Hartford Council Members Nominate Replacement For Cotto
By JENNA CARLESSO
June 20, 2012
HARTFORD —— The city council's Working Families Party membership has rallied around Joel Cruz, a Hartford native, to replace Councilman Luis Cotto, who has said he would resign July 31.
Council members Larry Deutsch and Cynthia Jennings, both of the Working Families Party, submitted a resolution Wednesday appointing Cruz to the panel for the remainder of Cotto's term, which runs through Jan. 4, 2016. If approved, Cruz would begin the term on Aug. 17.
Cotto said Friday that he would resign effective July 31 because he is moving to the Boston area with his family.
The resolution will be introduced at Monday's council meeting, though members said it was still unclear if it would be adopted right away.
Cruz, who ran as a Working Families Party candidate for the city council last November, was the 10th highest vote-getter in the election. There are nine spots on the council.
Under the city charter, the council must appoint a member of the same party to fill the seat of someone who has resigned.
Council President Shawn Wooden said it was premature to determine how soon the resolution would be voted on.
"The recommendation of the Working Families Party is significant. In this particular case, it also happens to be the person who ran in the most recent election and was No. 10 [in votes]," Wooden said. "All of those factors combined make Joel Cruz a compelling choice."
Deutsch said Cruz would bring to the council "a spirit of advocacy for public need and the discipline to follow through."
"It's not just what Luis Cotto, Cynthia Jennings and I think," Deutsch said Wednesday. "[Cruz] has been interviewed in the past by Working Families Party members who've gotten a positive impression of his dedication and skills, so that says a lot." The party had endorsed Cruz for the November election.
Although he will recuse himself from voting on the resolution, Cotto said Wednesday that he is supporting Cruz behind the scenes. He said he hopes to teach Cruz, an ordained pastor and South End resident, some of the ins and outs of council before his departure.
"I feel a responsibility to the people who voted me in to make sure my replacement has as much information as possible to do the job," Cotto said. "[Cruz] has everything you would want in a council member. He's a personable young man who doesn't come in with any agenda except what's best for the residents of the city. That hasn't changed since November."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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