Thirty years ago this month, the state mourned its beloved former Governor, Ella Grasso. Grasso died on February 5, 1981, less than 6 weeks after resigning because an agressive cancer was winning its battle. People lined up in the cold to pay their respects at the State Capitol to a governor whose personality endeared her to citizens from Greenwich to Grosvernordale.
Grasso was an historic figure: the first woman elected governor in her own right. Other women in other states had been elected governor, but only after they were appointed to replace their husbands. Grasso was such a big deal she made the cover of Newsweek in 1974, and Jimmy Carter put her on his list of potential running mates in 1976.
This Sunday on Face the State, we will look at Grasso’s tenure in office, and her legacy. Our panel: Larrye deBear, former Channel 3 reporter who left Broadcast House to become press secretary to Governor Grasso. Also, senate candidate and former secretary of the state Susan Bysiewicz, who authored the Grasso biography, “Ella.” Rounding out the roundtable, Don Noel, also a former Channel 3 reporter and later a Hartford Courant columnist. Incidentally, both deBear and Noel are moderators emeritus of Face the State. deBear hosted the inaugural edition of the program back in 1965, and held that job until 1974. Noel took over and moderated Face until 1983. Channel 3 did have a Sunday political show before ’65, but it went by a different name. Noel actually interviewed Grasso on Face the State.
We also have some old soundbites from Governor Grasso unearthed from the Channel 3 archives. In one, her comments about the state of the state are eerily similar to what many folks are saying in 2011.
See you this Sunday at 11AM.