Rob Simmons Biography

Robert Ruhl “Rob” Simmons

Stonington First Selectman

Robert R. “Rob” Simmons, 72, was sworn in as First Selectman on November 16th, 2015 at the Stonington Community Center on Cutler Street in Stonington. Previously he had served on the Board of Selectmen replacing Stonington’s first female Selectman, Glee McAnanly, on September 20, 2014.

In 1985 Simmons was an unsuccessful candidate for Stonington Selectman. Thereafter he chaired the Stonington Board of Police Commissioners for two years and the Stonington Republican Town Committee for four years.

From 1991-2001, Rob served in the Connecticut General Assembly representing the 43rd District which includes the towns of Stonington and North Stonington.  He was on the Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee.

Simmons served as Connecticut’s 2nd District Congressman from 2001-2007.  The district includes 65 towns in the eastern half of the state, stretching from the Massachusetts border to Long Island Sound, and including all of the Rhode Island Border with Connecticut.

As a member of the Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and Transportation Committees in the U.S. House, Rob was active in supporting the US Coast Guard, veterans, defense manufacturing and transportation projects for Connecticut. He served as Chairman of the Veterans Health and Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittees.

In 2005 he joined Governor M. Jodi Rell on “Team Connecticut” to save the Naval Submarine Base New London from closure.

In February 2007, Rob was nominated by Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell to become Connecticut’s first Business Advocate, and he was subsequently confirmed unanimously by both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly.  He served until December 2008.

He has served as Vice President of the Stonington Historical Society, Chairman of the Board of the Regional Multicultural Magnet School Foundation in New London, Chairman of the Board of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy in East Hartford and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Stonington Community Center.

Rob enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a Private, graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1967, and spent 19 months in Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Star Medals.  In 1969 he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, working as an Operations Officer for a decade, including five years on assignment in East Asia.

In 1979, Rob left the CIA to join the staff of Senator John H. Chafee (R-Rhode Island).  In 1981, he was assigned to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as Senator Chafee’s Professional Staff Member.  He was subsequently named Staff Director of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee by Chairman Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) – a position he held from November 1981 through February 1985.

Rob has served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence Officer since 1970, retiring as Colonel in 2003 with over 37 years of active and reserve service.  His last assignment was Commander of the 434th Military Intelligence (MI) Detachment (Strategic) affiliated with Yale University and located in New Haven, CT.

In 1996, Rob’s unit received the Reserve Officers Association’s Outstanding USAR Small Unit Award as the best small unit in the Nation.  In 1998, Rob received the Knowlton Award for “Integrity, Moral Character, Professional Competence and Selflessness” in recognition of his contributions to the Military Intelligence Corps.