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Gresko Wins Stratford Special Election To Fill Backer's Empty House Seat

Joseph Gresko of Stratford won the special election to  fill the 121st House District left vacant by the death of state Rep. Terry Backer.
Joseph Gresko of Stratford won the special election to fill the 121st House District left vacant by the death of state Rep. Terry Backer. Photo Credit: Stratford Democrats

STRATFORD, Conn. — Democrat Joe Gresko won the special election Tuesday to fill the seat in the state House of Representatives once occupied by his mentor and boss, according to the Connecticut Post.

In the special election held Tuesday, Gresko beat Republican Susan Barksdale to fill the 121st House District seat, representing Stratford.

An unconfirmed final tally put Gresko over Barksdale at 1,339 to 873, the Post said.

Barksdale is a former school board member now employed by the Town of Stratford’s Human Resources Department. She was a NASA rocket engineer early in her career.

Gresko will finish the term of state Rep. Terry Backer, better known as the Soundkeeper for his environmental work. A popular Democrat, Backer had served in the House for 12 terms. He died at the age of 61 in December after a long battle with brain cancer.

Gresko will report immediately for work — the 2016 session of the General Assembly begins Wednesday.

Born and raised in Stratford, Gresko grew up on Mary Avenue and attended Holy Name Elementary, Wooster Middle and Stratford High School. After earning a degree in environmental science from Central Connecticut State University, he was a weather forecaster with Dr. Mel Goldstein and had career as a radio news reporter/anchor at WICC.

After working for the City of Bridgeport managing media relations and public affairs, Gresko served as the deputy chief of staff for the State of Connecticut House Speaker, helping to pass energy conservation and clean water legislation.

He volunteers at the annual Housatonic River cleanup and is a member locally of Protect Your Environment. He is an auxiliary member of VFW Post 9460 and was a lector at Holy Name of Jesus Church.

He worked in Hartford as a communications coordinator for Backer. He and Backer fought to secure the funding for the renovation of Stratford High School, the grant for the improvements at the South End Community Center and the funding for the Sterling House upgrades.

Click here to read the Connecticut Post story.

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