West Hartford native Dallas Dodge, a Democrat, will fill the vacant seat on the West Hartford Town Council when Mayor Scott Slifka officially resigns on May 16.
By Ronni Newton
Dallas Dodge was a student representative to the West Hartford Board of Education in 2001, when Mayor Scott Slifka was first elected to the West Hartford Town Council. On May 16, Dodge will take over the space left vacant on the Town Council when Slifka, West Hartford’s longest serving mayor, steps down.
“I love this town. I’m fourth generation,” said Dodge. His great grandparents, grandparents, and parents are all from West Hartford. He attended Webster Hill Elementary School, Sedgwick Middle School, and graduated from Conard High School in 2002.
Dodge continued his education in Connecticut, graduating from UConn in 2006 and earning his J.D. from the UConn School of Law in 2009.
Dodge was a big fan of West Hartford Public Schools as a student, where he played football and lacrosse, and wrote for the Conard student newspaper. Tom Moore, now superintendent of schools, was one of his teachers.
“It’s important to keep the town affordable and attractive for young families and everybody who lives in town,” Dodge said. Maintaining the schools and focusing on economic development are also key issues that concern him.
“We made a decision to move here for the schools,” said Dodge. He met his wife Jessica, a native of Stamford, while a student at UConn. Dodge clerked after law school for the Honorable Lubbie Harper, Jr. and the Honorable Ellen Burns in New Haven, but said after his clerkship was lucky enough to get an offer from Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford.
Dodge worked as deputy legal counsel for House Speaker Brendan Sharkey from 2013 to 2015, and last August took a position as counsel with the Insurance Association of Connecticut. He has served on the town’s Conservation and Environment Commission since 2012, but will have to resign that position to become a Council member,
“I’m looking forward to giving back to my community. West Hartford is very special, it’s really the best town in Connecticut,” said Dodge. West Hartford Center has changed dramatically, for the better, since he was growing up here and Dodge said it’s important to sustain the economic development.
“One thing that sets us aside is that we’re able to have a moderate and fair mill rate because of the economic development,” he said.
Dodge considered running for office in November, but he and his wife were about to have their second child right around Election Day and he felt it wouldn’t be fair to his family or his fellow Democrats. In addition to his infant daughter, Felicity, Dodge has a 2-year-old son, Dallas IV. He and his family live on Penn Drive.
Dodge feels there are big shoes to fill taking over a position being left vacant by Slifka. “I really look up to Scott. It’s been very impressive what he’s been able to do, his leadership and steady hand.”
Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor, who is likely to be named mayor on May 16 after Slifka’s resignation, has known Dodge for years and he previously served as treasurer for her campaign. “He’s young, smart, and very qualified,” she said.
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