Cate Steel is running to serve East Lyme and Salem as the Democratic candidate for the State Representative of Connecticut’s 37th District. A 24-year resident of East Lyme, Cate is a retired educator, survivor, and resilient leader, having overcome family fires everywhere, she is always fighting for the less privileged and disadvantaged. And giving a platform no, voice — to those who cannot speak strongly enough for themselves. She has worked with students who started as not speaking at all later helping them have communication skills.
Her resounding and infectious laughter brings smiles to the inflicted and joys to those with sorrow. She demonstrates her tenacity by always trying her best, and power through unwavering kindness. She’s inclusive, seeking to find solutions, and brings out the best in people. Cate stands up for what she truly believes in— regardless if it is the most popular, or if she might make something off it.
Above all, she has been the most loving mother to her three own children, and shared her love with the countless students she has taught over the years. Her talents outside the house pale in comparison to the meals she shares with friends and family, gardens she religiously tends to, animals she adores, and Scrabble games she somehow always wins.
Cate has had to learn and adapt during the pandemic as well — shifting her weekly TV show called Stories Worth Telling from Atlantic broadband to Zoom where she gives local heroes a chance to share + inspire others regardless of differing political opinions. After living in 10 different houses in five different states during the first 12 years of her marriage, she has proven both her adaptability and — the importance of a strong family unit.
Cate understands the value of hard work and the importance of giving back to her community. The eighth of nine children raised by a widow, Cate worked her way through college and over the years held a number of jobs, including a waitress, a cleaning lady, a social worker, a sales associate, and even a clown for birthday parties. But her life’s mission has been to serve children and families in education and special education, working for more than 35 years as a speech language pathologist and education administrator. She now serves on the East Lyme Board of Education. (Her husband, Richard Steel, is on the Board of Finance in East Lyme.)
Cate is involved in a number of local charities. She is the president of the board of Artreach, a Norwich-based nonprofit seeking to harness the power of creativity for people who have battled mental illness. She is associated with STARS to STEM, an organization for restoration of the planetarium at East Lyme High School and coordination with science, technology engineering and math student development. She is a longtime member of the Niantic Toastmasters Club, where she previously served as president. Previously, she served as a member of the board of ARC of Eastern Connecticut, a nonprofit organization advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Cate grasps any opportunity to learn and lives by Gandhi: “live as if you were to live until today; learn as if you were to live forever.” She graduated from Creighton University and later earned her Masters in Audiology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha while working, and continued towards her Educational Leadership Sixth Year degree at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. She’s currently enrolled in Yale’s Campaign School (TCS), and attended UCONN’s School of Social Work Training as well. She had three children, who attended East Lyme public schools, and she is a proud grandmother. In addition to her public service work, Cate enjoys art, gardening, improv, Scrabble and walking her dog, a spunky Airedale named Phoebe.
She’s beyond blessed and grateful that she is building a close relationship with her youngest granddaughter, Claire Ryan, named after her first child, and some say the two mildly resemble each other. Time will tell if Claire will keep up with Grammy’s laughter and jokes.