NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Democrats chose Eloisa Melendez as their leader for another two years, crediting her for recent successes.
“A lot of folks sometimes say actions speak louder than words,” Colin Hosten said at Monday’s Democratic Town Committee meeting on Zoom. “I think that’s the case. Eloisa is one of the most eloquent people in the DTC. We have the successes that our party has enjoyed in elections in 2020 and 21 to prove that, in very, very difficult and challenging times.”
Melendez first became chairwoman in 2020, taking over after long-time Chairman Ed Camacho stepped down. Democrats have dominated Norwalk politics since 2015, when Mayor Harry Rilling cruised to his first reelection and Democrats took the majority on the Common Council. The Norwalk Board of Education is entirely Democratic now and the last three municipal elections have seen only one Republican winning a Council seat.
Norwalk Dems have seen Statehouse success as well. Stephanie Thomas won District 143 in 2020, although it’s historically been Republican. State Rep. Lucy Dathan held off a challenge from former State Rep. Fred Wilms to retain the District 142 seat.
Monday’s DTC meeting was preceded by District E drama, an unprecedented primary for DTC seats. When the dust settled, the slate presented by the DTC in January had won every DTC slot.
They, and other DTC members, began their terms by electing officers in the sedate Zoom session. Jacquen Jordan-Byron was reelected vice chairwoman. Jordan Hensley took the recording secretary post; Darius Williams and Esther Murillo continued as co-corresponding secretaries. Pat Marshock continued as treasurer.
Hosten, who had been recording secretary, nominated Hensley.
Hensley “is a dedicated Democrat who has worked on campaigns both here in Connecticut, and in other states, including Iowa,” Hosten said. “I know him as somebody who has great eye for detail and fairness and accountability, all of which are essential qualities and a recording secretary.”
Melendez “has helped us carve a larger seat at the table for Norwalk when it comes to state politics,” Hosten said.
“She is an incredible mentor,” Jordan-Byron said. “I mean, she is a force to be reckoned with. …I learned so much under her leadership, and I know that she has nothing but the best will for anyone who wants to be part of this organization.”
Melendez thanked the group.
“The last time we were all together in person was March 9 of 2020, just days before everything shut down, and all of our lives changed. And I really didn’t know what that was going to mean, for the DTC, for our party for anything,” Melendez said. “But you know, for me at that moment, it was like the responsibility of leading our party. And together, we did it I, you know, we’ve been very successful.”
She said, “There’s still a lot of work to do, though, despite that success. … There’s no reason to become complacent, either. We have a lot of work to do.”
State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) also thanked everyone.
“You are the ones who give us support to get across the finish line,” he said. “So your job is very important, we value it, and you’re helping to make the city grow and flourish and be one of the best cities, if not the best city, which it is, in the entire state of Connecticut.”
Mayor Harry Rilling said, “I’ve been around for a long time in Norwalk, and I think this is the best team that I’ve ever seen. Whether it be a Republican team, whether it be a Democratic team, this is a team that is committed, dedicated and professional.”