© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We received reports that some iPhone users with the latest version of iOS cannot play audio via our website.
While we work to fix the issue, we recommend downloading the WSHU app.

Biden Selects Hartford Attorney To Head Advisory Council On Historic Preservation

Hartford Attorney Sara Bronin
Courtesy Sara Bronin
Hartford Attorney Sara Bronin has been nominated to head the U.S. Historic Preservation Council

Hartford architect and attorney, Sara Bronin, has been tapped by the Biden Administration to lead the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Bronin awaits confirmation from a committee, and then the full U.S. Senate, before she can start the work leading the national historic preservation council.

“It reviews federal undertakings, really big federal projects, and reviews what their impacts might be on historic properties. But it also has the opportunity to expand the topics, what it actually advises on,” Bronin said.

Bronin recently championed state zoning reform and co-founded the group Desegregate Connecticut, which helps make towns more racially and economically inclusive. She also was a professor at UConn Law, and most recently joined the College of Art Architecture and Planning at Cornell. But she says working with Preservation Connecticut paved the way for her nomination.

"Seeing the range of projects that we have, the potential for preservation to be an economic development tool, to help us understand our history, to connect us with tribal resources, all of that has given me different perspective, in addition to my academic perspective, that I hope will help me to be a good chair," Bronin said.

Bronin said one of her favorite examples of historic preservation is in her own backyard — Hartford’s Bushnell Park. It’s the nation’s oldest publicly funded park.

Bronin first heard the news of her nomination on a road trip to visit family in Texas for the first time since 2019.

"I was actually hanging out with my kids and I got the message and started getting texts from people and I was sitting at the community pool," Bronin said.

She was surprised, even though she knew she was under consideration for the top historic preservation job. It’s an extensive interview process: the usual references, but also financial disclosures and a background check by the FBI.

“Until it’s announced, the White House does not give you any indication that you will be the person that will be announced. I’m just grateful I made it through to the other side,” Bronin said.

A previous version of this story misidentified the name of the council.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.