State Representative DebraLee Hovey is a conscientious legislator who takes pride in her commitment to constituent service, her role as a voice for the towns of Monroe and Newtown at the State Capitol and her work on behalf of policies that encourage economic growth and job creation in Connecticut. She was elected to her sixth term in November 2012.
Rep. Hovey is employed as an educational consultant, balancing her practice with public office. Recognizing her leadership qualities and record of achievements, House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero, R-142nd District, appointed Rep. Hovey as an Assistant Minority Leader for the 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2013-2014 legislative sessions. In this role, Rep. Hovey helps formulate Caucus’ positions and policy.
She also serves on the legislature’s Judiciary, Transportation and Public Health Committees and is chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Caucus. Rep. Hovey is former Ranking Member (House Republican Leader) of the Legislature’s Select Committee on Children, and former member of the Appropriations Committee and Judiciary Committee-two of the Legislature’s busiest committees. In fact, according to a 2006 report from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research (OLR), the top-ranked committees in activity the previous year were: (1) Judiciary, (2) Appropriations, (3) Environment, (3) Energy and Technology and (4) Labor and Public Employees.
In 2007, Governor M. Jodi Rell appointed Representative Hovey to the state’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJACA). In addition, she has been appointed to serve concurrently as Connecticut ’s representative to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ). The state JJAC is a Governor-appointed committee that oversees federal funding for youth development programs under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act in Connecticut. JJAC was established under this federal legislation in 1974 and advises the Governor and the Office of Policy and Management on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention issues.
The FACJJ is a consultative body composed of appointed representatives of the nation’s State Advisory Groups that advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice and evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects.
Rep. Hovey was a member of the national Women in Government organization and served on the board for 10 years, where she has also held several leadership positions. Women In Government is a national non-profit, bi-partisan organization of women state legislators providing leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues. It was founded in 1988 for elected women in state government and provides a neutral platform for bringing women policymakers together to share information and seek solutions to timely issues before federal, state and local governments. Presently, she serves as a state director.
The Girl Scouts of the Housatonic Council Inc. named Representative Hovey a 2007 Woman of Distinction. The honor recognizes women who serve their community and provide positive role models for girls.
As an active member of the Fairfield County legislative delegation, Representative Hovey played a major role in securing additional funding for the purchase of more railcars for Metro North.
Representative Hovey formerly served as a member of the state Advisory Council for Special Education and the Milford Rape Crisis Center ’s Board of Directors. She now serves on the Newtown Bridle Lands Alliance.
She also serves as state co-chair for the American Legislative Exchange Alliance (ALEC).
She is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Council for Exceptional Children, the Association of Educational and Psychological Consultants and the Endangered Lands Coalition.
She was the co-founder of CECDLD in New Hampshire and is listed in the Who’s Who Registry of Rising Young Americans. Representative Hovey, who was born in Houlton , Maine, was active in politics and civic groups in the state for several years.
She was the vice chairperson and chief negotiator for the Freeport School Board and a member of the Board of Directors of the Preble Street Resource Center for the Homeless. She also was active with the Junior League of Portland, Maine and Junior League of Fairfield County.
Rep. Hovey, an accomplished equestrian, is married to Paul J. Balsano, a Bridgeport firefighter. They have a blended family with her son Christopher, and his daughters Ashley and Jessica.