Meet Hugh

As the State Rep for CT’s 37th District of East Lyme & Salem, my goals will be to restore fiscal responsibility to the State’s budgeting process, bring civility & collaboration back to the political process & bring people together for a better future.

Hugh McKenney lives in Salem, a town he and his family have called home for the last 23 years. Hugh grew up in Dracut, Massachusetts and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in 1984. He began his career with Yankee Atomic Electric Company at Rowe, MA as a reactor engineer. During this time, he met and married his best friend, Robyn Sullivan.

While raising three beautiful children, both Hugh and Robyn were dedicated to making a difference in Salem. Hugh was a member of Salem’s Planning & Zoning Commission for eight years, five as its Chairperson. He guided the Plan of Conservation and Development as well as the Open Space Plan. As Chairman, Hugh was instrumental in leading the Planning & Zoning Commission in an effort to get a quarry operator, with multiple zoning violations to discontinue operations. The Commission successfully brought a lawsuit against the quarry operator which resulted in a financial settlement for the town. Hugh was Chairman during the contentious issue of seasonal vs. year round residency in the Gardner Lake neighborhoods. Although it was an emotionally charged issue, Hugh ensured all residents were heard and a fair and equitable outcome was achieved. As Chairman, Hugh sought out the viewpoints of the Economic Development Commission, and business leaders. It was important to find a balance with Salem’s strong commitment to the environment. In 2017, Hugh was elected to the Salem Board of Selectmen, where he currently serves.

Meanwhile, Hugh’s late wife Robyn also devoted her time in Salem to public service. She was a member of the Board of Education, with several years as its Chairman. Robyn also served on the Board of Selectmen for eight years.

Hugh has been employed by Dominion Energy at Millstone Power Station for over 20 years, holding a number of leadership positions, including Fleet Reactor Engineering Supervisor, where he oversaw reactor engineering personnel at all four nuclear power stations. This long career in a supervisory capacity has been integral in honing his leadership skills.

Our priorities

Economic Stability

Small businesses, start ups and diversification of our current employer base will ensure long-term sustainability in economic growth and a high quality of life in our region. We need to ensure that our young people entering the work force can find good paying jobs and the ability to secure affordable housing, access to our quality schools, shoreline parks and the unique cultural gems in our region.

Improving The Budgeting Process & Balancing the State Budget

The administration elected this fall will be facing a $2 Billion deficit in 2019-2020 and a 2020-2021 deficit of $2.58 Billion. This is without consideration of the unfunded liability in our state employee and teachers’ pensions. We need to implement:

  • A 5-10 year budgeting process to eliminate cliffs in our current cycle and allow consistency & predictability in our budget planning: a long-term planning strategy.
  • Pension reforms for new employees and an adjustment on the return on investment on our pension funding going forward – a percentage that reflects a realistic assumption.
  • Evaluation/implementation of appropriate elements of March 2018’s Final Report issued by the Connecticut Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth which was developed by a bipartisan group of community leaders.
  • Detailed review of revenue and the elimination of the carried interest loopholes.

Commonsense Gun Safety

I support common sense gun laws that protect the public while maintaining Second Amendment rights. Bump stocks and “ghost guns” (guns parts that can be order on-line to produce a working weapon) should be outlawed in the State, as they are designed to bypass existing laws. Americans have a right to own guns, while using them safely and legally. These rights must  be balanced against the health and safety of the public.

Infrastructure Improvements & Tolls

In order to maintain a constant, predictable stream of income and to maintain our bridges and roads, a tolling system is necessary. The plan needs to be thoughtfully considered with community input. Well-maintained roads are key to strong economic growth. I do support the lock box amendment on the ballot this November as the only way to ensure that are transportation funds our secured.

Environment & Energy

I support environmental protections to ensure the purity of our drinking water and air and feel we need to support improving climate resiliency along our coastal shoreline. Educating the public about the importance of open space along with best practice management of our lawns and septic systems is vital to the health of our water ways and our residents. We need to leave our Earth a better place for our children and grandchildren.

In addition, our region must ensure we have a diverse energy supply to secure our economic future. Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric must be leveraged to their full potential. Until that time, nuclear power must be maintained to ensure a diverse energy supply. The state, in partnership with ISO New England, must work collaboratively to improve our energy diversity.


In addition to our need to resolve the unfunded retirement plans for our teachers and educators who are State Employees, Connecticut must also fully fund its educational grants to municipalities. Federal and State governments have placed mandates on our municipalities which they have not been willing to fully fund. This is especially true when it comes to special education costs. The Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) needs to be tailored from its, “one size fits all,” to a more realistic fit with options for small towns or shared districts. Q&A

Click HERE to read through my Q&A with

CT News Junkie Candidate Profile

Click HERE for my candidate profile and questionnaire on CT News Junkie.

Community Involvement & News

Hugh McKenney
Hugh McKenney
Budget proposals matter. They are a statement on what you believe needs to be done for the country. It’s what should have been highlighted in a real State of the Union Speech.
Remember that in November that this president wants to cut Medicare, Medicaid, the Food Stamp program, and Disability Relief. Is this what you believe needs to be done? I certainly DON’T.
Hugh McKenney
Hugh McKenney
Photos from Hugh McKenney's post
Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa
I had the opportunity to talk with US Congressman Joe Courtney today at the South Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce today. He is doing great things both in support of our businesses here, and helping our Veterans and their families. Joe is an outstanding representative and it was an honor chatting with him.

He works across the aisle in many of his committees. He’s a shining example we should all follow
Hugh McKenney
Hugh McKenney
Salem Residents

The initial Superintendent’s school budget is now being discussed within the Salem Board of Education. Get involved and make your voice heard


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