New Haven — Gary Holder-Winfield watched his mother die a slow painful death over four years in the hospital. That helped convince him to embrace a controversial bill coming up in the state legislature—to allow physicians to help terminally ill patients take their lives.
Holder-Winfield, a state representative, reflected on his personal transformation on that issue as he trudged up the hills of Upper Westville Sunday afternoon.
He trudged carefully. The sidewalks were treacherously icy. He slipped repeatedly, nearly falling and scattering campaign brochures all over the ice-encrusted snow-white lawns on Stevenson Road. Then he resumed speaking about his mother’s death as he met a basement room full of Democrats, about how he sees his pursuit of elected office as a continuation of her legacy.
You don’t usually see a politician knocking on doors in February in New Haven. This isn’t any ordinary February. It is the season of the perpetual campaign. With a new mayor for the first time in 20 years, and her former state Senate seat opening up for the first time in 21 years, all sorts of positions have opened for special elections: the position Holder-Winfield seeks in a Feb. 25 special election, the 10th State Senate District seat; three Board of Aldermen seats vacated by new City Hall appointees; and, if Holder-Winfield wins, a contest for the seat he’ll be giving up in the State House of Representatives.