NORWALK, Conn. -- The League of Women Voters of Norwalk sent a brief questionnaire to all Norwalk candidates in the Aug. 12 primary elections.
The following are the responses of Democratic candidate for state representative for the 140th District, Warren Peña.
Peña, an at-large member of the Norwalk Common Council, is challenging incumbent state Rep. Bruce Morris in the primary. Read Morris' responses here on the Daily Voice.
Why did you decide to run for state representative, as opposed to some other office?
I’m from South Norwalk, and for years I have realized that our voice, the voice of the community in South Norwalk, is not being heard in Hartford. The work that I have done on the Common Council has shown me that the problems we face cannot be solved locally unless we have proper representation in Hartford. To make our voice heard, I believe we need a change in leadership, a voice that is not afraid to tackle the tough issues.
Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement, and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good legislator?
My experience working with the South Norwalk Community Center and serving on the Common Council has shown me the value of reaching out to everyone affected by an issue, and bringing communities together. I have learned that fighting for an issue means knowing precisely the concerns of the community. That listening is first and action is second. The only way to make progress is through proactive leadership. The divisions caused by being inattentive or reactive to everyone’s needs leaves us all in a situation where nothing improves.
If you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?
First, we desperately need state dollars from Hartford to fully fund our schools and I intend to fight for those funds. Most importantly it is a question of giving our children and teachers a chance to succeed. Beyond that it will finally bring down our property taxes which will help every home owner in the district.
Second, I have always believed in the need for better access to early childhood education. I will fight to secure greater funding for early childhood programs and I will fight for additional funds to expand pre-K enrollment. Our work in bringing in funds to the heart of the district for the benefit of the district, to receive more programs and services through the South Norwalk Community Center is an example of how I have worked well with others to accomplish common goals for our children. The After the Bell program and the new construction at the South Norwalk Community Center will give the children of the district a learning environment needed in our community.
Third, we need to foster local economic development in the district. An important part of economic development is making sure that everyone in the economy gets an opportunity to rise equally through hard work, so I will fight to increase access to job training programs in the district, resume building classes, adult education, support programs for new small business owners and other adult competency programs.