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Now An Incumbent, Porter Gets A Unanimous Nod

by Diana Li | May 21, 2014 7:48 am

(8) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Politics, Newhallville, Prospect Hill, Campaign 2014

Diana Li Photo What a difference nine days made.

Robyn Porter served that number of days as the state representative from the 94th General Assembly District after winning a surprisingly convincing victory in a five-way special election in the waning days of the just-ended legislation session.

Now she has to run all over again to run for the seat. This time, instead of dividing into numerous factions, Democrats from both Hamden and New Haven united to nominate her, without opposition, to run a full term.

That nomination took place at a Democratic Party convention held Tuesday night at East Rock School. Porter, now the incumbent, not a largely unknown first-term office-seeker, won the nod for the 94th District. Since redistricting, the district covers both Hamden and parts of New Haven, including Newhallville, Prospect Hill, and parts of Yale downtown.

The convention was held to nominate candidates for districts that represent more than one city or town. The convention also nominated New Haven state Rep. Roland Lemar for another term in the 96th District (which now includes part of East Haven) and state Rep. Louis Esposito Jr. in 114th District, which mostly covers West Haven but includes a slice of New Haven’s Hill neighborhood. All three nomination were uncontested.

When a special election was called for last month to fill the 94th District seat (its occupant, Gary Holder-Winfield, had moved up to a state Senate seat), Democrats couldn’t even get it together to nominate anyone at a convention. (Read about that confusing night here.) Then Porter, with the help of a grassroots team she assembled plus volunteers from the communications workers union, where she’s employed, emerged victorious in a five-way race in the special election, and raced up to Hartford to serve in the final days of this year’s law-making session.

“It was an opportunity to get my feet wet and it was really crazy. I was thrown into the middle of everything, but other representatives were really supportive and helpful,” Porter, a single mom who lives in Newhallville, said Tuesday night about that short stint at the Capitol.

Holder-Winfield (at left in photo with Porter and city Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Mauro Jr.) showed up at Tuesday night’s convention and helped take photos of Porter with her supporters and family. He said he was “very happy” she won and will be supporting her in the fall.

“It’s not easy coming in after a special election, especially with just nine days left to go,” Holder-Winfield said. “But she really has been immersing herself in the legislation and following what’s been going on. … She’s handled it phenomenally, and I don’t give out praise all the time.”

Other representatives at Tuesday’s convention echoed Holder-Winfield’s sentiments.

Rep. Lemar, praised Porter’s willingness to work hard and learn how to navigate her job. He said she “really did her homework” getting to understand the processes and the legislation they were looking at, and that given her unique circumstances, she has done an “outstanding” job.

Rep. Esposito, (pictured) said that Porter adjusted well and that many other representatives are willing to serve as her mentors.

In the vote for Porter’s nomination, New Haven had 12 delegates and Hamden, eight. Although they all voted unanimously in the end to support Porter’s run for the seat, two of them first nominated a Hamden candidate, Berita Rowe-Lewis, to the seat.

Rowe-Lewis, a Hamden councilwoman, was one of the four other candidates to run for the seat earlier in April. She came in second and was in a position to run again for the state representative seat if she chose. She declined, though, when her name was put into play Tuesday night.  She said that for personal reasons, she decided not to run.

Ron Osokow, the Hamden delegate who nominated Rowe-Lewis, said that he felt she deserved a nomination because of her hard work in April’s race and her work with constituents in Hamden. However, he said he thinks Porter will make a great representative, and that her involvement with labor will help her advocate for “hard-working people who need all the help they can get.”

New Haven Town Chair Mauro said that he was glad things worked out the way they did.

“[Porter] showed that she wasn’t just a candidate from one side but from all sides. She deserves a lot of credit for bridging gaps, and I think the unanimous vote today was a really good showing of that.”

And as for Porter’s plans for next term if she wins?

“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” Porter said. “I’m not really sure how it should happen, but I do know I’ve got a lot of homework to do.”

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posted by: Threefifths on May 21, 2014  8:11am

Like I said she will be part of the machine.People wake up.We must put a end to this
crooked two party system.We must get rid of these crooked judas goat sell the people out town committees.We must demand Proportional Representation now Term Limits and IRV Voting.

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on May 21, 2014  11:50am

Robyn is an amazing woman! Smart and energetic and truly truly concerned about the folks she represents. She’s not a whiner, or arm chair Monday morning quarterback. She works hard and is not afraid of how hard the work is. She is inspiring and honorable and an all around lovely person.

To those who want more than a two party system… you have to be willing to get out there and make it happen.  Announcing the need for another system is not the same as getting off your ass to make it happen.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 21, 2014  2:53pm

3/5ths I am going to agree with babz on this one. I personally am happy to see she will be hopfully staying there. And Robin is an independent women that has support non-party candidates…she has support a candidate because of who they are. So I am positive she will continue to be that independent minded women.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 21, 2014  4:07pm

The setting forth of ideas is an EXTREMELY important aspect of our democracy.  Thoughtful consideration should ALWAYS precede action. 

Unfortunately, too many people in our community, including the so-called “thought leaders” either don’t know or simply don’t appreciate this principle.

Thank you 3/5ths for giving us the chance to THINK about the ideas you put forth.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 22, 2014  8:37am

I like Porter, the person. The jury is still out on my love affair with Porter, the politician.

The Demo machine cranking out an unanimous endorsement means nothing. The Machine would endorse a ham sandwich if its the incumbent with a “D” behind it - even more likely if there’s a “U” for union behind it.

The pols occupying these seats then hurt the people that put them in office - record setting debt, record setting tax increases on our families, our businesses and employers - even hospitals that provide our healthcare. They vote to give special corporations a free ride on taxes and give these same corporations tens of millions of dollars of our tax money when they don’t need it.

Porter talks about the need for jobs. Government doesn’t create jobs. It creates an favorable environment that fosters job creation. One of the dumbest statements ever made by a politician was our current Sec of State who when running for that office the first time, said she was going to create jobs.

Other than that, Porter can make sure the state budget is really balanced and that transparency actually is practiced and understood - and strengthened. What has happened across the last two sessions ought to be criminal.

posted by: Threefifths on May 22, 2014  10:04am

posted by: Noteworthy on May 22, 2014 9:37am

I like Porter, the person. The jury is still out on my love affair with Porter, the politician.

The Demo machine cranking out an unanimous endorsement means nothing. The Machine would endorse a ham sandwich if its the incumbent with a “D” behind it - even more likely if there’s a “U” for union behind it.

The pols occupying these seats then hurt the people that put them in office - record setting debt, record setting tax increases on our families, our businesses and employers - even hospitals that provide our healthcare. They vote to give special corporations a free ride on taxes and give these same corporations tens of millions of dollars of our tax money when they don’t need it.

Homerun.In fact a snake is nice until it bites you.All you have to do is look at the pictures.It shows the machine.And not only do they vote to give special corporations a free ride on taxes and give these same corporations tens of millions of dollars of our tax money.Some of them pocket our tax money.And we know them by name.

posted by: FacChec on May 22, 2014  11:37am

Holder-Winfield, Roland Lemar and city Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Mauro Jr. Serve as the vanguard for the indoctrination of Robyn Porter into the fold. Later, she will receive her play book from Looney himself.

If Ms Porter thinks she can be an independent thinker/doer, she needs to seek advice no further than Holder-Winfield who started out independent and wound up in the democratic folding tent, in order to become state senator.

Sad, but true.

posted by: Threefifths on May 22, 2014  5:48pm

posted by: FacChec on May 22, 2014 12:37pm

Holder-Winfield, Roland Lemar and city Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Mauro Jr. Serve as the vanguard for the indoctrination of Robyn Porter into the fold. Later, she will receive her play book from Looney himself.

Homerun.

“Politicians: Pinocchios with nose jobs.”
― Bauvard, The Darkness of Nature

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