NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Common Council members Doug Hempstead and Warren Peña have been selected to lead their caucuses heading into the New Year.
For Peña, an at-large freshman member of the body, the appointment as minority leader marks a first on two fronts. He is the first Latino council member selected as minority leader, and he will split the one-year tenure with fellow Democrat David Watts of District A. Peña will take the reins for the first six months, and Watts for the second six.
Peña and Watts are taking over the post from at-large member Anna Duleep, who said the two new leaders both wanted the role but worked out an amiable compromise.
“I look forward to the council having more open debates,” Peña said. “I also hope to be a voice for some in the city who haven’t been heard.”
Hempstead, an at-large Republican and longtime council member, returns as majority leader, and he said Tuesday he was honored to continue in the post.
“I hope our conversations continue in a manner that supports this city,” he told Mayor Richard Moccia, a fellow Republican, and the council.
That goal will be put to the test early as Hempstead and his party seek to smooth the frayed emotions of some members over the occasionally combative nature of the current council, which led to the resignation this week of Republican Council member Joanne T. Romano.
In discussing her reason for resigning, Romano cited her frustrations with “grandstanding” and “personal attacks” among the Republican and Democrat memberships.