Ten Minutes With Deirdre M. Daly
Connecticut's first female U.S. Attorney
Deirdre M. Daly was sworn in as U.S. Attorney for Connecticut last spring, the first woman to serve in this role. Daly, nominated by President Barack Obama, will serve a four-year-term. Daly’s rich lineage includes her father, Michael J. Daly, who won the Medal of Honor in World War II, and Daly’s mother, Maggie, was a prominent landscape designer and devoted volunteer at Bridegport’s the Kennedy Center. Her great-great-grand-father, was General Lew Wallace, author of Ben Hur.
What are your priorities, in your new role as the state’s U.S. attorney?
The clear top priority is national security investigations and cases focused on international and domestic terrorism, cyber crime, and trade secret cases. The next priority is violent crime, particularly homicides and shootings in the inner cities.
You have been called a “pro-active” U.S. attorney, because of your focus on such programs as Project Longevity, which works to curb gun violence and gang lifestyles in the state’s largest cities. How does it work?
Project Longevity, a partnership among the community, law enforcement, academia, and social-service providers, identifies the most violent groups and communicates the anti-violence message to members of those groups, offering services and support, while at the same time making clear that all of law enforcement will focus their attention on the next group responsible for homicides or shootings.
Your father, celebrated for his military valor, was also the namesake of the Michael J. Daly Trauma Center at St. Vincent’s. What was the most important lesson you learned from him?
I was very close to my father—I would not be lawyer if it were not for him. He was this great hero at a very young age; he landed at Omaha beach on D-Day at 19. The stories of his bravery are legendary, but he rarely spoke of it—emphasizing that the true heroes are those that never came home. He would prefer to be remembered for his devotion to Saint Vincent’s Medical Center. His greatest lesson was to aim high and not give up—that everyone can make a difference.
Your mother, Maggie, was a noted landscape designer. Do you garden?
My mother was a passionate and immensely talented gardener. We live in my parents’ house, and my mother planted a number of perennial gardens including a rose garden and large vegetable garden. We are simplifying the gardens and determined to keep them going.
You have taken a very active role in supporting the Kennedy Center in Bridgeport. Why is your work there so important to you?
My brother, Michael, has special needs, as he was born brain-damaged. The best doctors at the time told my parents that he would never walk or talk. He runs half-marathons and is extremely social now. The Kennedy Center has given so much to my brother and many others with special needs.
Where are your favorite places in Fairfield?
We love kayaking in Long Island Sound. My father, our sons, and I all attended Dwight Elementary School so it is a special spot for us.