NORWALK, Conn. Anna Duleep has been chosen to lead Norwalk's Democrats on the Common Council as majority leader, according to a statement. One of only three women on the 15-member council, she is also of Asian descent, leading Democrats to think that they may be making history by appointing her.
Duleep, who served on the council in 2009, said she sees her new role as a way to reach out to the greater Norwalk community as well as forge bridges with her fellow Common Council members.
"As the only female serving in the Democratic caucus, I am mindful of representing strong Democratic women whose opinions may not match up exactly with my own," she said. "They are counting on me to raise important points for discussion with other caucus members."
Duleep was appointed by a unanimous Norwalk Democratic Town Committee vote to fill Councilman Douglas Sutton's term upon his retirement in 2009. She became the first woman of Indian descent to serve on the Common Council. It had been nearly three decades since an Indian man, Councilman Ram Hingorani, had been elected in Norwalk.
Duleep did not win election to the council in that fall's election. She was the second highest vote getter of 10 candidates in this year's Common Council at-large race, easily winning a seat.
"I am told I may be the first majority leader of Asian descent of any gender identity elected to a leadership position by her caucus." Duleep said. "I am ever mindful of the responsibility inherent in being the first. Young Norwalkers of various Asian backgrounds may decide public service is an option that is open to them, simply because they see somebody who looks like them in the council chambers."
She plans to focus on areas of common interest to all Common Council members and Mayor Richard Moccia, she said. "The election is behind us," she said. "Although Mayor Moccia and I have disagreed on several issues, we share a commitment to early-childhood education. So that is where I will focus first in creating a working relationship with Mayor Moccia."
Duleep credits Moccia with appointing her to serve on the board of directors of the South Western Regional Planning Agency in 2007. Duleep's four-year term expired this month.
Prior to becoming director of Duleep Educational Coaching, LLC, Duleep was a math teacher at public schools in Bridgeport and Westport.Her classroom teaching experience is good training for managing a caucus full of talented, passionate advocates, she said.
"Democrats are known as a 'big tent' party," Duleep said. "We don't expect to agree on every point, but we stick together on basic principles like investing in education, ensuring fair access to opportunity, and promoting realistic development that enhances Norwalk's gifts."
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