Born in Italy to an impoverished family, the Honorable Toni Boucher immigrated to the United States at age 5 and became the first in her family to graduate high school and college and go on to pursue graduate studies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in foreign languages from the University of South Dakota, which she quickly followed with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. Over the years, she has also held several certifications through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. In 1997, Ms. Boucher began her extensive tenure in government as a state representative and the assistant minority leader for the 143rd Assembly District in Connecticut.
Ms. Boucher served as a state representative until 2009, when she was elected as the Connecticut state senator for the 26th Senatorial District. Over the course of her tenure as senator, from 2009 to 2019, she spent time as the chief deputy majority leader and served on a number of committees, including as co-chair of the General Assembly’s education and transportation committees and as vice chair of the finance, revenue and bonding committee. In her more than two decades in public office, she notably focused her efforts on education initiatives for the state, which led to the establishment of Connecticut’s 529 plan, preschool education programs for disadvantaged children, bilingual education reform and a bill mandating Holocaust education in all Connecticut public schools.
Furthermore, Ms. Boucher was instrumental in crafting Connecticut’s landmark gun reform bill following the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. She also made an impact regarding traffic relief and environmental conservation efforts, notably preventing the construction of a superhighway and facilitating the building of a greenway in its place, which enabled the preservation of several historic farms and the protection of the local wetlands. In 2017, she helped create a bipartisan budget that capped spending and bonding, resulting in the state having a properly filled Rainy-Day Fund for the first time in decades. Ms. Boucher is a former director of Commonfund, a nonprofit asset management firm, where she was active for two decades, first serving as the director of the Commonfund Institute before becoming director of the entire firm in 2015.
Prior to her work in public service, Ms. Boucher spent more than 20 years in corporate management along with time spent as a business owner and board member for a marketing agency. Her varied positions across several different industries have left her with considerable expertise in both the public and private sectors regarding developing policy, managing large budgets, negotiating contracts, and spearheading campaigns for both fundraising and marketing. Additionally, she has authored a number of articles over the years and has been interviewed on both TV and radio. In 2013, Ms. Boucher and co-author Stephen Hudspeth published “Ethics and the Nonprofit” through the Commonfund Institute.
Ms. Boucher attributes much of her success to her father, Joseph Iannuzzi, who instilled in her an excellent work ethic, as well as to the mentors she has had throughout her career and her late husband, Henry “Bud” Boucher, whom she credits as her greatest supporter. Looking toward the future, she would like to be involved as a mentor for future generations of professionals who are seeking careers in business and public service. To this end, she has involved herself in a variety of nonprofit and educational organizations, including Voices of Hope, Ms President US, the Weir Farm Art Center and National Historic Site, and the Wilton Education Foundation, among others. In 2021, Ms. Boucher helped to fund a new skating rink in New Canaan, Connecticut, which has been named the Boucher Community Ice Rink, in honor of her and her late husband.
For her excellence, Ms. Boucher has been the recipient of numerous honors and accolades. In 2018, the Jewish Federation of Connecticut presented her with a Legislative Leadership Award for her work on the Holocaust education bill. She was also named a Children’s Champion by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for seven years in a row and has twice been recognized as an Environmental Champion by both the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement and the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. Other accolades to Ms. Boucher’s name include the Ambassador Award from the Council of Italian-American Organizations in 2010, the Legislator of the Year Award from the Connecticut Parent Coalition for Drug-Free Youth in 2005, and many more.