Jane Glover, 'trailblazer' in New London politics, dies

Jane Glover, then chief administrative officer for New London, is seen in this Feb. 24, 2012, file photo. (Tim Cook/The Day)
Jane Glover, then chief administrative officer for New London, is seen in this Feb. 24, 2012, file photo. (Tim Cook/The Day)

New London — Jane Louise Glover, who served three times as New London's ceremonial mayor and later as chief administrative officer for the city's first elected mayor in almost a century, died Saturday at age 71. 

Glover was remembered by city leaders this week for her political acumen and efforts to improve the lot of all city residents.

"She was a remarkable public servant and political leader in the city and certainly a role model for those of us who came after her," said Mayor Michael Passero. "She was a trailblazer."

Glover, a Nebraska native and longtime New London resident, served on the City Council and Board of Education and founded the Kente Cultural Center in 1997. She worked as a children's librarian as well as a media specialist in New London schools and was president of the Connecticut Education Association.

Glover served as the chief administrative officer for former Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, who became in 2011 New London's first elected mayor in 90 years.  

Finizio said he was very grateful for Glover's guidance as the new form of government was taking shape, and he doesn't think the transition would have been possible without her. When he became mayor, Finizio said, he hadn't lived in the city for long and didn't have the established relationships in the community that Glover did, and she "helped bridge the divide." 

"My work with Jane taught me she was someone extremely dedicated to the city and extremely learned in public administration and public affairs," Finizio said. "She had a real love for it."

Finizio said Glover was instrumental in a lot of the compromise and forward movement that started then and continues today, and her contributions to the city are visible on initiatives, from the magnet school transition to the Coast Guard Museum project.

Kevin Cavanagh, former chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, mayor, and Board of Education member, who worked with Glover on the City Council, said Glover was dedicated to the city and always looked to see how they could improve the lot of everybody in the city.

The Rev. Wade Hyslop, pastor of Trinity Missionary Baptist church who served as state representative from the 39th district for 14 years, praised Glover's "political acumen" and said she ran seven successful campaigns for him.

He recalled that when he ran in the Democratic primary for state representative in 1990, people called him and his campaign staff "neophytes" and said there was no way they could win. But Glover, who had worked on the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign and became Hyslop's campaign manager, took a group new to politics and "made us winners," he said.

Hyslop also said Glover was passionate about bringing exposure of the arts and culture to children of color, and to all children, a dream she fulfilled by founding the Kente Cultural Center, which operated for more than 15 years. He said she loved working with youths and served in their church in various capacities, including as president of the missionary department, where she reached out to make sure people had food or if she could assist them with finding shelter.

"You could not come in her presence and not feel the love coming from her," he said. "She had a genuine concern for people and a genuine concern for the quality of life for people."

"She was the person who was willing to do what she can for any and all — for anyone who came into contact with her," he added.

Glover concluded her inaugural address as mayor in 1993 by celebrating that the community recognized the diversity and individuality of its residents.

"I am simply one among many," she said. "The appearance of a black woman mayor is not remarkable in New London, which is a credit to you, the citizens. You have recognized that this city is a community. We in this city, this community, have looked past the superficiality of color, ethnic origin, gender. We have built a city which has flourished in the past and is on the threshold of a new age of vigor and commitment."

k.drelich@theday.com

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