By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance
Meet Cara Passaro, Director of the Office of Government Affairs for Hartford HealthCare.
CARA PASSARO: When I graduated from college, I really wanted to work in politics. I ended up getting a job at the State Capitol. My now-husband was already living in Asylum Hill. We loved being so close to work, recreation, restaurants, and entertainment venues when we were in our 20s, and that hasn’t changed.
HOW HAVE YOU BECOME A PART OF HARTFORD?
CARA: Over the past 14 years, I’ve had a chance to work in and explore many of Hartford’s neighborhoods. I purchased a home here, attended the University of Connecticut School of Law, and my husband and I eloped on Sunrise Overlook in Elizabeth Park, with only our dog, Hartford Harry, there as a witness. Most days, I don’t have a reason to leave the city limits.
HOW HAS HARTFORD BECOME A PART OF WHO YOU ARE?
CARA: Being home for the past few months, I’ve really been able to appreciate my house and my neighborhood. I live in Hartford’s West End and it’s like no place I’ve ever lived. It’s a real community and people take pride in that. I know most of my neighbors—they’re politically and civically engaged. And, there’s always something happening here—happy hours, farmers’ markets, neighborhood cleanup, plant exchange, Art Sled Derby, DineAround, Porchfest or Wizbanger event, and keeping our neighborhood food pantries and Little Free Libraries stocked.
WHAT MAKES HARTFORD UNIQUE?
CARA: My favorite Hartford experiences happen in Bushnell Park: EnvisionFest, the Pump House Beer Garden, lunchtime walks to the food trucks, Yoga in the Park, Monday Night Jazz, the Hartford Marathon (half marathon, in my case), the Women’s March, and witnessing the many groups that come to express themselves and their beliefs. These gatherings bring the diversity and culture of the city together.
HOW DO YOU “TELL THE STORY” OF HARTFORD?
CARA: I think it’s important to be an ambassador for Hartford. I grew up in a Connecticut suburb, where I had to drive at least a half an hour to go to a museum, concert, or a yoga class. Here, I can do almost anything within a 10-minute walk or drive from my home or office.
I love being able to walk downtown for a meeting, errand, happy hour, ballgame, free workout at the Riverfront, or an event at one of the city’s many restaurants, breweries, universities, museums, and cultural spaces. I’ve enjoyed exploring many of the city’s neighborhoods on foot and through its unique food offerings. This story has made me successful in recruiting other suburbanites to our city.