Meet another capable candidate for Board of Finance, Dara Onofrio!
My inspiration and motivation to get involved in politics is summed by two quotes on my desk. Gandhi said “You must be the change you wish to see for the World.” And President Barack Obama said “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
My father was Superintendent of Schools in West Haven and instilled in me that education was a necessity to succeed in life. One of six siblings, I was lucky enough to have parents teach me the importance of practicing kindness and compassion. They also taught me the value in listening to conflicting and differing opinions in order to make well-rounded and informed decisions.
I was born in New Haven, CT and grew up in West Haven, CT. I’m a second generation Italian-American. My maternal grandfather came to America from Italy at the turn of the Century to find a better life.
After graduating from West Haven High School, I attended Southern Connecticut State University. As an undergraduate, I completed special science studies at Yale University. I graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in Chemistry from S.C.S.U. Following college, I received a scholarship to study art and art history at Urbino University in Urbino, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance. The experience of living outside of United States at an early age changed my life. I realized that as human beings we are all the same and the freedoms we have here in this country are not like any other country and should not be taken for granted.
When I returned from my studies, I moved to New York City and began working as a research scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In my time there, I worked in both the Developmental Genetics and Somatic Cell Genetics Departments. I also worked at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in NYC as a Division Supervisor of the Domestics Department where I managed over 150 sales and stock people.
I obtained my law degree from Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University) in New York City and began practicing law as an intellectual property attorney immediately. I rose to partner in a prominent New York City firm before starting my own firm in 2000 that specializes in patent, trademark, and copyright matters.
Following the tragic events of 9/11, I moved my home to Rockland County New York. Shortly after settling in, I joined the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, becoming a founding member of Homeland Security. I served as flotilla finance officer and staff finance officer of Division 10 and currently am a member of Flotilla 24-08 in Clinton.
While in Rockland County, I was elected and served as the Village Justice for Grandview-on-Hudson for more than nine years. I also served as the president of the Rockland Business Women’s Network, which is an organization whose mission is to provide women with opportunities for professional business and growth through leadership, education and networking.
I arrived in Clinton, CT four years ago after Superstorm Sandy destroyed my home in Rockland County. After surviving an event like Hurricane Sandy, I realized that I wanted to come back home. I chose Clinton because of its diversity and proximity to the water and NYC, and more importantly, to be closer to family and friends.
My neighbor, Sandy Allen, encouraged me to join the Clinton Design Review Board, which I’ve served on since February of 2017. Ellen Dahlgren, chair of this committee, encouraged me to run in November for one of the positions open on the Town’s boards and commissions. I reviewed all the openings and discussed them with various members and decided that the Board of Finance would be a good use of my knowledge and experience.
I love living in Clinton with my two Labrador retrievers Jessie and Maggie as well as my Burmese cat Phoebe. I enjoy gardening, painting, and practicing Tai Chi.