HARTFORD —— City Councilman Luis Cotto, a member of the Working Families Party who is serving his second term on council, said Friday he would resign effective July 31.
Cotto, the panel's former minority leader, was elected to his first term in 2007. He was reelected in November 2011.
He announced Friday by e-mail that he had submitted a letter of resignation, adding that he is moving with his family to the Boston area in August. He declined a follow-up interview.
Cotto, 44, and fellow Councilman Larry Deutsch were the first two members of the Working Families Party to win seats on the city council. A third party member, Cynthia Jennings, was elected to the council last year.
Cotto said he has recommended that Working Families Party member Joel Cruz be named as a candidate to replace him. Cruz, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the council in 2011, was the party's fourth-highest vote-getter in that race.
During his more than four years on the council, Cotto has advocated for numerous social issues, including a ban on racial profiling by the city's police department. He also has been a staunch supporter of the city's parks and arts programs.
Over the last few years, Cotto has helped oversee improvement efforts for the city's skate park, which sits atop I-84 in downtown Hartford. He also was a force behind the repeal of Hartford's decades-old skateboarding ban in 2010.
Deutsch, the panel's current minority leader, said Friday that Cotto has improved transparency in city politics.
"He and I have made a very significant difference in the functioning of the city council and the transparency with which we operate, making sure people were more in contact with city council — more so than in decades past," he said.
Deutsch also noted Cotto's strong ties with the community.
"He has made some very unique contributions to the laws that protect many of our citizens, especially immigrants and people of color," Deutsch said.
Jon Green, the longtime executive director of the state's Work Families Party who left in March for a job with the party's national office, said Cotto isn't a typical politician.
"He's such a refreshingly different kind of person than what people expect from politicians," Green said. "He's someone who is willing to say whatever he really believes about a subject. He's guided by his own moral compass above and beyond any other political consideration.
"You get the sense that the political career was never part of the equation for him."
Mayor Pedro Segarra could not be reached for comment Friday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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