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Norwalk DTC chooses Roberts for 137th seat

Kadeem Roberts campaigns in 2017, in this photo from his Facebook page.

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.

Shown in white is District 137.

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.”

Common Council member Nora Niedzielski-Eichner (D-At Large) speaks recently outside the Norwalk courthouse. (Harold F. Cobin)

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:

Roberts

  • Nicol Ayers
  • Laoise King
  • Rosa Murray
  • Chuck Nystrom
  • Fanny Osorio
  • Kadeem Roberts
  • Jalin Sead
  • Beth Siegelbaum
  • Johnny Mae Weldon
  • Greg Burnett

 

Niedzielski-Eichner

  • 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.”

District 137

5 comments

RingMaster May 24, 2022 at 7:03 am

This is truly shocking. Nora is a perfect fit for the 137th! Nora, please primary and win this for Norwalk! This offers the Rs an opportunity to show they still exist. Do they still exist? It may be time to file a Missing Party report with Norwalk PD…

Lisa Brinton May 24, 2022 at 8:10 am

Congratulations Kadeem. Now, as my potential rep, will you stand up for Norwalk or fall in line with the Dem party machine that continues to overdevelop & give tax credits to wealthy developers at the expense of our neighborhoods & schools? New bricks & mortar don’t count (just another form of contractor cronyism & FBI investigations) and doesn’t address the operating expenses of teaching reading & math to our 65% free & reduced lunch or 75% high need student population. Are you on Team Norwalk or Team Hartford?

John O'Neill May 24, 2022 at 8:48 am

Vicki Oatis said, “This is a really terrible and frightening year for women.
This is hyperbole at its’ best. The problem with politics is extreme comments like these.
Maybe some of these people should take a vacation this summer and visit Ukraine. Maybe they’d have a better idea of what “terrible” and “frightening” really is.

Piberman May 24, 2022 at 11:30 am

Lets encourage the candidates to take a break with the past and demand our major improvement in our public school system that comprises 70% of our City budget. Its a major embarrassment that most of our grads don’t meet CT Edu Dept graduation standards or never secure a 4 yr college degree.

Patrick Cooper May 24, 2022 at 3:19 pm

It should shake every resident in the 137 that under 20 people made this decision for thousands of residents. All 20 are DTC “insiders” – and sorry for pointing it out, but this sure does seem largely like a black & white vote.

Don’t know her, but don’t need to – the only way Nora Niedzielski-Eichner found her way onto the DTC and the Common Council is – she said YES Harry, whatever you want (think of the initial bride to be in Coming to America). I wouldn’t trust her to protect Norwalk – no chance. But if she & the DTC members force a primary, you’ll know the illusion that Norwalk is about inclusion is malarky.

Now Kadeem, I wonder if you would share with us what one of the shiny new apartment developments you live in? No? So when you say you want to support Norwalk – how can that be by allowing the continued proliferation of living space that is well beyond the reach of the community you profess to represent? Waypoint? Ironworks? SoNo Harbourside? The Curb? Head of the Harbour South? Any of these developments have 1 bedrooms under $2,000 a month? Family = 2 bedrooms – at plus $2,500.00 ??? Is it right to ask for 50% of the take home for rent that only builds the “EQUITY” of the developer?

At $800,000 a unit – wouldn’t the city be better off just handing over 150+ homes in Norwalk to poor folks rather than put 10 million into a developers pocket simply to build POKO? Maybe throw in another town owned parking lot?

Do you realize that Hartford, Bob, Harry, and the P&Z team are pushing longtime Norwalk residents out via full blown gentrification? And the CC just nod’s – like a cow chewing it’s cud.

One wonder when this city will wake up – and fix the structural defects & impediments in our system so the residents of this city control our future – not crooked or ambitious politicians and Hartford?

Last point – the only thing you can count on is the GOP putting up a candidate that has absolutely no chance? Likely a re-tread from the last election who will agree to take the beating so the good old insider townies will buy him a beer or two. Don’t bother.

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