Correction, 12:30 p.m.:Link was misidentified.
NORWALK, Conn. – District 140 voters have three candidates to choose from to pick a successor to State Rep. Bruce Morris:
- Travis Simms, the Democratic candidate
- John Flynn, the Republican candidate and Independent Party candidate
- Colin Hosten, the Working Families Party candidate
Simms, a 10-year veteran of the Common Council, touts his home-grown roots and his victory in the Democratic primary against Hosten, a newcomer who serves on the Human Relations Commission, as reasons he should be the winner. Flynn says he is fighting for ethical and fiscal responsibility in City government; Hosten’s website declares that he is a “Democrat who will work for ALL of us!”
Simms has been endorsed by Morris; Hosten’s endorsements include those from Mayor Harry Rilling, former Mayor Bill Collins and Common Council members Eloisa Melendez (D-District A) and Chris Yerinides (D-District A).
Flynn is said to be hoping that Hosten and Simms will split the vote in the heavily Democratic district, opening the door for him to enter the Statehouse.
District 140 is the only Norwalk race not to feature the candidates meeting for a debate. NancyOnNorwalk has video of Simms and Hosten addressing voters at the district’s Democratic caucus; Flynn has a lively Facebook page.
Here is a summary of the candidates, and links to previous stories:
“I am a candidate that was born and raised here. There’s no doubt that I love this city more than anybody,” Simms said in May, explaining that he had “carried the city on his back” by becoming a “world champion boxer.”
Simms, 47, is known as a former World Boxing Association super welterweight champ, with a road named after him in South Norwalk. He lists his occupation as a professional athlete and trainer.
“Travis began his political career in 2008 as a volunteer for the Democratic political party in Norwalk. His first election was for Democratic Town Committee Member representing District B, followed by Norwalk Common Council Member representing South Norwalk in 2009,” his website states.
Simms’ current stint on the Common Council began in 2013. He has won reelection handily in subsequent elections, despite several well-known run-ins with the law, most recently an assault charge for which he was found not guilty. Simms has no record of convictions on the state judicial website.
He has been married to Sandra Stokes for more than 23 years, and was inspired by longtime Norwalk politician and civic leader Otha Brown Jr., and Mary T. “Bea” Brown, an advocate for the city’s poor and minority residents, to seek public office, his website states.
He has served as Minority Leader; Chairman of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee; Co-Chair of Personnel Committee and member of the ad hoc Planning Committee that scrutinized GGP request to build a mall on the former Spinnaker property, a.k.a. “95/7,” the first step in approving The SoNo Collection. He has also served on Health, Welfare and Public Safety, Planning, and Ordinance and is currently on Finance/Claims, Public Works, and Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs.
His record includes opposition to the plan to build a magnet school on the Nathaniel Ely property and opposition to the City’s purchase of the South Norwalk Community Center’s half of 98 South Main St.
“We are fighting to sustain and improve the lives of EVERYONE in the city,” Simms’ website states. “Travis will use his 10 years of experience on the Common Council, and lifetime commitment of advocating for Norwalk to champion for the city in Hartford. There is power in numbers, and while they don’t believe our vote counts, we will continue to fight. We’ve done it before and we will do it again.”
“I think from a state perspective, I can go up there and really influence some laws, that really protect those people and hold those accountable, whether it’s municipalities or developers,” Simms said in May.
“I am running because I care about the vitality of my community in Norwalk, CT,” his Facebook page states.
“I am a 20-year self-employed home improvement contractor and resident of Norwalk with two children educated in Norwalk public schools,” his Facebook bio states. “I have an MBA in Finance and an undergraduate degree from Villanova. One son is a senior at Villanova and just was offered a job at GM upon graduation. He was a first round draft choice. My second son is going to be a sophomore at Norwalk High in the NECA program, who just got three straight A’s in his first three college courses. In college at age 15. Go Ryan.”
He also states: “Some of my key issues are: the ethical and fiscal responsibility of Norwalk City Government; the contamination of SONO and the current asthma epidemic; the upcoming Walk Bridge; the potential economic impact of the new mall, the financial collapse of Wall Street; Firetree; and much more. I have 20 published issues. I will try to stay on target. I believe in due process and equal protection under the law.”
Flynn has made many allegations of corruption and malfeasance, and has filed multiple unsuccessful lawsuits, representing himself. Charges include an assertion that Stamford Police facilitated a murder for hire scheme against him and that Norwalk Police are helping to cover up 300,000 felonies, falsifying a 17-year money laundering investigation; he is currently suing Firetree LTD and Rilling, again alleging police malfeasance.
Flynn states that this courthouse experience helps qualify him for the legislature, writing, “I am an experienced Pro-se litigator. I have filed 250 court cases in Superior Court and Federal Court, and 50 appeals in the Appeals Court. Judges have ruled on cases in which the Judges themselves were appointed by the Defendant, our Governor. Fst cv 5014296.”
He has been vocally protesting alleged Norwalk Housing Authority improprieties, alleging pollution in Ryan Park and complaining that dust from stone crushing activities is causing childhood asthma in South Norwalk.
Flynn is the only Norwalk legislative candidate not to qualify for Citizens Election Program funding; he did not submit an application, the Secretary of State’s office said. A post on Flynn’s Facebook page, dated Aug. 23, states, “I need 70 more signatures from registered Republicans. Where are you? I can (cq) get funded without signatures. Contact me.”
Flynn did not respond to a Sept. 12 email from NancyOnNorwalk asking about the CEP program.
“The Democratic vote was split right down the middle between a guy with a very questionable past and a show tune singer,” Flynn states on Facebook. “The vote in November is a three way. If you are reluctant to go with the party, abstain from voting. Abstaining is a vote. Be a Patriot.”
On Friday, he wrote, “Global warming is real, and so is the storm these Democrats have created. Break the cycle. Find better Democrats, I can’t.”
“I was not born and raised in Norwalk but I think I have the second best distinction was that I got to choose to make Norwalk my home,” Hosten said in May.
“We’ve been waiting 10 years for certain Council members to make a difference. What are we still waiting for?” he said in a video recently posted on his Facebook page.
As a newcomer without Simms’ name recognition, Hosten earned 47.8 percent of the Democratic primary vote.
Hosten, 36, lists his occupation as Fairfield University lecturer.
Hosten “has been a lecturer in the undergraduate Core Writing program at Fairfield University for several years,” his website states. “He currently serves as a member of the Human Relations Commission for the city of Norwalk, helping to oversee and investigate complaints of discrimination with regard to housing, public accommodations, and employment. He is also a board member of the Triangle Community Center, which offers life-saving support to vulnerable young people in and around Norwalk.”
“Through his work as a leader and organizer in his community, as well as his volunteer service to the city of Norwalk, Colin has shown that he has what it takes to make an exceptional State Representative,” Rilling is quoted as saying. “Colin is a smart, creative, independent thinker, who will put Democratic values first in representing the people of the 140th district.”
“Colin Hosten has grown to be a great asset for Norwalk,” Collins is quoted as saying. “As a college teacher and community association president he provides a kind of leadership that has too often been lacking in the 140th District. I expect that his energy and initiative will offer a real surprise to the party bigwigs in Hartford when he gets there.”
He has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Run for Something, CT Against Gun Violence, Connecticut Police and Fire Union (local 74 and S-15). He given an Honor Roll designation from the Connecticut Education Association and is a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense candidate of distinction.
“Colin has worked at the grassroots level in Norwalk for ten years as a community leader,” his website states. “He’s pushed for more stop signs around heavily trafficked areas near local schools. He’s fought for greater controls and oversight of industrial pollution in South Norwalk. He helped with the effort to get the Norwalk Tree Alliance to donate and plant more trees in South Norwalk along Woodward Ave. He’s also been an active member of the Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations.”