NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Republicans have endorsed Luis Estrella as their candidate for District 137 State Representative, capping off a Tuesday fundraiser.
On Monday, Norwalk Democrats endorsed former Common Council member Kadeem Roberts for the post. Council member Nora Niedzielski-Eichner (D-At Large) had also sought the candidacy and could challenge Roberts through a primary.
The Republican Town Committee could have endorsed a candidate in their meeting last week, but at that point, RTC Chairman Fred Wilms said no candidates for the 137th and the 140th Districts had been found. When audience member Rev. Johnny Cardamone objected, Wilms agreed to keep the meeting in recess so the group could reconvene if candidates were found. The deadline for an endorsement was Tuesday, and Republicans did not put forth a candidate to challenge Democratic District 140 State Rep. Travis Simms.
Estrella’s candidacy comes four days after 18-year Democratic incumbent Chris Perone announced his retirement. No Republicans have represented District 137 in decades, Wilms said.
Estrella said Tuesday that he was “thinking about” running before Perone’s announcement, as Wilms sought a candidate. He and his wife have three children who are less than two years old – 19-month-old twins and a four-month-old – and, “There was a lot of logistical things that I had to sort out with my wife before I could decide.” He understands he’ll need to do much door knocking – that was part of the “logistics” involved in running, he said. “I grew up in a single mom household. So you know, that’s different than what most people are used to around you.”
Hailing from Paterson N.J., Estrella is a 21-year Norwalk resident who works part-time for the Recreation and Parks Department as a parks maintenance supervisor. He is founder and executive director of the Cleaner Connecticut Coalition (a non-profit whose mission is to restore, maintain, or develop public land for recreational or aesthetic purposes), he said when he ran unsuccessfully for Common Council last year in the heavily Democratic District A.
Norwalk deserves better representation, someone who is “diligent,” “willing to put in the work” and “truly wants to make a difference,” he said to NancyOnNorwalk.
“I feel like there’s a change coming,” Estrella said. “Hopefully, people don’t just vote along party lines but take the time to look at which candidate best represents the district, at least the majority of the district, whether he be Democrat or whether he be Republican. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if he’s a Republican or a Democrat (if) he’s a terrible politician who’s not going to do anything. People should just really look at the ideals of the individual instead of the party lines.”
Estrella told Republicans, “One of many reasons I’m running is… Norwalk deserves proactive leadership, not someone who’s just going to always be reactive. So that’s how you fall behind. You don’t accomplish anything. We always react to everything we do. The Norwalk community needs diligent representation.”
The State Representative should be “someone who has proven that they’re actually invested in the city, wants to improve the city, not just ‘it’d be another notch in their political belt,’” he said. “Norwalk needs someone who so represents at the least the majority, not everyone, but at least the majority of the people here, you know, the values, common values, hard work, you know, proper leadership.”