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Joanne Wentworth: "I Love My Town"

That's why she has served as mayor, deputy mayor and councilwoman, and started the North Branford Chamber of Commerce and the Community Food Bank.

Joanne Wentworth has a simple explanation for her community-mindedness for the past 30 years.

"I love my town. That’s why I do it," she said.

Wentworth was just . Since the 1980s, she has served 10 terms as mayor, three terms as deputy mayor and three terms as a councilwoman.

Not only that, Wentworth also started the and the because she saw a need for them.

"I moved to North Branford 50 years ago," she said. "Back then, most people went out of town to do their shopping."

Over the years, she has raised four sons. Three live in town and the fourth in North Haven, and they’ve given her seven grandsons and two granddaughters.

Wentworth, 77, was the North Branford editor of the Branford Review in the 1970s. She said around 1980, she got tired of listening to the politicians and decided to run for public office.

"I ran so I could make decisions," she said. Her first decision was to resign from her newspaper job because she couldn’t be the newspaper editor and a public official at the same time.

She was elected to the Town Council in her first election. Two years later, she lost for mayor by 13 votes. She was elected mayor in her third election and went on to serve 10 terms, and then as deputy mayor for three terms.

When the old business association went defunct 18 years ago, she joined forces with Angela Mazzoli, a real estate agent, and started the North Branford Chamber of Commerce to promote . She remains its part-time president.

"It’s very successful," Wentworth said. "It’s been going strong for 18 years." The Chamber will hold its annual meeting on Nov. 30 at Woodwinds.

Wentworth also started the North Branford Community Food Bank.

"I had a hard time starting it because people didn’t think people in North Branford need food," she said.

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