HARTFORD —— Joel Cruz was officially sworn in as the ninth member of the city council Monday night. The appointment will take effect on Thursday.
Cruz, 32, will complete the unexpired term of Luis E. Cotto. His appointment was approved unanimously at the beginning of a meeting that was primarily focused on the mayor's appointment of James Rovella to become police chief.
Luis Cotto is moving to Massachusetts because of his wife's job. Cruz, like Cotto a member of the Working Families Party, will join Larry Deutsch and Cynthia Renee Jennings as the council's minority party. There are currently six Democrats and no Republicans.
Cruz first ran for the council in November 2011, finishing as the 10th-highest vote-getter. Cruz received 1,451 votes, not far behind Larry Deustch with 1,695 votes.The top nine receive seats on the council.
Born and raised in the city, Cruz graduated from Hartford Public High School in 1998. He has been married to his wife, Karla, for nine years and has two children: stepdaughter Lishamarie, 13, and daughter Abigail, 2.
Cruz works as a "fatherhood specialist" at Catholic Charities' Institute for the Hispanic Family on Wadsworth Street. He will be the second-youngest council member after Raul DeJesus.
He says he wants to concentrate on issues of public safety and education. On Monday, Cruz led the council in its traditional prayer before the start of the 7 p.m. meeting.
Cotto was not present Monday, nor was Council President Shawn Wooden. Alexander Aponte presided over the meeting.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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