July 1, 2003 - Norwich Bulletin: Liberia Shaun McNally becomes first to challenge Simmons for Congressional Seat

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: July 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: July 1, 2003 - Norwich Bulletin: Liberia Shaun McNally becomes first to challenge Simmons for Congressional Seat

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:18 am: Edit Post

Liberia RPCV Shaun McNally to challenge Simmons for Congressional Seat

Read and comment on this story from the Norwich Bulletin on Liberia Shaun McNally who is the first to challenge Simmons for his Congressional Seat. He began his public service career in 1975 as an intern to U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd. He was an aide to former Congressman Sam Gejdenson in 1981-82. He then spent two years in the Peace Corps in Liberia, where he met his wife, Dr. Madeline Wilson. They married in 1987, have one child and live in Deep River. Read the story at:

McNally becomes first to challenge Simmons*

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McNally becomes first to challenge Simmons

Norwich Bulletin; rhackett@norwichbulletin.com

DEEP RIVER, CONNECTICUT -- Former Norwich state Rep. Shaun McNally will file candidacy papers with the Federal Elections Commission today, becoming the first Democratic candidate to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, in the 2004 race.

"It's official," McNally said Monday. He said a formal announcement may come later this summer or after the November municipal elections.

Simmons' office declined comment Monday, choosing, as he has in the past, not to do so until a Democratic candidate is chosen at the party's convention.

McNally served in the General Assembly from 1986 to 1992, representing the 47th Assembly District. He has worked for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association since 1995, resigning effective Monday to focus on the campaign.

He began his public service career in 1975 as an intern to U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd. He was an aide to former Congressman Sam Gejdenson in 1981-82.

He then spent two years in the Peace Corps in Liberia, where he met his wife, Dr. Madeline Wilson. They married in 1987, have one child and live in Deep River.

Simmons raised more than $170,000 for his re-election during the first quarter of the year, and has $135,030 cash on hand as of March 31, according to campaign finance reports filed with the FEC.

An update campaign finance report covering the period through June 30 is due to be filed with the FEC by July 15.

McNally, however, will not be required to file a finance report because he was not an official candidate prior to today.

Simmons and 2002 Democratic challenger Joseph Courtney raised a combined $3 million during the 2002 campaign. McNally said he has no specific amount that he was targeting for his effort.

"The numbers are daunting," McNally said. "And I'm sure even incumbents find them so. Obviously, I think we need to be in the six figures by the end of the year; $150,000 would be a better showing to be seen as a viable candidate."

McNally's decision to enter the race was expected, having indicated his intention to file last month after Vernon attorney Joseph Courtney, the 2002 Democratic challenger, announced he would not make a second run for the party's nomination.

Several other Democrats are considering possible bids, but as of Monday none had filed candidacy papers with the FEC.

Originally published Tuesday, July 1, 2003
More about Liberia RPCV Shaun McNally

Read more about Liberia RPCV Shaun McNally at:

Shwan McNally


Shaun Michael McNally

Shaun McNally has a proud record of service to his nation, state, and community as a Peace Corps Volunteer, state representative, congressional aide, anti-poverty worker, and an advocate for small businesses and manufacturers.

Shaun Michael McNally was born on December 10, 1957 in Derby, Connecticut and moved to Norwich in 1962. The oldest of six children to John and the late Jean Gleissner McNally, he attended Greeneville public school and graduated from the Norwich Free Academy in 1975 as an honor student, an all-conference athlete, and a leader in student government. His family worshipped at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.

Shaun’s parents were both civil servants; his father is a retired food safety inspector for the State of Connecticut and his mother was a nurse at the Uncas-on-the-Thames Hospital in Norwich. The McNally family emigrated from Ireland to Norwich, served honorably in the Civil War, stewarded shipping traffic on the Thames River, and operated a small dry goods store. His grandfather was a member of the Norwich police force for over 30 years.

Coming from modest means, Shaun put himself through college with the help of various jobs and financial aid. A Dean’s List student, he graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in political science in 1981. In 1990, McNally received a M.P.A. from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

McNally’s public service career began with internships for then Congressman Chris Dodd (D-2nd) in 1975 and in 1979. In 1980, he worked on Dodd’s successful U.S. Senate campaign. From 1981-82, he was a congressional aide for U.S. Representative Sam Gejdenson (D-2nd).

In 1982, McNally left politics to serve in the Peace Corps. He spent two years directing a smallscale agriculture project in rural Liberia, West Africa. While he worked to promote change, McNally came to understand the daunting challenges faced by the world’s poorest citizens. He witnessed the life-saving potential of appropriate international aid. He also saw aid squandered unacceptably. In Africa, McNally committed himself to making government work better, especially for those most in need. McNally returned to Connecticut and joined the Thames Valley Council for Community Action, working as a program developer. In 1986, McNally announced his candidacy for the Connecticut General Assembly. He waged a successful Democratic Party primary challenge and went on to unseat the Republican incumbent.

McNally was known as a reformer who worked to provide better public service at lower taxpayer cost. He fought for citizens in greatest need while challenging government to live within its means. McNally fought for Connecticut families, supporting increased minimum wages and fair employee notice of plant closings. He voted for one of the first family leave laws in the nation. He played a prominent role in creating the Connecticut Higher Education savings bond program, which helps families better meet the high cost of college. He supported higher educational standards for our schools along with the funding necessary to make a difference.

McNally supported laws to protect our air, water and land, by voting for mandatory recycling, tougher medical waste disposal laws, hazardous waste cleanup and uncompromising health and safety testing of garbage incinerators.

McNally championed an agenda to preserve Connecticut manufacturing jobs. As Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee, McNally led efforts to reinvent the state’s economic development programs, replacing several categorical programs with flexible, customer-oriented state help. He wrote legislation creating the Task Force on Manufacturing and served as vice-chair. He was a member of the Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission, created to strengthen trade relations between to the two nations.

For his work, the Connecticut Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses named McNally a "Guardian of Small Business". He also received endorsements from both the Connecticut AFL-CIO and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

McNally worked hard for seniors, co-sponsoring legislation to expand the state’s prescription drug program, fighting for better long-term and home health care benefits, and working for better senior housing and expanded elderly property tax relief.

McNally was the legislature’s foremost housing expert and a strong advocate for reform. He championed several innovative financing and land use laws, creating new opportunities for affordable housing. He wrote sweeping legislation to improve shelter for homeless families and those at risk of homelessness.

McNally fought for truthful and fiscally responsible budget policies. He uncovered serious waste and mismanagement in state housing programs that led to program reorganization. His "welfare hotel" reforms dramatically expanded housing opportunities for the poor, while saving taxpayers millions of dollars. He led efforts to create the constitutional cap on state spending, believing that government should live within its means. He served as a member of the Harper-Hull Commission to reorganize state government.

Finally, McNally advocated measures protecting civil and human rights. He strongly supported a woman’s right to choose, measures prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and "hate crime" legislation. He supported limiting state investments in companies doing business in apartheid South Africa and Northern Ireland. Shaun was also a member of Connecticut Elected Officials for Soviet Jewry, adopting a refusenik who successfully emigrated to Israel.

In additional to several legislative committees McNally served as Chairman, Planning and Development Committee (1988-90), House Moderate Democratic Caucus (1990-92), Commission to Effect State Government Reorganization (1992). Vice-Chair, Connecticut Task Force on Manufacturing (1989-91), Member, Private Activity Bond Commission (1988-90), Connecticut Film Commission (1988- 90), Connecticut Small Business Advisory Council (1988-90), and the Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission (1989-90).

In a 1987 survey conducted by the New London Day, McNally was rated one of the top freshman legislators. In 1988, he was reelected to a second term with 71 percent of the vote. The New London Day called Shaun McNally "one of the most gifted legislators in the General Assembly." The Norwich Bulletin said, "the district and the state need more like him." McNally said that if reelected, his third term would be his last.

In 1992, McNally left the legislature and moved from Norwich to his current home in Deep River. In 1995, McNally joined the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) where he serves as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Internet Strategist. CBIA advocates for education, transportation, and workplace policies that will improve Connecticut’s economy. It also offers innovative, nationally recognized health insurance programs for small businesses and a wide variety of services for its member companies.

McNally is a member of American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, believing that Israel’s special relationship with America deserves strong support. He is also a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Liberia, and the Deep River Democratic Town Committee. In 1997, Shaun returned to Liberia to serve as an observer in the Presidential election. He was a Board member of Madonna Place and former participant in Norwich Big Brothers-Big Sisters.

McNally is married to Dr. Madeline Wilson, a primary care physician and Assistant Professor at Yale Medical School. Shaun and Maddie met in Liberia, where they both served as Peace Corps Volunteers. Wilson, a native of Holden, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard College, Harvard Medical School and did her residency training at Yale. They married in 1987 and have an amazing eight year-old daughter, Kate.

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