Spotlight Feature Series: Meet Tara Donnelly Gottlieb, Candidate for Board of Finance in Easton, CT

Why do you believe that you are a good fit for this role?

Everyday, I work with individuals from every walk of life to find resolutions to complex financial challenges. In Easton, I would do so by listening to our residents to ensure that our solutions echo our values. As a real estate executive, I understand what drives home values and know how to preserve and grow that value. As a CPA, I understand the need for revenue generation, and I truly believe that we can work together for the benefit of our town and to preserve its charm while tackling this issue. As a mom, I understand the importance of a high quality education. After all, my husband and I chose to raise our family in Easton because of the amazing schools. I have a vested interest in the future of Easton.

Why did you decide to run for Board of Finance and why now?

My career in finance was a well thought out path. I majored in Accounting, earned an MBA in Finance and became a CPA. As my career progressed, I fell in love with the real estate industry. So much so that I went back to school and earned a Masters in Real Estate from NYU while working full time. This part of my life has more or less made sense.

Advocacy and politics is not a path I planned to find myself on. I grew up in Bridgeport, the third generation in my family to do so, with all of my great grandparents having been born in Ireland. My parents owned an Irish family jewelry store. They were hard working, simple, and perhaps two of the kindest people I’ve ever known. In 2005, I had just graduated from Fairfield University and moved to NYC, when I received the phone call that would forever change my life. Our family store in Fairfield had been robbed. Upon arriving at Bridgeport Hospital, I would learn that during the robbery, both of my parents had been shot multiple times. Neither survived.

The years that followed were challenging – processing grief while navigating New York City on my own as a young professional. It was not an easy time. I am very grateful for wonderful family and friends that provided so much support. As the culture in our country began to change and reports of shooting deaths became more and more common, my first reaction would always be a feeling of heartbreak, understanding in a way that only a survivor can, the pain that the victim’s family would endure. I would then find myself wondering, why isn’t anyone doing anything about this? Eventually asking myself – what am I doing about this? It was not long after that I became a volunteer for Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. I became the local Survivor Member lead and eventually a National Fellow for Everytown for Gun Safety. In this role, I share my story as a gun violence survivor to ensure that others receive the emotional, financial, and legal education and resources that they need to help improve their lives and futures. My volunteer work has direct and positive impact in the lives of others. I understand the importance of giving back and I am excited to blend my extensive experience in finance and giving back to Easton, the town that I love.

In this video taken in September, I addressed the crowd at a recent Senate Recess Rally held in New Haven, to urge Congress to act on gun safety legislation.

I want to be someone whom you can have open and honest discussions, and feel comfortable having the hard conversations too. Conversations that we’ll encounter as we try to move our town forward in the months and years ahead.

We can’t find solutions to these local and national problems that we are facing, unless we are willing to meet in that place of discomfort and work together – in unity – towards our goals.

What is something that others might not know about you?

I grew up in a running family. I competed in my first 4 mile road race at the age of 8. The sport was an enormous part of my upbringing. Starting at such a young age, it became a way of life. On vacation? Explore the town on a jog. Need to chat with dad? Throw on some sneakers and head out for a run together. It was not something I thought much about doing, I just did. After running cross country in both high school and college, I tackled my first marathon while living in New York City. During training for my second marathon (San Francisco), I suffered a knee injury that would set me back, a lot. Moving on from long distance running was not a welcome change, but I had no choice. Around the same time, I met my now husband. He is an avid skier. I had skied once, ever. Learning how to ski after 30 is not the most common or ideal time to learn. I spent the better part of the first two winters terrified, lots of children zooming by me, and just trying not to fall (because getting up could take awhile). After many, many hours and lessons, there was a point that it clicked. I went from fear, to sort of enjoying it, to loving it. I’ve worked my way up to handling the slopes in Vermont as well as out west and I’m very glad I stuck with it. My favorite part now is watching my fearless, young, daughter speed down the bunny hill. I’m savoring these years, as I know it won’t be long before I can no longer keep up with her!

Thank you to my family and friends for supporting my efforts to run for the Board of Finance in Easton. I have enjoyed connecting with so many of our neighbors already, and if any of you would like to support my campaign — I need volunteers to display lawn signs in Easton! Please email Devon and I at: EastonDemsBOF@gmail.com with your name and street address and we’ll get them to you ASAP! Also, check out a sneak peek of the blue and white sign design below and if you’d like to support my campaign I’d appreciate any donations to help offset costs as well. I look forward to meeting you all and serving our great community. 

I'm a CPA, financial executive, advocate, and mother of two, and I am committed to securing a for Easton.

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