Archive for February, 2011

Ambassaddor Constance “Connie” Morella was recently interviewed by Voce Italiana newspaper in Washington, DC.  As an Italian American politician who represented Maryland’s 8th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1987-2003,  Amb. Morella has never forgotten her Italian roots and continues to be a supporter of the Italian community. The following is the text of the interview:

The career of Amb. Constance “Connie” Morella, a longtime Congresswoman from Maryland, has taken her from her native Massachusetts to the halls of Congress and to a diplomatic post in Paris. Her life is truly an American success story. 

Morella, a Republican, was elected to the House six times to represent a heavily Democratic district. A highly respected legislator, she was once introduced by former President Bill Clinton as “someone who embraces the best of our bipartisan efforts.”

In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Morella as the Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, where she served until 2007.  In 2010, President Obama appointed her to the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Connie Morella

As an Italian American, Connie Morella is an enthusiastic supporter of the community, frequently taking part in Washington-area events. She and her husband of more than 50 years, Anthony Morella, are often the first couple to hit the dance floor at local galas.  Voce Italiana recently asked her about her distinguished political career and her connection to her Italian roots.

Can you tell us about your Italian heritage?

 My mother and father came to the U.S. from Reggio Calabria, Italy.  Mother, Maria Christina Falletti, came at age nine in 1909, and my father, Salvatore Albanese, came at age 15 in 1906. My husband’s grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Avellino, Italy, near Naples.

Did you grow up in an Italian American environment?

I grew up in an Italian American environment enjoying the traditions and customs of family, food, religion, together-ness, as well as our parents’ encouragement of our assimilation into American society.  My father was a cabinet maker, self disciplined, and devoted to family. His vegetable garden flourished with tomatoes, egg plant, lettuce, beans, herbs, etc. He was also an excellent wine maker who gave his libations to neighbors and friends.

Mother was a great homemaker who also engaged in sewing, knitting, etc. She was our “quiet leader and defender,” who made certain we had opportunities and that there were snacks saved for possible company.

When my sister passed away at age 40, my husband and I adopted her six children (including twins) into our family of three children. They are now grown and married.  This belief in family unity was instilled in both my husband and me. It is part of our Italian-American environment. Our expanded family was a blessing.

What motivated you to enter the political arena?

When I think back, I was a class officer throughout my school years and even in college, so evidently I wanted to serve. I attribute my springboard from teaching at Montgomery Community College to becoming a candidate for the Md. State Legislature to my appointment to the first Montgomery County Commission for Women in the early 70s and lobbying for equity for women in housing, education, employment and credit—as well as the Equal Rights Amendment.

I recognized I would have more power if I had “a seat at the legislating table.” I was elected to the Md. General Assembly in 1978, served 8 years, then was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 and served until 2003.

In 2003, I was appointed by the President to be Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.  I was in the City of Light for 4 years.



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