Veteran. Mother. Leader.
“Communities are about taking care of our family, our friends, and our neighbors. We are all in this together, and it is our progress as a community that I am passionate about.”
– Cathy Osten
Like many of us in Eastern Connecticut, Cathy Osten considers herself a “local.” A longtime resident of Sprague, Cathy’s passion for her neighbors and the community led her to stand up for the people in public office as Sprague’s first female selectman. As a continual advocate for those around her, Cathy’s record of standing up for others did not start with running for office…
Graduating from the Norwich Free Academy in 1973, Cathy heeded the nation’s call for volunteers during the Vietnam era by enlisting in the United States Army. After several months in the United States, she shipped out to Japan as a translator interpreter in Chinese Mandarin. After four years of active duty, Sergeant Osten returned to the United States, taking up residence in Norwich and attending Mohegan Community College. In line with her no-nonsense work ethic and rough-around-the-edges style, Cathy joined the Connecticut Department of Corrections serving as an officer and lieutenant. For 21 years, Cathy experienced first-hand the issues surrounding our prison system, public employees, pension disputes, and women’s rights in the workplace.
In 2003, following a string of harassment cases against women, stemming from inside the CT Corrections system, Cathy joined together with other female corrections officers to protest the treatment of women in the workplace. Bringing this fight to the Capitol, Cathy was able to hold the Department of Corrections accountable for pervasive sexual harassment. Understanding the need for more progress in the workplace, her organizing did not stop there. Cathy assisted in the passage of laws necessary to allow corrections supervisors the right to organize and was elected to be the President of the Corrections Supervisors’ Council of CSEA/SEIU 2001. Cathy worked tirelessly to directly represent more than 600 professionals in the Connecticut Department of Corrections. Advocating for workplace rights, senior citizens, and pensions, Cathy made a name for herself as a fighter for those in need. As an active Democrat, it was only a matter of time before she brought her advocacy into the public arena.
Pledging to continue her record of advocacy in public office, Cathy Osten ran and won Sprague’s First Selectman’s seat in 2007. Her record still stands strong. During Cathy’s first five years in office, she fended off all tax increases while increasing services to the public. Just in the past year, Cathy was appointed by Governor Malloy to the Two Storm Panel, giving small-town issues state-wide attention by highlighting necessary changes in emergency response from both the state and the utility companies responding to the recent emergency. Locally, Cathy has ensured ADA accessibility in Sprague’s public library and established an agriculture commission. She serves as a financial officer for Post 85 in the American Legion and was also recently elected District Historian, has worked to create a greenway from Lisbon through Windham, and is involved in the management of the Sprague Land Preserve. In addition, Cathy serves as co-chair on the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Education Committee.
In 2012, Cathy Osten was elected to the State Senate. Since that time, she has gained a reputation as being a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails advocate for her district. Her hard work has produced incredible results for the 19th Senate District. Senator Osten has brought back over $115 million from Hartford for municipal aid and economic development, led the fight to increase the minimum wage, and passed Erin’s Law–to help protect our families.
Cathy’s outreach and constituency services for seniors, veterans and all residents have shown her to be hard-working and truly willing to help. She will continue to fight for the middle class, create open government, and protect the environment. Her focus will always be on the betterment of our community.
As a proud mother of one, grandmother of four, and neighbor to thousands, Cathy will always see her advocacy as a personal endeavor to improve the lives of all of us, one community at a time.