NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Democrats rallied Saturday morning in support of Andres Ayala, the state representative from Bridgeport who is seeking to become the first Latino state senator from Connecticut.
Ayala is running for state senate in Connecicut's 23rd District, which comprises the Bridgeport area, including parts of Stratford. He will not be on the Norwalk ballot.
Latino city council members from Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport attended the event along with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, Hartford mayor Pedro Segarra and Norwalk councilman Warren Pena, who spoke in support of Ayala.
“Ayala will make history when he becomes the first Latino senator from Connecticut,” Himes said. He implored Ayala to work on issues that impact the Latino community, including immigration. Himes lauded the Latino community for its support of family issues, noting, "The Latino community understands the importance of family and helps each other out, unlike the Republicans under the Ryan plan, which says you’re on your own.”
Ayala spoke to the audience in Spanish and English.
"Buenos dias," he said, "We represent the people who don't have a voice and need the government to step up to insure the call." He said he would support the homeless and people who work paycheck to paycheck. "The future of our country rests on this election and I'm ready to do it," he said.
Pena said that the population of Norwalk is 25 percent Latino. “There are 22,000 Latino residents – 5,000 registered voters, 1,800 Democrats and 750 Republicans; 2,700 are unaffiliated, and we have to make sure they vote Democratic this year,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to get out the vote.”
Heidi Godleski, a Norwalk Democrat who taught Spanish in Norwalk public schools and currently teaches adult education, said Ayala “has a lot of energy, enthusiasm and dedication and he’s open to doing a lot of hard work. The time has come for Latinos to enter politics and make things better for the people.”