Redrawn 5th District Has Ripple Effects For Hartford And Bloomfield
New Boundaries Give Windsor Majority In District
December 03, 2011
Since Windsor learned this week that it will dominate the 5th Assembly District under redrawn boundaries, the town's political leaders are discussing possible candidates and considering runs for the open House seat next year.
The state legislature's reapportionment committee this week voted to approve new boundaries for state House and Senate districts. The realignment gives Windsor a majority in the heavily Democratic 5th District, which also will include a part of Hartford. Windsor hasn't had a majority population in a House district in 30 years.
Democratic Town Chairman Leo Canty has invited Democrats interested in running for the open seat to seek him out.
"We're definitely going to have someone from Windsor," Canty said earlier this week. "Who? I don't know because we've been out of the loop so long."
And current Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks — a Democrat and the top vote-getter in the past five local town council elections — said Friday that he has been approached by quite a few people encouraging him to consider making a run for state representative.
"It's something that's always intrigued me," Trinks said, adding that he would weigh the possibility against his practical responsibilities of running his business, Bart's Drive In Restaurant.
But the redrawn lines in the 5th District have also changed the political landscape in Windsor's neighbors Hartford and Bloomfield.
As a result of the reapportionment, the 5th District's current state representative, Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey, a Democrat who lives in Hartford, will reside outside the district when the change takes effect for the 2012 election. She'll be in the 1st District, represtented by Democrat Matthew Ritter.
Kirkley-Bey declined Friday to say what her plans were, but said an announcement would be made Wednesday at the Capitol.
Asked if she was considering a run against Ritter, Kirkley-Bey said, "Could be."
Ritter's district was also affected by the reapportionment. His three Bloomfield districts were folded into Democratic state Rep. David Baram's 15th District, and three Hartford precincts —the West End, Asylum Hill and Upper Albany neighborhoods —were added to the 1st District.
Ritter said he enjoyed representing Bloomfield, but added that having all his districts in Hartford makes sense.
"It's always easier to be in one town because they usually have similar issues," Ritter said.
Ritter said adding the three Bloomfield precincts to the 15th District, which gives Baram the whole town in addition to a small portion of Windsor, was also a good thing.
"The full weight of Bloomfield can now weigh in on its representative," Ritter said. "It changes the dynamics."
The three Bloomfield precincts that Baram is picking up are predominantly black, and some political observers speculate that this could present him with a challenge from a minority candidate down the road.
Ritter said that Baram, who is white, enjoys a wealth of support from his constituents, but the district he has been representing has been predominantly white.
"It would be difficult but doable," said James Michel, a former Bloomfield Board of Education chairman, who is black. "It would still take a lot of work but it could certainly increase the risk to him."
Baram said Friday that he was happy that all of Bloomfield was now in one district and discounted the notion that race would become a leading factor in future elections.
"This is an open community that looks at the person," Baram said. "People look at quality and character, not race."
Former Bloomfield Deputy Mayor and current Board of Education Chairman Donald Harris, who is black, also downplayed the notion that Baram was at risk now as a result of an increased minority population in the 15th District.
"He is color blind and people appreciate that," Harris said. "Is it possible? Sure, but not probable."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at