MEET SHAUNNA O'CONNELL:
Shaunna is a Taunton native proudly raising her family in her hometown. She has been married to her husband, Ted, for 18 years, and their greatest joy is raising their two children, Ashton and Riley.
Nothing has ever been handed to Shaunna. Her parents divorced at an early age. Her family ended up on housing assistance to make ends meet. Shaunna left high school and eventually ended up working two jobs to earn enough money to put herself through college. She spent many years working in the Food Service Department at Morton Hospital, where she was quickly promoted to department supervisor. Upon graduation from college, O’Connell immediately became self-employed as a professional freelance court reporter and has worked in many different areas of the legal system for the past 15 years.
In 2010 Shaunna ran for the Massachusetts House of Representatives and successfully defeated an 18 year incumbent. Since being elected State Representative, she has distinguished herself as a hardworking and determined leader and fiscal watchdog for the people she represents.
Shaunna has been the leader in fighting for welfare reforms. Due to her persistence, the Commonwealth has saved millions of dollars in stopping fraud. She has also been leading the fight for transparency within the MBTA pension fund and stopping illegal immigrants from getting state housing assistance.
Shaunna is a strong advocate for the veterans and has passed legislation helping to honor their memory.
Wanting to put people back to work, Shaunna established the Small Business Caucus and drafted the Small Business Bill of Rights.
As a lifelong resident of Taunton, Shaunna has put in the long hours to help the district. She has successfully advocated to keep Taunton State Hospital open and for more local aid. Going beyond the call of duty, Shaunna established the S.A.F.E. Kids Fun Day program to teach parents and children about public safety. Shaunna also mentors at-risk high school girls.
Her community service includes being a Board Member of the Taunton YMCA and the Grand Old Party Woman's Advisory Board; a volunteer for Taunton Emergency Management Agency; a Sunday School teacher and Missions Committee member at West Congregational. Shaunna also wrote the Safe Church Policy for her church and started the West Church Community Outreach Program. In 2006 she was recognized as Woman of the Year for the church.
Led the effort to reform welfare to stop fraud
Established Small Business Caucus
Holds weekly office hours
Opted out of pension system as promised
Refuses per diem perk
Solved thousands of constituent problems
Kept promise to oppose tax increases
Created more transparency on MBTA pension system
Filed Small Business Bill of Rights
Passed amendment to honor veterans
Passed amendment to require sunlight of secret settlements
Worked to preserve Taunton State Hospital
Fought for more local aid
100% voting record
Small Business Caucus Chairwoman
Taunton Area Vietnam Veterans Association—Associate Member
Taunton Area Chamber of Commerce
Taunton Area School to Career Mentor Program
Old Colony YMCA Taunton, Board of Governors
Taunton Polish-American Citizens Club
Old Colony Historical Society
Mass Coalition for Suicide Prevention
Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation
2015 Reader’s Choice Favorite Politician – Taunton Daily Gazette
2015 Ch. 57 Disabled American Veterans Challenge Coin Recipient
2014 Reader’s Choice Favorite Politician – Taunton Daily Gazette
2014 Exceptional Legislator – The Boston Broadside
2014 Co-Op Community Award
2014 Taunton Area School to Career Mentor Recognition
2013 QRCC Woman of the Year
2013 Reader’s Choice Favorite Politician – Taunton Daily Gazette
2012 Guardian of Small Business Award
2011 Disabled American Veterans Ch. 57 Service Award recipient
2011-2012 RABA Great 8 Legislator
2010 Citation for Taunton Emergency Management Agency volunteer work
2006 West Church Woman of the Year