Joan Bennett knows a little bit about local government.
The East Lime, Conn., native earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Haven and a master’s degree in the same subject from South Connecticut State University.
After graduating from college, she went on to serve as an aid to the mayor in her hometown for about 20 years, before serving for one term on the town council in nearby Waterford.
Bennett will re-enter the world of town government and again get a chance to work on a town council in March when she takes over the seat Cliff Toomey left vacant in Millville after serving for less than two years.
“The town is in a growth phase,” Bennett said. “I have substantial experience in town government and I wanted to see what I can do to help as the town goes forward in this growth period.”
Bennett and Gerry Hocker, who has already served for one term on the council, were the only Millville residents to file for the two seats open this year.
Toomey, who took over the seat mid-term in September of 2004, did not file to run again. That means the town’s March election will be canceled and Millville will move forward with Bennett in his seat.
Bennett already has some experience working with town officials, on the Centennial Committee, planning for the town’s 100th birthday this spring. Millville Town Manager Linda Collins said that, through working with Bennett on that project, she can tell that council’s newest member will be a valuable asset.
“I can see the background she has is going to help the town,” said Collins. “I think she’ll do a great job. And she’ll be pleasant to work with.”
Bennett, a real estate title searcher, and her husband moved from Connecticut to Millville in December of 2003. Immediately, she said, they took an interest in the town and, since moving, they have probably attended 80 percent of the town’s meetings.
Bennett is especially interested in the growth surrounding the Millville area. From Millville by the Sea to Dove’s Landing to a new proposed development on the Oakley [roperty on Route 17, she said that it is an interesting time to be involved in Millville town government.
“I think it’s a fine thing for the town,” Bennett said of the growth. “But with growth comes responsibility. That’s an interesting process I want to be a part of.”
She might even offer a fresh perspective to that process, she said. “It’s an interesting time for the town to have a new point of view. It’s important to have a point of view that may be different.”