The need to continually evaluate and address the coronavirus pandemic is one of the priorities State Rep. Terrie Wood said she’ll focus on in her campaign for re-election.

Wood announced her intention to run her seventh term for state representative for the 141st district on Tuesday.

Wood spoke about her priorities in a press announcement through a Zoom webinar on Wednesday afternoon. The 141st district covers Darien and Rowayton.

There is currently no Democrat running against Wood. According to Darien DTC Chairman David Bayne, there was a Democratic convention on Monday, according to state party rules. “The convention consisted of delegates from Darien and Norwalk, and no candidate was nominated to run in the 141st district,” Bayne said.

The coronavirus pandemic “is something we’ve never seen before, and we’ll continue to need to navigate that and make sure that people are taken care of,” Wood said.

Additionally, she said she’ll work towards ensuring state funding responsibly addresses the education of pre-K through twelfth graders, “because they’re our future.”

Wood said her priority is to reopen the state and local economies.

“We need to continue to look at ways we can open the economy back up because the devastation that our state and the people in the state will experience without doing that is not going to be good,” she said, adding that she plans to shop downtown Wednesday afternoon wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer.

Finally, she addressed the need to set the state on a path of fiscal sustainability.

“This is an opportunity for us to address our financial situation, our overspending. The people who need the money the most, they’re not seeing that, so we need to re-balance how we spend and what we spend,” she said.

“I know we can accomplish all this by working together and that’s what I’ve done in the past, and I look forward to continuing that,” she added.

Lessons learned

Wood grew up in the west side of Cleveland. She and her husband Jay have been married 46 years and have three children.

“My parents’ foundational lessons to all of us was the importance of integrity, honesty, and personal responsibility,” she said. “It’s just who they were and how they grew up. They were both affected by the depression very much and those were lessons that you don’t forget.”

According to Wood, “listening well” was also a skill that was reinforced often and early in her life.

“My parents practiced it quite well,” she said.

Additionally, she said she was raised with the belief that “we can do anything we wanted to do.”

“Hearing a lot from my parents and parents’ friends was we don’t need government to do for us what we can do for ourselves,” Wood said. “That’s one of the fueling things that keeps me going in Hartford. I see these things happening that we shouldn’t have government be doing.”

Prior accomplishments Wood referenced was founding a nonprofit environmental group, being president of the Darien Land Trust and chairing the referendum to get the new Darien High School built — “the largest voter turnout in a referendum in Darien,” she said.

She also spoke about how raising children has influenced her public life.

“Raising kids serves any legislator well because when you raise kids, they don’t come out with an instruction book and you have to navigate a lot of issues and situations along the way,” Wood said.

She added that two of her children had disabilities, which gave her “an insight into some of the things we could be doing educationally,” she said. “Our daughter is dyslexic and I’ve worked on a lot of legislation around dyslexia.”

Fiscal responsibility

Wood said there are many positives about Connecticut but said “we’re not in good shape and we all know that.”

“The state has been fiscally mismanaged,” she said, adding she believes strongly in fiscal responsibility and supports individual choice on social issues.

On the government side, she said the “top down heavy handed government” is the “ruling mantra in Hartford these days, and it’s simply is not effective, it’s not working, it doesn’t respect the individual,” she said, adding that the school regionalization proposal is an example of that.

“It’s not what this country was founded on,” she said.

Wood said that as state representative, she has a “deep passion to continue that voice of moderation, practicality and respect for the individual.”

Support for Wood

Several local Republican officials joined Wood on the Zoom call.

Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said she’s pleased that Wood is “willing to throw her hat back in the ring for another term up in Hartford.”

“I really couldn’t do my job without her on a day to day basis as Darien’s first selectman,” Stevenson said. “Terrie’s ability to bring people together to solve problems on the behalf of our community, the Norwalk community, and the state in general, is unique among her peers. I’m so thrilled that she’s willing to stay up there and fight for the needs of our town and our state.”

Carl Dickens, Republican Town Committee Chairman in Norwalk, said the timing of Wood’s announcement is “perfect” since it is being made on the “rebirth of Connecticut,” the day that many of the retail businesses are reopening.

“There’s never been a time in our history and particularly in the state, for firm leadership, leadership with a clear head, a clear heart, clear mind, is needed,” Dickens said. “You’re that candidate.”

Alex Davidson, RTC chairman in Darien, said Wood enjoys “well deserved popularity” and “bipartisan support” from Darien voters “because she’s proven time and again that she cares about the well being of her constituents, about Darien and the great state of Connecticut.”

Davidson continued, saying if there were more representatives like in Hartford with Wood’s “integrity, compassion and competency, our state would not been a fiscal disaster going into a global pandemic and we would have been better prepared to weather the resulting shutdown.”

“In these times of troubles, we in Connecticut must come together to make tough decisions to position our state for success rather than failure,” Davidson said. “Terrie personifies this sort of prudent, thoughtful, inclusive leadership that we need now.”

Tammy Langalis, Commissioner Sixth Taxing District city of Norwalk, said Wood is always working towards “a solution for everybody and in a non-partisen way, and I think that’s really important for the current political times that we’re in.”

sfox@darientimes.com