HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A key figure in Connecticut’s political history is now a member of the centenarian club. Antonina “Ann” Uccello was born on May 19, 1922, in Hartford, the city she would one day lead as its mayor.
At the state Capitol Thursday, supporters celebrated her birthday and honored her for paving the way for so many other women, like Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
”Today, we hosted a 100th birthday party for Ann Uccello, who made history when she was the first woman mayor elected in Connecticut, and she also became the first woman mayor of a capital city anywhere in the country,” Bysiewicz said.
The year was 1967, and given the tumultuous times in America, it was very difficult for any mayor, let alone with such a trailblazer. Is there something she’d like people to remember her by?
“There’s been enough written already,” Uccello said.
She may not have wanted to talk about herself, but the lieutenant governor was more than happy to.
“It is amazing what she accomplished at a time when being in politics was very difficult for women,” Bysiewicz said. “Not only was she mayor of Hartford, but she was also in a top department of transportation post during the Nixon presidency. So, she’s really achieved at very high levels and been a role model for so many of us in Connecticut but also around the country.”
Uccello’s parents came to the United States from Italy. They saw their second of five daughters graduate with honors from Weaver High School and St. Joseph College. An interest in politics led Uccello to pursue graduate work at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut Law school.
A Republican, Uccello was reelected in 1969 and lost a race for congress in 1970 in the heavily Democratic first district. In addition to working for former President Richard Nixon’s administration, she also served under former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
When asked if she had any tips for anyone getting to 100, Uccello showed she still has her good fastball.
“I kept them to myself.”