Ellen Camhi, former Stamford Democratic City Committee Chairwoman, passed away Tuesday. She was 73.
On Friday, February 25, 2011, Governor Dannel P. Malloy appointed Camhi to serve as a member of the State Board of Education. Camhi began her career in the field of public education as an elementary school teacher in New York and Connecticut.
On Tuesday afternoon, Malloy this afternoon released this statement on Camhi's passing:
"Ellen Camhi was a dear friend of mine who tirelessly dedicated herself to her community and to public service. She had charisma and was a passionate leader with character and vision," Malloy said. "Her impact was profound – she served as a mentor to me and inspired my career in public service, in addition to that of Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald, Attorney General George Jepsen and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, along with countless others. There’s no doubt that she will be missed by many. Cathy and I send our heartfelt condolences to her family and all of her friends in the Stamford community.”
Camhi became active in Stamford politics in 1970, when drafted by a group of community parents to run for the Stamford Board of Education. She was elected to four terms on that Board including a term of President. Following the school board, in 1983 Camhi was elected as chair of the Stamford Democratic City Committee, a position she has held for 28 years.
Camhi united the party, grew its membership and assembled a formidable political organization that won innumerable elections. She promoted the careers of an impressive array of political figures, culminating with the 2010 election of former Stamford Mayor Dannel P. Malloy as governor, former Stamford State Senator Richard Blumenthal as United States Senator, and former Stamford State Senator George Jepsen as attorney general.
Andrew McDonald, the former state senator from Stamford, was appointed as counsel to Malloy and saw longtime Democratic State Legislator, Carlo Leone, elected to the state Senate.
"She's a legend around here, she's the one who put the party together in the 60s and 70s. She took over the Democratic party and it completely changed the city of Stamford," said John Mallozzi, current chairman of the Stamford DCC. "She molded a number of young up-and-comers into leaders. She's someone who really helped shape Stamford in that way. I will miss her. She's done a great number of things for the city and the party."
Mallozzi said strong educational institutions in Stamford were always something which Camhi considered a priority. He said she supported strong schools, which would lead to a strong work force and a strong society.
"Ellen was always a lot of fun but she was also a true leader," Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said. "What I really admired about her was that she spoke up for what she believed in and she truly cared about people – especially her family."