Twenty-five year old social worker Christopher Lyddy recently became the youngest elected state representative serving the 106th House District centered in Newtown. He is a Democrat who won in a previously Republican District. Chris received his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and a BSW from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. With his election in 2008 there are now five MSWs in the Connecticut General Assembly. The others are Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, Representative Ken Green, Senator Edith Prague, and Representative Toni Walker.
Chris became interested in policy and politics in a policy course at Salve Regina. As part of this class he shadowed a state senator. He spent a week working for the Senator doing research and policy work. After this experience he realized that policy and politics interested him and he decided to try to combine social work with policy and politics.
At Penn Chris was able to study at other schools. He took a course at the FELS Institute of Government where he was exposed to a new way to understand policy. He learned the many ways policy influences practice and how practice should influence policy. So when he returned to Newtown he decided to seek elective office.
As a member of the Newtown Town Council he worked on many local issues that were important to constituents. At the same time he quickly saw that many of the town’s concerns were really state and federal issues. When the House seat came open he decided to run. Another social worker, Addie Sandler, a second year MSW Policy Practice major at UConn worked on his campaign.
Chris believes that as a state representative combined with having a background in social work will make it possible for him to work for policies important to his constituents and the citizen of Connecticut while also hearing and amplifying the voices of the disenfranchised. As an elected official he will be able to follow the call of the Code of Ethics to reduce oppression and represent those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
In his social work education he learned about how systems connect and have both a positive or negative impact on individuals, families, communities and organizations. He understands that each of us is part of a larger system that who we are and what we can do is influenced by that fact. He tried hard to never lose sight of this important reality.
In addition to his work at the State Legislature, Chris is also the Program Director for the Hartford Juvenile Risk Reduction Center. In this position Chris is responsible for the supervision of all program staff, the implementation of evidence-based curricula, and serving as the program’s point-person for the Court Support Services Division, juvenile and youth probation officers, and other community-based stakeholders.