News & Media

Women Candidates In Connecticut Find Solidarity In Private Facebook Group Created To Let Them Share Stories, Receive Support

Hartford Courant

The wave of activism in the age of Trump has resulted in an unprecented surge of Democratic women running for office, in Connecticut and around the nation. Many are first-time candidates who bring a wealth of life experience but lack the political support system that more experienced contenders enjoy. Jillian Gilchrest of West Hartford, who recently defeated a 12-term incumbent to become the Democratic nominee for a West Hartford House seat, created a private Facebook group in February to give women candidates a place to trade stories, express frustrations and receive support from each other.

Ayanna Pressley’s Massachusetts Primary Win Hints at an Exciting 2018 Election Trend

Brit + Co

At the state level, plenty of other progressive women candidates have been quietly following suit, from Jillian Gilchrest in Connecticut to Andrea Romero in New Mexico.

Taxpayers Hit With $879K Cost Of Latest Legislators' Mailings That Critics Call Political

Hartford Courant

On Friday afternoon, after this column was published on, Democratic candidate Jillian Gilchrest of West Hartford said that if she's elected to the 18th District seat in the state House of Representatives in November, she won't send out taxpayer-funded mailers. "It is insane that during our current budget crisis taxpayers are footing the bill for what are essentially campaign style mailers,” Gilchrest said, adding that, if elected, "I pledge not to take advantage of this expensive legislative perk. I would rather continue to go door-to-door and host town halls to update residents about what is going on at the capital." In the Democratic primary, she defeated incumbent Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, who had sent 9,259 mailers to district residents in late June at a cost of $2,029 for postage and $1,021 for printing, according to state records.

Surge Of Women Candidates Challenges Politics As Usual

In the recent primary, Jillian Gilchrest, who bested a 12-term incumbent for the Connecticut 18th House District, said political parties need to be willing to open the door for new leaders. “If we’re going to support female candidates, we need to shift the way we look at incumbency,” Gilchrest said. “Long-standing politicians should be encouraged to continue on within the party in another role, but need to recognize the importance of supporting female candidates.”

Jillian Gilchrest Unseated A 12-Term Incumbent In West Hartford. Here's How She Did It.

Hartford Courant

Forty minutes after polls closed Tuesday night, Gilchrest’s campaign team introduced her as the winner. “We built this team where we learned together,” Gilchrest said on Wednesday, attributing the victory to all those who have supported her the last few months. “We were told we couldn’t and we achieved it. Gilchrest maintained that she’s the people’s candidate — saying she is approachable and wants to hear what residents have to say.

Jillian Gilchrest Beats 12-Term Incumbent Andy Fleischmann For Democratic Nomination

Hartford Courant

Standing in the doorway of a friend’s home on Cumberland Road in West Hartford Tuesday night, two members of Jillian Gilchrest’s campaign introduced her to supporters as the victor in the primary race against 12-term incumbent Andy Fleischmann. “Never doubt that a small group of people can make change,” Gilchrest said to her supporters Tuesday night.

Jillian Gilchrest Wins Democratic Primary Over 12-Term Incumbent Andy Fleischmann

Jillian Gilchrest beat 12-term incumbent Andy Fleischmann in the 18th Connecticut State Assembly District Democratic primary on Tuesday. According to unofficial numbers published by the Secretary of State’s office, there were 1,707 ballots cast for Gilchrest and 1,558 cast for Fleischmann. Gilchrest released a statement to her supporters on her win, and she told her initial emotion was “extreme excitement” and that she was moved by all of the support from the community in West Hartford. “People are ready for a change here,” said Gilchrest. “They want leaders who will take action and I think that’s what got us here.”

Andy Fleischmann, Jillian Gilchrest Battle In A Debate Just Days Before Primary Election For 18th House District

Hartford Courant

Gilchrest came out swinging, saying the state “needs leaders willing to take action” when it comes to the budget and a true champion of legislation. She said she wouldn’t “bury her head in the sand” and would “have the hard conversations” to address the state’s fiscal issues.

Ghost Gun Issue Pushes Its Way Into 2018 Campaign

CT News Junkies

Jillian Gilchrest, Fleischmann’s Democratic primary opponent, said she’s surprised that he would take such an initiative since he didn’t co-sponsor the legislation during the session earlier this year. “I’m surprised that Representative Fleischmann would call his colleagues into a special session — which would cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars, when he didn’t even co-sponsor a bill during the 2018 legislative session to ban ghost guns. This is just one in a long list of examples where Representative Fleischmann missed his opportunity to lead. Voters should see his call for a special session as nothing more than a political ploy at taxpayer expense,” Gilchrest said.

As Aug. 14 Primary Approaches, Andy Fleischmann and Jillian Gilchrest Hit The Campaign Trail In West Hartford

Hartford Courant

Around the neighborhoods in the northeast part of West Hartford that make up the district, Gilchrest’s presence seems to be dominating the outdoor turf, with white “Jillian Gilchrest For State Representative” signs appearing in clusters branching out from her home in the Fern Street area. Gilchrest’s young campaign staff has also made social media a priority, with Facebook and Instagram photos, videos and testimonials from supporters.

Incumbents, Challengers Across Connecticut Prepare For Primary Clashes

Hartford Courant

"Gilchrest, who served two years on the West Hartford school board, said the “unwritten rules” of the Democratic town committee — that people interested in the seat must wait until the incumbent is ready to depart before running — helped ignite her drive to compete."

Letter to the Editor:
Why I Support Jillian Gilchrest as State Representative for the 18th District

"Jillian is also pro-Connecticut, wanting to make structural changes to the way the state budgets, supporting common sense revenue solutions such as tolls and tax reform. And, like all of us, she wants to keep young people in Connecticut and rejuvenate our cities."

Letter to the Editor:
Support for Jillian Gilchrest

"But Jillian Gilchrest has never taken a step back from fighting for the rights of those who have not been afforded such privileges. She has a proven record of working with legislators to help pass laws that make our communities safer. Jillian wrote legislation and advocated for the passage of new state laws to address campus sexual assault and the backlog of rape kits in Connecticut. She is a tireless advocate for victims of human trafficking and proposed policy solutions that resulted in the first conviction for such a crime in Connecticut. Through her experience helping women who are victims of domestic violence, Jillian knows first-hand the importance of keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers."

Why I’m Engaging in Local Politics

"I sleep well at night knowing that what I’m doing every day is helping to ensure my neighbors are represented by Jillian Gilchrest."

From Trauma to Activism:
Former Victim of Sex Trafficking Now Advocates To End It

Hartford Courant

Jillian Gilchrest, who leads the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council and promotes legislation to address sexual exploitation at the state level, said Rozyn has given policymakers a deeper understanding of sex trafficking. “I am in awe of her strength and her resolve,’’ Gilchrest said. “Theresa speaks to give voice to the thousands of children who have yet to be identified who are being sold for sex throughout Connecticut."

Jillian Gilchrest Approved for Public Grant from Connecticut's Citizens' Election Program

Press Release

“Jillian Gilchrest is the first candidate for State Representative in Connecticut’s 18th District to be approved for a Citizens’ Election Fund public grant.”

Jillian Gilchrest Qualifies, Democratic Primary to be Held in West Hartford’s 18th District

“[Voters] want a choice this August and my team and I are happy to give them one. We are excited by the support and to keep building our momentum straight to the polls on Aug. 14!”

West Hartford Registrar: Jillian Gilchrest Gathered Enough Signatures For August Primary

Hartford Courant

“It’s one thing to be talking about something since January, but to have accomplished it with such a great deal of support from people in the community feels really great.”

Jillian Gilchrest Submits 463 Signatures To Petition For Primary Against Andy Fleischmann

Hartford Courant

“We’re feeling great,” Gilchrest, 36, said. “The team put in serious work to get more than the requisite number of signatures. We heard from families and voters across the district that they want change.”

Letter to the Editor:
Democrats Have a Choice this Election, Time for Change at the Capitol

“After months of knocking on doors and engaging with voters, two things are abundantly clear to me: West Hartford residents love our community and we are deeply concerned with the state budget. That’s why I am challenging Andy Fleischmann to a Democratic Primary. After 23 years of Andy as our State Representative, our state is in trouble and we need new leadership. The Democratic Party cannot afford to sit on the sidelines doing the same thing year after year. We need to lead by example.”

As West Hartford Democrats Look At 18th House District Endorsements, Jillian Gilchrest Poised For Primary

Hartford Courant

“I don’t feel like I need to wait in a predetermined line. I think the voters get to decide.”

Letter to the Editor:
A Convention Isn’t a Coronation

“Intentional or not, members of the local DTC are circumventing their own process – and the Democratic Party can do better.”

Time to break Connecticut’s ‘steady habits’ and make some progress

CT Viewpoints

“My campaign against a 23-year incumbent is about breaking with our “steady habits” in order to fix our obvious social and economic problems.”

Jillian Gilchrest Calls For A Clear Process For Reporting & Investigating Complaints Of Sexual Harassment At The Connecticut General Assembly

Press Release

“The CGA must create a culture in which staff and lobbyists feel safe reporting a sexual harassment complaint against a lawmaker, and not like their job or bill will be placed in jeopardy.”

Women’s March 2018 Draws Another 10,000 to Hartford

CT News Junkie

“Not only did women turn out to march Saturday — many of them are now running for office. And in some cases, they’re not waiting their turn to do so.”

Jillian Gilchrest Qualifies for Connecticut's Citizen's Election Program In Just Eleven Days

Press Release

“The support has been incredible,” said Gilchrest. “Voters in West Hartford are looking for a fresh perspective and an elected official who is energized and engaged.”

One Year Later, Another Women's March Planned In Hartford

Hartford Courant

“I think the #MeToo movement is a direct result of the Trump administration and women seeing that when we stand together our voices are heard,”[Gilchrest] said.

West Hartford Resident Jillian Gilchrest Announces Candidacy

“We need commonsense revenue solutions like tolls,” Gilchrest said. Tax relief is also critical, and she said she favors implementing payroll taxes and eliminating the tax on social security. “For so many years we’ve just taken band-aid approaches to the budget,” Gilchrest said. “We need vision and structural change.”

Jillian Gilchrest Kicks Off Campaign For State Representative In The 18th District of West Hartford

Press Release

“We need leaders who are forward thinking and will take action. We need fresh ideas, like tolls and payroll taxes to replace the state income tax. We need leaders who are prepared to make structural changes to the state budget. We need to help West Hartford's seniors by eliminating the tax on Social Security. We need leaders who are as passionate about social justice issues as we are. We need more women in office,” Jillian told the enthusiastic crowd.

Women who marched in Washington hope to sit in Hartford

The CT Mirror

“I think that women saw that in the last election we have a long way to go to achieve true equality,” Gilchrest said. “The march may have been one day, but we have to continue working hard each and every day after that. I think women realized, including myself, the best way to make change is to step up and lead.”