Susan Bysiewicz was raised the proud granddaughter of immigrants who came to Connecticut from Poland and Greece with nothing but hopes for a better future. After many years of factory work, they saved enough to buy a farm in the Westfield section of Middletown that became Susan’s childhood home. Growing up and working on the farm, she and her siblings learned the values of hard work, education, and persistence.
Susan's father Stan was a pilot in World War II, and ran their family farm as well as a small business. Her mother, Shirley Raissi Bysiewicz, was the daughter of Greek immigrants. She attended law school, becoming the first woman to be a tenured law professor at the University of Connecticut, and was a pioneer for women in the legal profession in Connecticut.
Susan's parents taught her to fight for what she believes in and to stand up for others who need help.
Susan graduated from Yale University and Duke Law School. Susan’s Yale senior thesis on former Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso was later published as a book titled Ella: A Biography of Ella Grasso. While at Duke, she met her future husband, David Donaldson, and after graduating, they returned to Connecticut.
The legacy of determination, hard work and perseverance is what guided Susan when she served in the State Legislature and represented Middletown, Middlefield and Durham, and they continue to guide her today. As a State Representative, she wrote legislation to ban dangerous “drive-through” mastectomies and ensure that women being treated for breast cancer had proper care. Susan also fought political patronage and wrote the law to ban lobbyists from giving gifts to legislators.
As Secretary of the State of Connecticut, Susan helped thousands of businesses grow, registered thousands of voters, cut bureaucratic red tape, honored veterans, and fought to keep elections fair.
Now, as a business lawyer and a job creator, she has helped over fifty companies access millions of dollars in capital, expand their businesses, and create hundreds of jobs in our State. Susan knows that our economy thrives when we create good-paying jobs and everyone has access to affordable healthcare.
David and Susan reside in Middletown. Their three children, Ava, Leyna, and Tristan, are all recent college graduates. As the mother of three, Susan understands the need to make higher education and vocational training more affordable for families in Connecticut. As a life-long Democrat, she believes in a woman’s right to choose, pay equity, and for equal rights for everyone in our state