At a Glance
- Career History: Lieutenant Governor (1994-2004),Connecticut House of Representatives (1989-1994),Stay at home mom/Republican volunteer/PTA member (pre-1989)
- Birthday: June 14, 1946
- Hometown: Brookfield, Conn.
- Alma Mater: Old Dominion University, Western Connecticut State University-no degrees
- Spouse: Louis
- Religion: Protestant
- DC Office: 444 North Capitol St., N.W., Suite 317Washington, DC 20001Tel., 1-202-347-4535
- State Offices: Executive Office of the GovernorState Capitol 210 Capitol Avenue Hartford, Connecticut 06106Greater Hartford Area: 1-860-566-4840Toll Free: 1-800-406-1527
- Web site
Path to Power
Rell was born Mary Carolyn Reavis on June 16, 1946 in Norfolk, Va. A teenage boyfriend nicknamed her "Jodi" after actress Joey Heatherton. She attended Old Dominion University and Western Connecticut State but did not graduate from either. She dropped out of Old Dominion in 1967 to marry Louis Rell, a Navy pilot. When Lou left the military, his job as a TransWorld Airlines pilot took them to New Jersey and then to Brookfield, Conn.The Rells have two grown children. Lou had surgery to treat cancer of the esophagus in 2007.
Rell worked briefly as an office clerk in Danbury, Conn. When her children were born, she became a stay-at-home mom, PTA member, volunteer for local Republican causes, and temporary student at Western Connecticut State.
The Rell is a popular Republican in a Democratic state, but she rarely casts herself in ideological terms. Friends and foes alike say that she does not often take controversial positions. She has said that she governs based on common sense. Critics say her high approval rating stems from her timidity to take unpopular stands.
After her unexpected entry into the role of governor, Rell got to work cleaning up. She announced that she would not accept gifts of any kind. She required all Rowland appointees to submit their resignations. She fired four commissioners and accepted the resignation of a fifth. Rell also ordered a review of current state contracts and banned lobbyists from her office.
The Rell's lieutenant governor is Michael Fedele (R), the Italian-born owner of an information technology company and a former member of the general assembly and state House of Representatives.
Rell endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shortly before Connecticut's presidential primary in February 2008, but skipped McCain's major rally in the state.