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Politics

Connecticut Black and Latino Caucus Names Leadership

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Connecticut House Democrats
Norwalk State Rep. Bruce Morris.
"Our caucus takes its job seriously as we advocate for all people of Connecticut."<br><em>Rep. Bruce Morris</em>

Norwalk State Rep. Bruce Morris will be leading the General Assembly's Black and Latino Caucus in the new session. 

Morris, a Democrat who is a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, was chosen by his peers in the General Assembly to head the group. 

"The Black and Latino Caucus plays a very important role in shaping major policy initiatives, including education reform, and I am honored that my colleagues have chosen me to chair the caucus," Morris said in a press release. "We have a significant number of experienced lawmakers, and our caucus takes its job seriously as we advocate for all people of Connecticut." 

More about Morris from The Connecticut Mirror:

Morris has been in the legislature for eight years and represents Norwalk. He is a minister at a church in Norwalk and human relations officer for the Norwalk school system. He was honored in 2009 by the NAACP for raising concerns about how minority defendants were being treated in Superior Court in Norwalk. He is also an elected executive board member of the National Caucus of Black State Legislators. Morris formerly served as vice president of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors. Morris was the founder and owner of the largest black-owned electrical company in the state.

Meriden Rep. Hilda Santiago, a Democrat who is an assistant majority leader in the House, will serve as vice chairman of the caucus. She is also vice-chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

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Connecticut House Democrats
Meriden Rep. Hilda Santiago in a file photo.
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Hartford Rep. Minnie Gonzalez.
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Middletown Rep. Matt Lesser.

"It is a great honor to be selected by my peers for this position," Santiago said. "I look forward to supporting our new chairman, as well as the entire caucus, as we build upon our past accomplishments and service to our communities and state." 

Hartford Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, the House chief majority whip, was selected as the caucus treasurer. Middletown Rep. Matthew Lesser, co-chairman of the Banking Committee, was named secretary. Both are also Democrats.

"The need to truly represent all people of Connecticut is greater than ever and I am eager to help our caucus use its influence to make our state a better place to live," said Gonzalez, who is the House chief majority whip.

"I want to thank my colleagues for choosing me to be the caucus secretary," said Lesser, who is House chairman of the Banks Committee. “I believe that this caucus is critical to addressing issues that affect hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents, particularly residents of our cities."

The Connecticut Mirror noted that all but two of the members of the caucus are Democrats. From the article:

Rep. Morris said the two Republicans Rep. Aundré Bumgardner, R-Groton, who is black, and Sen. Art Linares, R-Westbrook, a Latino, asked to join the caucus Friday.

A press release from the caucus lists members in leadership positions in the House and Senate, below:

House members in leadership positions

Patricia Billie Miller (D-Stamford), deputy speaker; 
Larry Butler (D-Waterbury), co-chair of Housing Committee;
Ernie Hewett (D-New London), assistant majority leader;
Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven), deputy majority leader;
Douglas McCrory (D-Hartford), deputy majority leader; 
Ezequiel Santiago (D-Bridgeport), deputy majority whip;
Robert Sanchez (D-New Britain), assistant majority leader and vice-chairman of the Education Committee; 
Charles Stallworth (D-Bridgeport), assistant majority whip and vice-chairman of the Banks Committee; 
Toni Walker (D-New Haven), co-chair of the Appropriations Committee;
Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford), deputy majority leader;
Brandon McGee (D-Hartford), assistant majority leader; 
Angel Arce (D-Hartford, assistant majority leader;
Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford), vice chair of Commerce and Executive and Legislative Nominations committees;
Victor Cuevas (D-Waterbury), vice chair of Labor and Public Employees Committee.

Senate members in leadership positions

Eric D. Coleman (D-Bloomfield), deputy president pro tempore, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee and vice-chairman of the Public Safety and Security Committee;
Gary Holder-Winfield (D-New Haven), assistant majority leader and co-chairman of the Housing Committee and Labor and Public Employees Committee;
Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport), majority whip and co-chair of Human Services Committee.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.