Eunice Groark

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Eunice Groark
Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut
In office
January 9, 1991 – January 4, 1995
Governor Lowell Weicker
Preceded by Joseph Fauliso
Succeeded by Jodi Rell
Personal details
Born Eunice Barnard Strong
(1938-02-01)February 1, 1938
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Died May 8, 2018(2018-05-08) (aged 80)
Bloomfield, Connecticut, U.S.
Political party Republican (Before 1990; 1995–2018)
A Connecticut Party (1990–1995)
Alma mater Bryn Mawr College
University of Connecticut, Hartford

Eunice Barnard Strong Groark (February 1, 1938 – May 8, 2018)[1] was an American politician who became the first elected female lieutenant governor of Connecticut in 1990.[2] Groark ran on a ticket with Lowell Weicker. They were both members of A Connecticut Party. The Weicker/Groark ticket won with 41 percent of the vote.

Biography[edit]

Prior to her election as the 84th Lieutenant Governor, Groark served as Corporation Counsel of the City of Hartford from 1987 to 1990. Before that, she was a Republican member of Hartford's City Council.

When Groark was six, she was trapped in the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire which killed 168 people. Groark, who narrowly escaped with her life, said, even 60 years later, she still could not be in large crowds.[3]

In 1991, Governor Weicker introduced a controversial plan to balance the state budget by implementing an "earned income" tax. When the vote on the plan was tied 18–18 in the state Senate, Groark, as President of the Senate, cast the tie-breaking vote in favor. Groark also broke a Senate tie on the assault-weapons ban proposed by Governor Weicker.[clarification needed]

In 1994, Weicker retired from public office and endorsed Groark for governor on the ACP line, against former Republican congressman John G. Rowland and Democratic state Comptroller Bill Curry. Conservative talk-radio host and former state senator Tom Scott also ran as an independent. Groark picked Commissioner of Social Services Audrey Rowe as her running mate. Rowe was the only African-American candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Connecticut history.[citation needed]

The Groark/Rowe ticket was also Connecticut's only all-female ticket.[citation needed] In Connecticut, the incumbent governor's party is listed on top of the ballot. Despite being far outspent by her rivals, Groark won nearly, but not quite, 20 percent of the vote in a five-way race. Rowland won with 36 percent. Democrat Curry came in second with 33% while anti-income tax, independent-conservative Tom Scott came in fourth with 11%. Another third-party candidate came in last with 1 percent.

Because Groark failed to gain 20 percent of the vote to retain major party status for the ACP, its influence ended in Connecticut politics. Some Democrats blamed Groark for siphoning votes from Curry and throwing the election to Rowland. Jonathan Pelto, a former political director of the Connecticut Democratic Party, told the New York Times (11/10/94) on the other end of the spectrum, had Tom Scott not been on the ballot, it would have been a landslide victory for Rowland. Groark's support was heaviest in suburban and rural towns in northern Connecticut.[citation needed] She died in Bloomfield, Connecticut on May 8, 2018.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Fauliso
Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut
1991–1995
Succeeded by
Jodi Rell