HARTFORD —— Democrat Angel Arce and Republican Rico Dence are vying for the 4th House District seat that is being vacated by three-term state Rep. Kelvin Roldan.
Roldan announced in June that he would not seek re-election, two weeks after city Democrats endorsed Arce for the seat.
Arce, a community activist and member of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, said he's eager to tackle some of the district's biggest issues, like poor housing conditions, a shortage of youth programs and crime.
"There are a lot of challenges," he said. "I'm not going to be able to fix everything, but I want to bring the community together and get the people more involved. I want to work closely with residents to address these issues and get results."
Arce said that if elected, he would begin by building strong relationships with other members of the city's legislative delegation. His top priorities include rallying for more money for youth and elderly programs, cracking down on neglectful property owners, cleaning up city parks and helping to improve housing conditions.
"It's in my blood. It's what I love doing," said Arce, 52, who added that he's done volunteer work in Hartford for more than 20 years. "I grew up here. I love the community. I love the city. It's my home."
Although Dence wasn't raised in Hartford — he hails from San Diego County, Calif. — he said he's been passionate about the city since he arrived two years ago.
Dence, a member of the Republican town committee, said he wants to help attract more small businesses to the area, boost tourism in Hartford by developing something similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which would include stars for people who have contributed to the city's history, and help create a new state college in Hartford that would focus on training for health, technology and business-related fields.
"If you have ideas and do nothing about them, they're like coffee table pieces," Dence, 36, said. "There's nothing to them."
Arce and Dence said they have been visible in the community, knocking on doors and fundraising. Both have applied to receive funding through the state's public campaign financing program.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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