WESTON, Conn. Gayle Weinstein's parents always taught her to follow her passion.
"Most parents encourage children when they're in college to find something that can be a career path. ... My parents have always told me to just follow what you're interested in and that really became a life-long lesson for me," said Weinstein. "My life has gone in a lot of directions, but it was always driven by a passion." And for the past 14 years her passion has been to help people in the community.
Weinstein has served as Weston's first selectman since 2009 and is running for re-election in November. She first joined the board of selectmen in 2007.
"Becoming a selectman, then first selectman, was just a natural progression of my passion and interest in helping the community," said Weinstein. "I wasn't looking to get into politics I was just looking to help the town at a different level."
Weinstein is a volunteer with Hadassah, the largest Jewish women's association. She was chapter president and worked on advocacy for women "where my passion started to blossom," she said. She helped advocate for women's health and the stem cell coalition. She also organized a lobbying day for emergency contraception to be made available in emergency rooms.
Weinstein co-chaired the Memorial Day fair for two years and was PTO president at Weston Intermediate School the first year it was built.
"I do think it's important to follow your passion. For both of my kids, their passion is music right now," said Weinstein. "I'm supportive of what they want to do."
Weinstein grew up in New Jersey and lived there until she went to college. Growing up, Weinstein said she was a "typical teen." She enjoyed spending time with her friends, reading, playing the piano and soccer. In high school, she was involved with the Model UN and helped with school plays. "I was a science nerd," she said. "I loved anthropology and anatomy every aspect of trying to find human origins."
She attended Brandeis University, where she studied biology and chemistry. She received a master's degree in physical anthropology from Stoney Brook University. Weinstein decided not to pursue her doctorate degree and moved to New York City and worked as a personnel recruiter for seven years.
When she got pregnant with her twin boys, she and her husband left the city to live in Weston.
"Weston is my home. It has felt like home since the second I moved here," said Weinstein.
Weinstein enjoys playing tennis, golf, mah-jong, skiing with her family and time with family and friends. In Weston, she likes to walk in her neighborhood and stop and talk to neighbors. She said she also enjoys walking with her husband at Devil's Den and the Aspetuck Land Trust properties.
The Daily Weston is profiling each of the candidates in the 2011 elections. You can find our stories here .
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