Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) is an honored recipient of this year's Ambassador Award from the Council of Italian-American Organizations of Connecticut for her many contributions to the state's Italian-American community.

Boucher, one of two recipients of this year's award, accepted the honor during a ceremony to celebrate Italian Republic Day at the State Capitol on May 26. Italian Republic Day or La Festa della Republica, commemorates the referendum held in 1946 in which Italian people voted to replace its monarchy with a republic. Italian Republic Day is celebrated to honor Italians who sought better lives for themselves and their families, and also to recognize Italians who sought better lives for themselves and their families in the United States.

"I am so honored, and humbled to be in the same company as the remarkable people who have received this award in the past. To all members of the CIAO, thank you from the bottom of my heart," said Boucher. "Our story is both amazing and commonplace. During the war years, German soldiers destroyed our family's farm. My mother and father, like so many others, left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, clutching their children. We felt lost and terrified and, once here, spent years floundering in the back of a public school class, bewildered and not comprehending one word of this new language."

Boucher said her parents worked three jobs each, determined to make a better life for their children.

Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. Her election to the State Senate followed a career in the House of Representatives where she held caucus leadership positions and served on several legislative committees.

In the State Senate, Boucher serves as an Assistant Minority Leader. Senator Boucher is the Senate Ranking Member of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee and of its Select Committee on Children. She serves as a member of the General Assembly's Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and of its Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee.

Boucher has served as a member of the Wilton Board of Selectmen and as Wilton's representative to the Council on Public Facilities and Insurance Committee. She was active in the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

Boucher calls on her extensive experience in the business world when working with her legislative colleagues on state government fiscal issues. She holds an MBA from UCONN Business School and is the founder and former owner of a small business and a former member of corporate management for two Fortune 50 firms. Boucher also co-founded and served on the Board of Directors of a marketing design agency in San Diego. Presently, she serves as an advisory board member of UConn's nonprofit Leadership Institute, state director for the national Women in Government organization, advisory board member of the Alden Weir Farm Art Center and a board member of the Norwalk Human Services Committee.

Currently, Boucher, who holds series 7 and series 63 licenses, is the director of the Commonfund Institute, the educational and research arm of Commonfund, a nonprofit fund manager founded by the Ford Foundation in 1971. In December 2008, she co-authored a publication on ethics and the nonprofit.