Rebekah Harriman-Stites is one busy mom! She is a co-founder of HK Consulting & a current member of the Newtown Board of Education. With all this on her plate, Rebekah still finds time to give back. She is a founding member of the My Sandy Hook Family Fund & founding board member of EverWonder Children’s Museum. And on 11/6, she is running for State Representative for the 106th district.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I grew up in Waterbury and went to public school there. I stayed in Connecticut for college attending Central Connecticut State University. I moved right after college to Rhode Island to work on a congressional campaign and lived there for a year.
I moved to Newtown when I was 23 because my husband [boyfriend at the time] lived here. I remember my first winter and how when I came home from work it was pitch black! This was very different after living in Waterbury, Hartford, and Providence.
I lived here for 4 years before having my son. I feel like we fully put down roots once we had our son.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
My son Fisher is turning 13 in a few weeks.
After Fisher was born, we decided I would work while Fisher was young and my husband [Chris] would stay home with him. I really credit Chris for making friends that first year. He made friends with other parents with kids the same age through Dickinson Park & Playtime Village which used to be in Monroe. He met a ton of kids and moms! And this ended up becoming the group of friends we’re still close with today.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I don’t know if anyone is surprised about this, but I do barre 6 days a week. Another thing is that I’m one of those introvert/extrovert type of people. I love being social and talking to people. But because I’m an only child, I do value time by myself.
Favorite things to do with your son?
I love spending time as a family with our group of friends. We have bonfires at each other’s houses and watching my son & this group of children grow up together has been amazing. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing – it’s just that this group of people mean so much to me.
Favorite spot in Newtown?
That bench on Castle Hill. No matter what time of day you go it’s quiet and it gives you this view of Newtown. You can’t help feeling moved by seeing the flag and the church steeples. I know I need that moment of quiet.
What is your proudest mommy moment?
This one was the most difficult to answer! Fisher’s in a lot of sports – he wrestles, plays lacrosse, & rides BMX. He’s also worked to get donations for a dog shelter and won an award from Danbury Animal Welfare. I’m proud of his sense of community and empathy.
I’m proudest of him when he’s being a good friend. He has incredible amount of loyalty to his friends and that makes me want to be a better friend.
And like every other kid he does have his bad moments. When that happens, we always talk about kindness and what the impact of your actions are. How can you make a different choice next time?
To say that you have a lot on your plate right now, would be a huge understatement! How do you find balance and still check off all your daily to-do’s?
I know I keep going back to this group of friends and it sounds cliche to say, but it does truly take a village. My husband’s job is flexible, so he’s super supportive of what I’m doing. He’s used to me having a big project that I’m working on.
You read all these things about the importance of female friendship. In my life, I’ve never had a more supportive group of friends than I do right now. We all really watch out for each other’s kids. My friends are helping on my campaign. It’s taken me all this time to get to a place where I understand what friendship means. The people I have in my life are the people that have my back in a way that’s so true and real. I’m so lucky- I would never be able to do it without them.
What is the one thing you’ve worked on that you are most proud of?
It’s being a mom. He’s my legacy and I’m enjoying every moment that I have with him. Watching him grow and knowing the I have a part in creating this wonderful person is amazing.
Why did you make the decision to run for State Representative? Have you always been interested in politics?
I’ve always sort of think about the root cause of things. My background is in social work – I worked with domestic violence victims and an agency in Hartford focused on expanding voting in underrepresented communities with the goal of bringing more people into the political process. If you achieve that, you will have a group of officials that more fairly reflect the individuals they serve. I’ve worked on numerous campaigns and legislative advocacy around women’s rights and healthcare.
When my son started school, I became involved with the PTA and worked to shift focus to be more about a sense of community. During my time as President of the Middle Gate PTA, we created Family Movie Nights and a Mural Project due to a state grant. Middle Gate families painted nine murals over nine nights representing the nine character strengths. After my term at Middle Gate was up, I was asked to run for Board of Ed. I must have said no 25 times! I never saw myself as a candidate, rather as a behind the scenes person. I then said yes, and didn’t think I was going to win and then I did win. I’ve been on the BOE for 3 years now, and I currently serve as the Vice Chair and Chair of Policy Committee.
You can read more about Rebekah’s candidacy for State Rep here.