restored drug prescription program for low income elderly; Passing bi-partisan small business legislation; Stopping proposed increases in the gas tax; Leading the successful fight against the return of tolls on CT highways.
Senator Boucher has assumed a leadership role on the Transportation Committee at a time when the state and nation is reaffirming its commitment to mass transportation. While serving as a member of the Transportation Committee as a State Representative, she worked to protect and improve the Danbury Branch line and helped lead the way on traffic relief initiatives for Southwestern Connecticut, especially with respect to rail service.
Today, Senator Boucher continues to work to modernize commuter rail lines by keeping public policy focused on parking, train station enhancements and more frequent, faster, rail service. She was successful in securing funds to computerize the Norwalk to Danbury Branch line signal systems after a decade long battle to not only save the line from a permanent shutdown but the first upgrade in decades. She played a key role in the state’s purchase of new rail cars and in securing much needed improvements, including a computerized signal system, new parking and plumbing, at area rail stations. In 2011 Senator Boucher proposed a Rail Passenger’s Bill of Rights for Metro North customers. This proposal served as the basis for the MTA’s own Customer Service Pledge, intended to provide a safe, clean and comfortable commute for all passengers. She has also championed efforts to improve our highways infrastructure. Senator Boucher is also credited with helping to stop plans to build a Super 7 Highway, instead championing successful efforts to widen the road, build a greenway, and increase access for bikes and pedestrians. Her efforts helped to protect one of the state’s largest wetlands.
Senator Boucher is especially proud of her success in having Route 33 in Westport and Wilton designated as the “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway.” Also, Senator Boucher has successfully fought proposals to put tolls back on the state’s highways. And, she was successful in her efforts to protect the region’s character by ensuring that new power line cables were installed underground.
As a Ranking member and most recently Co- Chair of the Education and the Higher Education Committees, Senator Boucher helps to oversee legislation relating to the state Department of Education, local and regional school boards, Connecticut Public Universities and Community Colleges, state libraries, museums and other historical associations. She previously served as Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Children, Senator Boucher working on legislation dealing with children’s issues. Senator Boucher has also been appointed to The Planning Commission for Higher Education, The Committee to Review School Construction Regulations and Priority Listings for School Construction Projects, The CT Allied Health Workforce Policy Board.
Senator Boucher became known in the legislature as an outspoken advocate for education at all levels. She authored and helped pass legislation to reduce the mandatory age at which a child must enroll in school from seven to five, and reformed bilingual education, and helped institute the Connecticut College Trust Fund to help parents save for their children’s college education. She successfully worked for legislation to promote early reading success, preschool education programs for disadvantaged children and to enhance educational accountability. Most recently she helped to pass a bills on school security, dyslexia, concussion, student data privacy, early childhood education and holocaust education. For this work, she’s been recognized as ‘Children’s Champion’ by the CT Early Childhood Alliance 7 years in a row and honored by Jewish Federation of Connecticut.
For her support of arts education, the Connecticut Association of Arts Administrators presented then Toni Boucher with its 2006 Outstanding Contributions in Arts Advocacy Award. She later received the 2008 Connecticut Arts Advocate Award from the Connecticut Arts Educators Association and the 2008 Music Education Advocate Award from CMEA.
Additionally, she’s been an outspoken advocate of the need to restrain the escalating college tuitions in our state so that we can continue to provide a quality higher education that CT families can afford.
Senator Boucher’s involvement with education and youth issues pre-dates her service in the General Assembly. She has served as a member of the Connecticut State Board of Education, where she chaired its committees on policy and long-range planning. From 1986 to 1994, she served on the Wilton Board of Education, during which time she was both the chair and secretary. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Wilton Education Foundation and five school communities based planning teams; the Quality and Integrated Education Local Planning Committee and the Foreign Language Task Force (1978-92).
Also, she was active in the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and the National Association of State Boards of Education; Wilton YMCA Expansion Fund; Board of the Wilton Youth Council’s Project 94, 96 and 2000; Technology Task Force (1993-present); Gifted Task Force (1988-90); and the Wilton Parent-Teacher Associations. Early in her career, Senator Boucher worked as a translator and secondary education language teacher. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian.
A History of Community Involvement
Senator Boucher’s history of community involvement extends beyond education and children’s issues. She has served as a member of the Wilton Board of Selectmen and as the town of Wilton’s representative to the Council on Public Facilities and Insurance Committee. Also, she was active in the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. In the past, she has served as an advisory board member of the New Canaan Nature Center and as a member of the Our Lady of Fatima Fundraising Steering Committee, Greystone Estates Association Board of Directors, Advisory Board of New Canaan Cares, Wilton League of Women Voters, Wilton Historical Society, Board of Directors of the Wilton Chapter of the AFS, and Friends of the Wilton Library.
Senator Boucher has served as an advisory board member of UConn’s nonprofit Leadership Institute, state director for the National Foundation of Women Legislators, advisory board member of the Alden Weir Farm Art Center, and a board member of the Norwalk Human Services Committee. She has also served as a member of board of Elder House and of the Norwalk Youth Symphony.