Chapter Executive Committee Election

Terms: 2 year terms 2023-2024

2022 Chapter Candidates

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Kate Donnelly

Kate Donnelly is a life-long grassroots activist for peace and social justice. Her environmental awareness began at the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. She participated in many campaigns over the years from the anti-nuclear power movement to the recent campaign against the Killingly fracked gas power plant.  She organizes, lobbies, educates, and participates in nonviolent civil disobedience including against the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. She is co-founder and chair of the Hampton Green Energy Committee which is working to make Hampton 100% renewable energy. Her efforts include energy efficiency campaigns for residents and town buildings, and putting solar panels on roofs. 

Kate has been a partner in Donnelly/Colt Progressive Resources for 47 years, providing the movement with organizing materials such as buttons, posters, and stickers. She was First Selectman in Hampton, worked as an organizer for Neighbor to Neighbor and Solarize CT campaigns. She lives in Hampton and has three adult children. Kate is a member of the Windham/Willimantic NAACP Environmental Justice Committee, and No More Dirty Power in Killingly. She believes that intersectional organizing is the only way to guarantee a future for our environment and for a peaceful and just society for all.

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Arthur Helmus

Arthur is a lawyer and currently develops commercial, industrial and utility scale solar power projects in four states. Prior to that, he served as a 2nd Vice President in the insurance industry and as corporate counsel where he led teams responsible for remediating hundreds of pollution sites across the United States. Art has served as Chair of the CT Chapter Sierra Club Legislative Committee for the past two years and also serves on the Political Committee. As a renewable energy professional and legislative activist, Art has lobbied the Connecticut Legislature, submitted expert testimony on behalf of the Chapter, and has given presentations to industry groups on the need to improve the collaborative relationship between industry and environmentalists. He seeks to apply his skills earned through his MBA and Masters Degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management to enhance the effectiveness of the Sierra Club's initiatives. Art's knowledge and background will contribute significantly to the Chapter's brain trust. 

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Roxanne Lapierre

I joined the Connecticut Sierra Club Communications Committee in 2017. Since then, I primarily work on communications for the Chapter, including the website, social media and the newsletter, and have also been involved in data base development. I support the work of the Chapter Director by helping with social media and other tasks. I feel working on the website provides the best opportunity for my skills and talents to benefit the Chapter. I'm a millennial, a digital native, and am deeply committed to the Sierra Club mission. I'm very eager to join the ExCom this coming year! When not working for the Sierra Club, I work full time as a Registered Nurse. In my free time I enjoy the outdoors by biking and hiking.

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Adam Wood

Adam Wood served on Governor Ned Lamont's transition committee. He has worked in the past as Chief of Staff of the New York State Thruway
Authority (overseeing the country's largest public infrastructure
project – construction of the new Tappan Zee "Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge") and the City of Bridgeport (Connecticut's largest city). He also worked as Director of the Connecticut State Democratic Party,
State Senate spokesman, senior advisor, strategist, and campaign
manager for numerous statewide campaigns, including Governor Ned
Lamont's. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Haverford
College, an MBA from the State University of New York, and a Master's
Degree in International Business and Policy from Georgetown
University.

Adam has strong relationships with tri-state area public officials,
policymakers, reporters, and key constituency groups across the
region. He also has over 20 years of experience in conducting
successful media advocacy campaigns and government relations, working for clients including the Pew Charitable Trusts, TESLA, Anbaric Wind, and Madison Square Garden Sports Corporation. Most recently, he led the successful effort to legalize Marijuana in the region and an
advocacy campaign that led to two major environmental wins, the
Connecticut Clean Air Act and Senate Bill 10, which set a zero carbon
target of 2040 for all electricity supplied to Connecticut customers.

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John Pilgrim

Backcountry camping devotee turned environmentalist, John meshes a passion for data with the outdoors. He discovered the Sierra Club in 2020 after driving after wedge between himself and most of his friends and family over sustained discussion of environmental inadequacy. What John lacks in experience he makes up for in his fervent and detail oriented nature.

 

Since finding his family, John has been involved in various initiatives such as air quality research while supporting core IT tenets of the club through the Communications team. He intends to expand out into the strategic side of the club by getting involved in the CT Executive Committee. When he’s not out hugging trees, John can be found throughout Hartford country driving the speed limit on his growing collection of electric PEVs.

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Dani Scott

Dani Scott has worked for the liberation of all beings for many years as a volunteer with Friends of the Earth, 350.org, Environmental Voter Project, and Sierra Club, and as a long-time meditator and anti-oppression activist. She currently works at Copper Beech Institute as the Director of Integrity & Growth, coordinating all of the organization’s work at the intersection of social justice and contemplative practice. Dani is a hiker, gardener, voracious reader, and a peaceful warrior.

Shoreline Group Candidates

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Jeff Gross

Jeff has been involved in sustainable advocacy since his college years - sometimes working within organizations like Sierra Club (and sometimes ... just working disorganized.)  There is a lot of energy in the Shoreline towns for green policies and we can amplify everyone's efforts by collaboration and cross participation.

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Richard Melchreit

Richard Melchreit has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1989. His interests and priorities include the climate and ecological crisis; habitat protection; and conservation, propagation, and landscaping with native plants. He feels that the environmental community needs to continue to foster our collaborations with youth to promote social and environmental justice and fight against climate and ecological breakdown. As a public health official and physician for over 30 years working in the infectious disease section of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, he is acutely aware of the importance of environmental protection and our connection to nature to promote human health and well-being as we are inextricably entwined with the biosphere and cannot survive (or would want to survive) without it.

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Susan Petit

I have served on the Sierra Club Shoreline Group Excomm and the Connecticut Chapter Political Committee helping to conduct interviews for candidates looking for endorsement.  This has meant a great deal to me, especially in this current atmosphere of political chaos.  Much time in recent years has also been devoted to Africa in terms of wildlife research and conservation, where I hope to contribute more.  When home I am also involved with conservation projects, land trust, and Audubon Society.

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Heather Soroko

As a lifelong resident of southern Connecticut, I am committed to participation in and engagement with others to improve the health and safety of where we live. I was raised by parents that valued the environment as something to protect, and as a place that provided enjoyment, teaching, solace and hope. My goal is that Connecticut become a model for other states in combating climate change, improving inequities, and promoting a symbiotic relationship with all creatures. As a nurse for over 30 years, with a master’s degree in Public Health, I am interested in transforming public health
concepts to include environmental health through education and advocacy. While completing my degree I had the opportunity to work with a local health department. This work, performing water
quality testing along the shoreline, was supported by a federal program to ensure the health of the waters and aquaculture surrounding the Thimble Islands. This experience further confirmed my desire to endeavor to be of service in helping to heal the earth.

Hartford Group Candidates

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Christine Feely

I inherited my love of gardening and hiking and a concern for the environment from my mother, a high school biology teacher who talked about biodiversity long before I remember seeing the word in common use. I joined the Sierra Club in the St. Louis, Missouri area, where I lived for a long time, to support environmental actions. When my husband and I moved to Connecticut in 2016, I started attending the monthly Greater Hartford Sierra Club meetings at Westmoor Park, within walking distance of where we lived. In 2018, I got involved in the West Hartford campaign for 100% clean and renewable energy. It has been interesting and rewarding to work with this group get the town to adopt the campaign’s goals and on reducing the use of fossil fuels in many ways, including home energy efficiency, electrification of home energy, town adoption of additional clean energy projects such as solar canopies, more electric vehicles (I drive a Nissan LEAF) and ebikes, replacing (mostly) gas-powered lawn care equipment with electric equipment, raking or leaving the leaves instead of blowing them, and replacing grassy areas

wherever possible (spaces that exist only for the purpose of being mowed) with native trees, bushes, and flowers. Reducing fossil fuel use in personal cars, trucks, school buses, and lawn care equipment are all environmental justice issues because areas where people of color live and work often have higher concentrations of air pollution and because, in the case of lawn care services, the workers, who are often people of color, experience the worst of the air and noise pollution.

 

I retired as a medical writer a year ago (end of October 2021) and now have more time to work on the projects listed above and Sierra Club advocacy actions, including demonstrations at the Capitol for legislation. I have attended the West Hartford Conservation and Environment Commission meetings since the beginning of this year and have advocated for the switch from gas-powered to electric lawn care equipment. In response to a commission decision to ask residents for input on projects, I proposed that the commission work with relevant groups of residents on plans to: 1) reduce energy use for mowing municipal grassy areas by replacing those areas wherever possible with environmentally sound uses, specifically native trees, bushes, and flowers; and 2) use the converted areas as models for residents to replace parts of their own property in the same manner. In October, the commission decided to develop a plan under the leadership of a commission member who is active in Pollinator Pathway projects. I will continue to support those efforts.

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Sam Lewbel

An Eagle Scout, Sam first became interested in the environment when he attended Scout Camp way back in the 1960s. Growing up in the city, this experience began a lifelong love of the outdoors. An author, runner, hiker, Prius owner, retired teacher, and grandfather, Sam is interested in protecting the environment and creating a more equitable world for his grandchildren.

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Steve Olshewski

I joined the Sierra Club in the late 1980's, and became active in the Greater Hartford Group in the early 90's, as I wanted to help protect this beautiful planet of ours. I was especially concerned about attempts to weaken and repeal our bedrock environmental laws, such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; as well as attempts to open up our National Parks to industrial use,  such as oil and gas drilling. Unfortunately, threats to our environment have continued unabated as there are those who still wish to pollute, destroy and overheat our precious planet.