Eunice Groark, the first woman to serve as Connecticut lieutenant governor, passed away at the age of 80.
Groark was an attorney and a Republican member of the Hartford City Council in 1990 when she was recruited by Lowell Weicker to serve as his running mate on an independent line called A Connecticut Party. Groark’s most notable action as lieutenant governor came in 1991 when the state senate deadlocked 18-18 on enacting an implemented an earned tax income as a tool for balancing the state budget – she cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the tax and would later cast another tie-breaking vote in favor of an assault weapons ban.
When Weicker opted not to run for re-election, Groark sought the governor’s office via the A Connecticut Party line, and she made history by selecting Commissioner of Social Services Audrey Rowe as her running mate. Rowe was the first (and, to date, only) African-American to run for lieutenant governor and the Groark-Rowe ticket was the first time two women shared the ticket for the top statewide jobs.
Groark was defeated in the election, placing third in a five-person race that saw U.S. Rep. John Rowland elected, with M. Jodi Rell as his lieutenant governor. Groark never sought elected office again and devoted the remainder of her career to teaching – including a fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Business – writing a column for the Manchester Journal Inquirer and serving as a director on corporate boards including People’s United Bank in Bridgeport.
She was living at a retirement home in Bloomfield at the time of her death