NORWALK, Conn. — Kadeem Roberts is the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee’s choice to run for the District 137 State Representative seat, an open slot due to Chris Perone’s decision to retire.
Roberts prevailed over Nora Niedzielski-Eichner in a 10-7 vote at Monday’s DTC meeting. Roberts served on the Common Council from 2019 to 2021, declining to run for reelection due to a legal entanglement; Niedzielski-Eichner is in her first term.
Niedzielski-Eichner could collect signatures to force a primary contest with Roberts. She did not reply to a Monday email asking what her intentions are.
The boundaries of District 137 have changed due to redistricting. It includes segments of every municipal district, DTC Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez said; the new district is “smaller” than the previous 137, according to Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells. If you live on the Norwalk River, you’re probably in District 137. Much of East Norwalk is in 137 and it goes as far north as Mary’s Lane and Allen Street.
Roberts was arrested in December 2020 and charged with Assault in the Third Degree, Disorderly Conduct, and Interfering with a 911 call. The charges were dropped in September. The dismissal was “evidence that Kadeem is a true leader,” Attorney Darnell Crosland said at the time. “He did not speak ill of the process, he made no excuses, and as a man of integrity he allowed the system to play out. He truly believes as Lincoln once said, ‘no man is above the law and no man is below it, and we all must abide by it.’”
Jalin Sead nominated Roberts, noting that he was born and raised here, left to get an education but came back and intends to stay.
“Even after stepping down, he stayed consistent, always showing his face, always being around,” Sead said “He’s somebody who I’ve known most of my life, and he’s always cared about inclusion, equity in education for the kids … I think that he’s somebody who overcomes has overcome adversity, staying true to the democratic process. And he’s going to be a strong voice up in Hartford.”
“Kadeem has been a leader,” Charles Nystrom said, referring to Roberts’ “incredible positivity that he brings to everything that he does, and every event that he attends, and along with a lot of the issues that he cares about.”
Nystrom continued, “I think it’s very important for leaders to be trustworthy and to have integrity and Kadeem is absolutely a person of integrity and honesty. And he’s a person who keeps his word. And I think that those things along with all the issues that he supports, and cares about makes him very qualified to be our representative.”
Vicki Oatis nominated Niedzielski-Eichner.
“She has been a strong advocate for our schools and in our city and I’ve been really impressed with her engagement with many different city issues,” Oatis said. “… Her background in law and state government mean to me that she’s really prepared to speak up for the District of Hartford.”
Oatis listed issues she said Niedzielski-Eichner has identified as priorities: “affordable housing, responding to climate change, working with the rest of the delegation and more funding opportunities for Norwalk, small business support, easier voting.” She said Niedzielski-Eichner has the “commitment and skills” needed.
She said, “This is a really terrible and frightening year for women. I think it’s important to have women in Hartford fighting for our women and families and I feel Nora will be a strong voice for us.”
Jordan Hensley said he’s been involved with the DTC for a year and “she’s been in every single event.”
“Like Vicki said, I think she has the background and the experience and the skills to go right from day one, and be a great leader for Norwalk,” he said.
Melendez said the DTC is operating under the State Democratic Party’s COVID rules, meaning that only DTC members would be able to vote on the endorsement.
The vote was:
- Nicol Ayers
- Laoise King
- Rosa Murray
- Chuck Nystrom
- Fanny Osorio
- Kadeem Roberts
- Jalin Sead
- Beth Siegelbaum
- Johnny Mae Weldon
- Greg Burnett
- Vicki Oatis
- Diana Carpio
- Elizabeth Golden
- Jordon Hensley
- Diane Lauricella
- Jody Proct
- Pam Parkington
“I’m truly honored to serve 137th district at the state level,” Roberts said. “I’m ready to craft workable solutions for issues by combining the best ideas. I’m ready to represent the 137th district with the best interest of my constituents. My hard work and dedication will continue to allow me to remain compassionate and committed to the city of Norwalk.”