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Local business owner John Giordano, who has a history in serving in town politics, will be recognized with the Distinguished Graduate Award when he is inducted into the East Haven High School Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Narracci )
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While wintering in Naples, Florida, East Haven’s John Giordano received some good news from home. He received a phone call that he was selected to be inducted into the East Haven High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame as a distinguished graduate.
“I was surprised and really pleased to get that nomination,” says John. “It’s quite an honor to be inducted along with all of the past graduates who have gotten in.”
John graduated in 1968, noting that even in high school, he got involved in any way he could, taking part in activities to help his class or his school. After graduating, he went on to study political science at the University of New Haven.
John was inspired in his major by his family, which had always been involved in politics. While in college, his uncle suggested that he run for the Town Council in East Haven as the Democratic party wanted to present a full ticket under then-mayor Frank Messina.
“I told my professor about it and he said if I ran, I’d get three credits and wouldn’t have to take the course,” says John. “I ran so I didn’t have to take the course and I ended up winning.”
John was elected to the East Haven Town Council in 1971 at age 21, making him reportedly the youngest person ever elected in Connecticut at the time. He was re-elected in 1973 and while on the Town Council, he served on multiple committees, including police and fire.
Then, in 1976, John, then became the youngest person ever elected to the Connecticut General Assembly, according to the East Haven High School Hall of Fame. He served three consecutive terms in the House of Representatives where he was elected as the House chairman of the Liquor Committee and served on several other committees during his terms.
“My family asked me to run for state representative against this really nice guy, Mark DeFrancesco—a graduate of Harvard and Yale Divinity School, someone you really looked up to—and everyone felt he’d be unbeatable,” says John. “Again they wanted to run a full slate and I ended up winning by 720 votes. This was the year Ella Grasso was elected as the first woman elected governor in Connecticut. She was a wonderful woman.”
While in the legislature, John secured a $50,000 grant from the State Historical Commission that assisted the Old Stone Church in being able to restore the church steeple. He also worked to pass the Carolina Creek Flood Control Project, which allowed Carolina Creek to be widened and alleviated flooding issues on Cosey Beach Avenue.
“They were going to have to take steeple down at Old Stone Church because it was rotted and fixing it was a great deal of money so it was great to be able to help them get a grant they wouldn’t have to pay back,” says John. “With the flood control project, I flew in with Governor Grasso and she dedicated the funds at the end of Cosey Beach Avenue—that was a good day.”
While serving on the legislature, John’s friend Frank Kolb approached Frank about being a licensed public adjuster. John was interested and became certified, founding his business, Giordano & Associates, Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters, in 1978. The company’s mission is to “represent our clients in the investigation, filing, and negotiation of damage claims to their property as a result of fire, flooding, faulty construction, natural disasters, and explosions.”
When John started his company, he worked out of his house, but after he was married and had his first child, he and his wife decided to buy a building to house the office. John’s business still operates out of the location on High Street, though his children are now grown.
John retired from politics in 1985 to focus on his business and his growing family. He has three children, John, Jacqueline, and Jocelyn. The family moved to Branford where they lived for several years and where John found his way back into town politics in the late 1990s. John served on the Park & Recreation Board, was involved in the Democratic Town Committee, and was a police commissioner.
“In Branford, I wanted to get involved in things that are community-related,”says John. “Branford is a special, special place. It’s a really tight-knit community that welcomes everyone into the town. It’s not very political, giving everyone a chance to get involved in government and participate. I’ve always enjoyed that part of Branford.”
While John enjoyed the 25 years he spent living in Branford, he has since moved back to his hometown of East Haven when he’s not wintering in Florida. His son now works alongside him. John is looking forward to his induction into the East Haven High School Hall of Fame.
“I moved back to my old house—we never sold it when we moved to Branford—and one of my daughters lives with me,” says John. “East Haven has been so instrumental in growing up, my career, politics, and my business. This town is really dear to me and I’ve always enjoyed helping the town that’s helped me so much. I’m really honored to be receiving this award.”
The 2020 guide to the Madison Chamber of Commerce has arrived!