Diane Farrell

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Diane Farrell
Personal details
Born (1955-08-10) August 10, 1955 (age 61)
New Rochelle, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Winslow Farrell Jr.
Children Two daughters
Residence Westport, Connecticut
Religion Congregationalist
Website Farrell for Congress

Diane Farrell (born August 10, 1955) is an American politician who was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Connecticut's 4th congressional district in 2004 and 2006.

She was appointed by Pres. George W. Bush to become a member of the Board of Directors of the Export Import Bank of the U.S. and confirmed by the United States Senate on August 1, 2007 for a term ending on January 20, 2011.[1]

Farrell is a former elementary school teacher who later worked in the advertising industry and first became engaged in school politics when her children entered the public schools in Westport, Connecticut.[2] Prior to running for elective office, she attended the Women's Campaign School at Yale University.[3]

Personal data[edit]

A native of New Rochelle, New York, Diane Catherine Goss was three years old when her family moved to Westport in 1958. She graduated from Massachusetts' Wheaton College with a major in American Government and a minor in elementary education in 1977. In 1978, she married Karr Winslow Farrell, Jr. They have two daughters, Hilary (born 1983) and Margaret (born 1986).

Political career[edit]

Diane Farrell served two terms as Westport's First Selectwoman, a position equivalent to that of Mayor. She was first elected in 1997 with 59% of the vote[2] and was reelected, with 70% of the vote, in 2001.[4] Farrell's campaign website says she was elected to office on both occasions with the support not only of her fellow Democrats, but also a significant group of independents and Republicans.[2] In 2002, she was elected chair of Fairfield County's South Western Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is responsible for managing development and sprawl.[5]

Town administration[edit]

Under Farrell's administration, Westport invested in new schools and a new senior center,[6] but according to The Westport News, during the same period it also had the highest tax rate in the state of Connecticut.[7] The New York Times reported that Shays faulted Farrell for allowing Westport's property taxes to double in seven years. Farrell said that the town had the eighth lowest property tax rate in Connecticut, with "a lot to show for that money in the form of new schools and a new senior center".[6] During her term, the town's real property revaluation (required by Connecticut law) had to be postponed due to a six-year backlog in assessments.[8][9][10]

Congressional campaigns[edit]


Farrell announced that she would challenge 17-year incumbent Republican Christopher Shays for the representation of Connecticut's fourth congressional district. Farrell's campaign received much less national attention than that concentrated on Melissa Bean's campaign to unseat House Dean Phil Crane. Though her campaign was arguably aggressive, she lost the seat by about four percent. However, she was widely regarded as having made considerable progress, as she won towns beside traditionally Democratic blue-collar Bridgeport. She also barely won her home town of Westport, as well as Stamford and Norwalk, but was narrowly defeated in several others.

Diane Farrell decided against running again for the post of First Selectwoman of the Town of Westport, and filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission to raise funds for a 2006 congressional run.


On November 7, 2006, incumbent Representative Christopher Shays defeated Diane Farrell by a margin of approximately 3%. The final tally was 106,558 (51%) for Shays, 99,993 (48%) for Farrell. This was comparable to the result in 2004, when Farrell also received 48% of the vote.[11]

Awards received[edit]

  • 2004 Woodlands Coalition Environmental Gold Award
  • 2003 Upper Fairfield Country Distinguished Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League
  • 2003 Paul Harris Fellowship Award from Westport Sunrise Rotary
  • An award from the Leadership American Program
  • From the Foundation for Women's Resources
  • From the American Association of Advertising Agencies
  • From the University of Southern California Business School

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.exim.gov/about/leadership/dianefarrell.cfm
  2. ^ a b c Farrell for Congress. About Diane Farrell. Retrieved on October 9, 2006.
  3. ^ Project VoteSmart. Diane G. Farrell (CT). Retrieved October 10, 2006
  4. ^ Town of Westport. Election Results. November, 2001. Retrieved October 9, 2006
  5. ^ Town of Westport. Selectwoman's Office/Biography at the Wayback Machine (archived October 18, 2004). Retrieved October 10, 2006.
  6. ^ a b Cowan, Alison Leigh. Using Iraq, a Challenger from Westport has a Washington veteran on the defensive. The New York Times October 10, 2004.
  7. ^ Casciato, Don. Farrell and Shays Duel Over Iraq, Rumsfeld. Westport News October 6, 2006.
  8. ^ Cleanup of Westport Permit Backlog to Begin Monday. WestportNow.com March 26, 2004. Retrieved October 9, 2005.
  9. ^ RTM Okays Reval Postponement; Farrell Promises Independent Assessor Audit. WestportNow.com June 1, 2004. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  10. ^ Westport Collects $884,600 in Back Taxes. WestportNow.com December 16, 2004. Retrieved October 11, 2006.
  11. ^ Election Results. CNN November, 2004. Retrieved October 9, 2006.

External links[edit]