Image courtesy of Library of CongressElla Grasso of Connecticut served only two terms in the House of Representatives before becoming one of the first female governors in the United States.
On this date, Connecticut Representative Ella Grasso was born. A veteran of Connecticut state politics, Grasso served in the leadership in the state house of representatives and as Connecticut secretary of state. Elected to the 92nd and 93rd Congresses (1971–1975), the Congresswoman supported the Equal Rights Amendment and authored amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The most important accomplishment of her two terms came with her part in drafting the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, which provided relief to workers in her economically distressed district. Grasso also challenged the House’s tenure-based committee system, arguing that it should be reformed so that chairs were chosen “on the basis of intelligence and leadership.” Grasso explained that the party would best be served by permitting “all the qualities of intelligence and vigor in the House Democratic membership to have full effect.” Questioned about her decision not to seek re-election to a third term, Grasso remarked, “I can be a gadfly here. But you can’t make a long-term career out of Congress at age fifty.” In 1974, Grasso sought and won election as governor of Connecticut.