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CT Votes for Animals’ Executive Director Announces her Retirement

CT Votes for Animals’ (CVA) executive director, Jo-Anne Basile, has announced she will be retiring at the end of 2023, kicking off a leadership transition process that will occur over the next six months. Jo-Anne’s decision to retire will bring to a close a remarkable career of eight years of service to CT Votes for Animals.


Over the past eight years, first as its lobbyist and then as its first executive director, Jo-Anne has guided the organization to a position of strength, setting the stage for a thriving and successful future.  Jo-Anne brought her remarkable skills of persuasion and policy to advocating for animals after a long career in Washington D.C. working in the U.S. Congress and as an industry lobbyist.

“Jo-Anne’s visionary leadership, dedication, and keen political acumen have been integral to the evolution of Connecticut Votes for Animals,” says Susan Linker, CVA’s board chair. “Thanks to her tireless and enduring efforts, CVA has become the respected, effective, and trusted organization that it is today.” 

During Jo-Anne’s tenure, CT Votes for Animals has experienced enormous growth -- from a small volunteer organization to a fully operational advocacy organization with a significant presence at the State Capitol and thousands of supporters in every representative district in the state.


Over the past eight years, Jo-Anne has successfully guided CVA’s legislative initiatives including passage of Desmond’s Law, a new law to regulate private animal shelters, requiring adequate shelter for outside dogs, prohibiting leasing of dogs and cats and of course, the annual battle to stop bear hunting in the state.  Most importantly, everyone involved in CVA can feel gratified about its role in passing laws protecting animals and fighting against those that would do harm.


This year alone, despite relentless legislative hurdles, Jo-Anne led CVA’s army of animal advocates to several major wins, including a new law to combat animal cruelty - the first change to CT’s cruelty statutes in seven years. After nearly 50 years, updates to CT’s municipal shelter regulations were put into law to improve conditions for the animals living there. And for the second year, we succeeded in blocking a bill that would allow the commercial production and slaughter of rabbits for food.

Jo-Anne also instituted myriad outreach efforts for CVA’s supporters so they could hear directly from legislators and learn ways to navigate the advocacy process.  She initiated regional workshops, started the organization’s first Lobby Day at the Capitol, instituted the first and only “CVA Candidates Questionnaire” so supporters knew where legislative candidates stood on key animal issues when they walked into the voting booth, and established CVA’s Legislative Scorecard – the only recorded measure of how state legislators voted on animal bills. 

There is still much more to do but thanks to Jo-Anne’s leadership, CVA is well positioned to carry out the critical work ahead.  With an increased number of supporters and a strong and vibrant board of directors and advisory council, CVA is ready to tackle the coming challenges.


Jo-Anne will be leaving the proverbial big shoes to fill, and it will take some getting used to not seeing her as the “face” of CVA. No one has done more to speak up for animals in CT. 

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