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Republican Holly Cheeseman and Democrat Cate Steel endorsed for 37th House District

Democratic delegates of the 37th House District unanimously endorsed candidate Cate Steel to run as state representative at a virtual convention earlier this week. Steel will run against incumbent state Rep. Holly Cheeseman, who was unanimously endorsed by Republican delegates this week to run for her third term.

Salem Selectman Hugh McKenney, who also was seeking the Democratic endorsement, dropped out of the race earlier this year, East Lyme Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Beth Hogan said by phone Thursday. The 37th House District encompasses East Lyme and Salem.

In a news release sent to The Day this week, Cheeseman said, “I am honored by the immense support I’ve received this evening from the delegates in East Lyme and Salem. In these tough and uncertain times, I am proud to be the voice of our community and to advocate for our platform to help small businesses thrive, lower prescription drug costs and address the real and urgent concerns of mental health in our community.”

Cheeseman was elected to serve the 37th District in November 2016 and reelected in November 2018. She currently serves on the General Assembly's Finance, Revenue & Bonding and Energy & Technology committees and as ranking member on the General Law Committee.

A New London native, Cheeseman has been a resident of East Lyme for 25 years. She currently works as the executive director for the Southeastern Connecticut Children’s Museum.

Steel, a newly elected East Lyme Board of Education member, has told The Day her platform will be based around state budgeting resolutions, supporting veterans and “improving the quality of education and the quality of life from early childhood through retirement,” among other points.

As a retired speech pathologist, Steel said she has worked with students from 3 years of age through high school over the duration of her 35-year career and has continued to teach improvisation classes in the Norwich school system since retiring. She also frequently works with seniors, while also serving as board president of two area nonprofits: the Norwich-based Artreach and the New London-based Connecticut Storytelling Center.

In a news release this week, Steel said she was “really, really excited about this opportunity.”

“This culminates my career in public education and (is) a great chance to help provide our district with a stronger voice in Hartford,” she said.

m.biekert@theday.com

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