Dr. Shannon Kula grew up in a Connecticut blue-collar family that taught her to honor hard work, family and community. Her father was a machinist who worked the first shift, but as technology advanced and companies changed, without workforce training to keep up, he was soon left out. Shannon’s mother worked the night shift so that she could still volunteer at school and be there for her family during the day.
As a proven leader, dedicated public servant and devoted military spouse, Shannon has the experience, energy and enduring commitment to fight for the day-to-day needs of families and the long-range needs of the nation. She understands the challenges facing families as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. She is a proven leader that Connecticut can count on to be its voice for a future that works for everyone.
Shannon is a first generation college graduate that worked two part-time jobs beginning at age 16 to save money for college. Working multiple jobs, earning academic scholarships from institutions like Hartford’s Jacob Lewis Fox Foundation, applying for Pell Grants and student loans all allowed her to put herself through college and earn a bachelors degree from the University of Rochester.
After college, Shannon returned home to work for Connecticut’s senior U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, where she continued to act on her passion for serving her community and solving the problems of people’s day-to-day lives. Later she moved to Senator Dodd’s Washington office to continue fighting for jobs, healthcare, and education initiatives that help the people of Connecticut.
Shannon served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, the first democratic woman elected to the U.S. Senate, the longest serving woman in Congress and the first woman to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. She developed and implemented strategies and policies on issues ranging from creating opportunities for America’s workers, making sure promises made were promises kept to veterans, funding the federal government, protecting our national security, creating equal opportunities for women, advocating for access to affordable and accessible health care, fighting for safe and affordable child care, protecting the environment and fighting for social justice.
In addition, to leading the team of a senior United States Senator, Shannon kept her commitment to lifelong learning and education by attending night school for almost ten years where she earned both a masters and a doctoral degree from Georgetown University.
Shannon most recently worked as the Director of the Women's Leadership Center at the University of Saint Joseph. Shannon led programs that give women the tools and support to become leaders and to increase the number of women sitting at the table making decisions across all sectors of our society.
Shannon knows first-hand the impact of the last fifteen years of war on our military service members, their families and our veterans. As the wife of a Marine Corps infantry and force reconnaissance officer with over twenty years of active-duty service, her husband, Dr. Ronald Clark, spent much of his military career leading combat units. Dr. Clark’s public service also includes work in the White House for both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
Like many women, Shannon is also a breast cancer survivor. She knows how terrifying it is to worry about your family, to worry about securing care and to worry about paying for quality health care. She will never stop fighting for families getting the health care they need, when they need it most.
Shannon is deeply thankful to her family, community and Connecticut for the values instilled, the promises kept and the commitment to hard work. Born and raised in Connecticut, Shannon wants to represent the people of the 5th District in Congress to ensure that every resident will live in a safer community, enjoy a smarter economy that works for them and a stronger workforce backed by the right training and education resources where if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue your hopes and dreams.