Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, 50, is Bristol's first female Mayor. Elected in November 2017, Mayor Zoppo-Sassu has been involved in Bristol politics most of her life and has dedicated herself to making Bristol a great place to live and work. She became interested in local government while in elementary school when she would attend city meetings with her father, who served on the Board of Finance. After graduating from Providence College in 1990 with a degree in Political Science, Zoppo-Sassu went on to earn a Masters Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in local and urban government from the University of Connecticut in 1992. Previously she had worked for the Connecticut Pharmacists Association as the Director of Communications; as Development Director at the Boys & Girls Club and Family Center, and at the New Britain Chamber of Commerce. She also currently serves as the part-time Director of Development & Grants for the Bristol Historical Society where she has worked to bring in over $1,000,000 in the last 12 years to restore and renovate the city’s first high school as a cultural and arts hub.
In 2001, Ellen ran for the City Council representing the Second Council District, which marked the beginning of 6 productive years on the City Council career of working for issues of importance to working families, seniors and children in Bristol. She quickly earned a reputation for getting things done, and solving long-standing problems and issues for both the departments she worked with, and for the people in her council district. In that period, the city’s code enforcement initiative was organized, the library was renovated on time and under budget, and 3 city parks were renovated.
Elected to represent the Third Council District in 2013, Ellen serving as the Chair of the Code Enforcement Committee which aggressively coordinated a city policy response to the sub-standard housing issues and blight in the City. She also chaired the Task Force to develop a building and construction plan for the re-use of the Memorial Boulevard School and was also a voting member of the Public Works Board. In 2015, she also guided a work group to find community solutions to the community cat and feral cat issues in Bristol.
Ellen is married to Peter Sassu who is the Police School Resource Officer at Bristol Eastern High School. They have three children, Michaela, 22, a graduate of CCSU now working for Community Partners in Action; Zachary, 20, a 2017 graduate of BEHS currently serving in the U.S. Army; and Carson, 17, a senior at BEHS. Ellen is active in the school community, as well as a member of the BEHS All-Sports Booster Club, Friends of the Library, Bristol Federal Hill Association, the Boys & Girls Club Keystone Auxiliary, St. Joseph Church, For Goodness Sake, a new non-profit in town that collects home goods to distribute to clients needing new starts and the Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter, a 501c3 that raises money for the City of Bristol Pound, as well as works to quickly adopt out the dogs that come there. For the last 4 years, she has also served as the Host Family Coordinator for the Bristol Blues, matching players with host families in the community.
She previously served as Chair of the City of the Bristol’s Cemetery Commission from its inception in 2008 until June 2013. During her tenure, the Commission secured almost $25,000 in private grant funds and in-kind donations to restore the ancient cemeteries, created a management agreement for the city-owned Lake Avenue Cemetery and garnered a national award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. In addition, she served on the both the board of directors for Bristol Girls Little League Softball and the McCabe-Waters Little League, where she co-chaired the Long-Range Planning Committee.
Others have recognized Ellen’s leadership ability as well. In May 2017 she received the Bristol Historical Society Volunteer of the Year award. She had previously received the McCabe-Waters Little League Volunteer of the Year Award and the 2015 Special Recognition Award from For Goodness Sake; as well as the Bristol Boys & Girls Club & Family Center “Positive Leadership Unselfish Service” P.L.U.S. Award; and was also recognized by the New Britain YWCA for their Women in Leadership award. In 2003 she was named to the “Forty Under Forty” list of Who’s Who in the Greater Hartford area by the Hartford Business Journal and was selected as one of Exceptional Women honorees at the 6th Annual Constance “Connie” Collins event produced by the Queen Ann Nzinga Center as a positive example for the young girls who participate in the center’s youth programs.