Holly Cheeseman was elected to serve the 37th district of East Lyme and Salem in November 2016 and was re-elected in November 2018. She currently serves on the Finance, Revenue & Bonding and Energy & Technology committees and as Ranking Member on the General Law Committee of the General Assembly.
A New London, CT native, Rep. Cheeseman has been a resident of East Lyme for 25 years. She currently works as the Executive Director for the Southeastern Connecticut Children’s Museum.
Holly received a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA with a major in German and minors in Physics and History.
Holly enjoys spending time with her two sons, David (age 33) and Douglas (age 30), as well as her three stepdaughters, Victoria, Abigail and Sarah; her four grandchildren, Emma, Kieran, Ethan and Zoe; and her two Chesapeake Bay retrievers, Callie and Madducks.
During the coronavirus outbreak, Holly worked tirelessly to help our residents and local businesses navigate these difficult times. Whether it was assisting local businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program, or working with senior citizens to obtain their federal stimulus dollars, Holly had our back. No request or problem was either too large or too small for her to tackle. When an older constituent in Salem was having trouble negotiating the IRS website, Holly stepped in and pointed her in the right direction. When a school nurse in East Lyme could not get her unemployment benefits, Holly made sure the Connecticut Department of Labor fixed the issue. She delivered meals to the homebound in Salem and distributed surgical masks to senior housing complexes, nursing homes and assisted living centers in East Lyme.
However, this is nothing new for Holly. From her earliest days in the district, she has been committed to serving the community in which she lives. From serving as President of Creative Playschool when her children were small to six terms on the Board of Trustees of the East Lyme Public Library and three terms on the Board of Selectmen, Holly’s dedication to her community is unquestioned. Her involvement in Salem is equally impressive, attending meetings of the Board of Selectmen, Salem Parent Teacher Organization, and the Salem Seniors Group. The Gardiner Lake Fire Department BBQ and the Congregational Church Applefest are a regular feature on her calendar.
In the 2020 legislative session, Holly was the first House Republican to co-sponsor H.B. 5175- An Act Concerning Diabetes and High Deductible Health Plans. This legislation would limit the cost of insulin to $50 and insulin supplies to $100. Diabetics rely on insulin and the associated testing supplies to maintain the normal blood sugar levels required for a healthy life. Without good blood glucose control those with diabetes are fated to suffer a
host of terrible complications – blindness, kidney failure, amputations, and heart disease. Holly was proud to support legislation that would make our state a leader by ensuring that those with diabetes have access to the drug that keeps them alive at a cost they can afford, preserving the health of thousands of residents in this state. Holly also co-sponsored SB 328, A Act Concerning Health Care Cost Growth Benchmarks, Canadian Drug Reimportation, Stop-Loss Insurance And Reinsurance. This legislation would allow Connecticut to seek a waiver from the federal government to allow the re-importation of lower cost prescription drugs from Canada. Holly recognizes the huge burden ever-escalating prescription drug prices place on her constituents and will continue to work actively for legislation to ease that burden.
Holly has made fighting for mental health awareness and suicide prevention a cornerstone of her legislative efforts. Each day, tens of thousands of our fellow Connecticut residents face the challenge of living with mental illness. Across the United States, one in five adults experiences mental illness each year and one in six U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder. Tragically, untreated mental illness has terrible consequences, leading to substance abuse and addiction, harm to oneself and others, and that most tragic of outcomes, suicide. Indeed, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34. In Connecticut someone dies by suicide every twenty-two hours.
To address these life-destroying issues, Holly has worked extensively with the Brian Dagle Foundation, the CT Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and SERAC (Southeast Region Action Council). Legislatively, Holly has co-sponsored bills mandating mental health parity in health insurance coverage, establishing a youth suicide prevention pilot program, and requiring insurance coverage for medication assisted treatment of opioid addiction.