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Roldan, Morales To Meet In 4th House District Primary

Incumbent Cites His Record; Challenger Explains His

By STEVEN GOODE

July 21, 2010

HARTFORD Kelvin Roldan says he's proud of his record. Angel Morales would rather not talk about his.

Roldan, 31, is a second term state Democratic representative for the 4th House District. He points to his record in the legislature, where he introduced or worked on bills he said benefited city residents. He cited a law that attempts to reduce the flow of illegal guns by requiring the loss of a gun to be reported within 72 hours, as well as others that created opportunities for small, minority-owned businesses and prohibited insurance companies from using credit scores to set premiums. He said he has helped secure millions of dollars in municipal aid for Hartford.

"I've done a lot," he said.

Morales, 45, is a home improvement contractor who has worked with youths and gang members and currently serves as secretary of the Democratic town committee. He also has a criminal record, including a conviction for second-degree larceny in 2003 that resulted in a four-year prison sentence, according to correction officials. According to correction records, Morales was incarcerated five times since 1988 and has pleaded guilty to several larceny charges of varying degrees.

Roldan and Morales will face off in a primary Aug. 10.

Morales acknowledges his past, but says he is proud of what he's accomplished since his release: "I have made mistakes and turned my life around."

Morales was raised in Hartford and is a former gang member. He declined to share the specifics of his criminal convictions

"I'm not commenting on it and I'm not trying to hide it," Morales said, offering only that his convictions were for non-violent offenses. "We've all failed and made mistakes. None of us are perfect and the people of the 4th District can relate to that."

If elected in November he has twice lost primaries in the 4th district before Morales said he would like to focus on building trust between police and residents, address substance abuse problems among young people, develop a housing assistance program for struggling single mothers and promote job development programs, especially for offenders returning to society.

"A lot of people coming out of prison haven't gotten a second chance," said Morales, who likens his candidacy to giving Hartford a second chance to rebound from recent political scandals.

Roldan, who is vice chairman of the legislature's appropriations committee and also serves on the insurance and judiciary committees, said if he is re-elected he plans to reintroduce legislation promoting more higher education opportunities for city children and legislation addressing the high concentration of convicted sex offenders living near schools in Hartford. Roldan sought to prohibit sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day-care facility, effectively making it illegal for them to live in the city. The legislation did not make it out of committee.

Roldan served from December 2001 to January 2007 as a senior policy aide to now convicted former Mayor Eddie A. Perez and was called to testify before the grand jury looking into allegations of corruption against the mayor. Roldan was not accused of any crime.

He said that next year is going to be a difficult one as the legislature struggles to handle an expected significant deficit of more than $3 billion. Roldan said his goal is to minimize the impact on city residents and schools by finding alternative revenue sources and making sure that the state is properly funding Hartford, which has the lowest homeownership rate in Connecticut.

"It would be sad to see all the good work we've done in Hartford [schools] go to waste," he said.

Morales, however, criticized Roldan, saying he hasn't done enough for his constituents.

"I've been talking to people and no one seems to know who Kelvin Roldan is," he said. "The 4th Assembly District needs representation and that's what they are lacking."

Polls for the primary will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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