Angel Arce to resign from General Assembly

Rep. Angel Arce, D-Hartford (File photo)

State Rep. Angel Arce, D-Hartford, under fire from legislative leaders and the governor for an inappropriate exchange of text messages with a teenaged girl, intends to resign his General Assembly seat, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said Wednesday.

Arce’s decision comes nearly one week after the Hartford Courant reported the Democratic lawmaker had exchanged affectionate messages in 2015 with a girl who was 16 at the time. The story prompted quick condemnations from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other prominent political leaders.

The speaker did not give a specific date Arce will leave office. Arce could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

“Representative Arce has informed House leadership of his intention to resign from the legislature, and under the circumstances it is clearly the right thing to do,” Aresimowicz said. “The residents of Hartford’s 4th District deserve new representation at the Capitol and now that process will be able to begin.”

Malloy had commended Aresimowicz last week for recommending that Arce step down. “This was the appropriate decision to be made in this situation,” Malloy spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said Wednesday.

“Angel Arce has been a dedicated state representative who has always worked hard for his constituents, and I know he wants to do the right thing for his district,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin wrote in a statement Wednesday.

Arce’s resignation will reduce the Democratic majority in 151-member House to 79. Republicans hold 71 seats. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is expected to order a special election after the resignation has been filed.

The Hartford Courant first disclosed a series of texts that went from Arce’s Facebook messenger account three years ago to a teenaged girl.

Arce, who is single, won his first election to the House of Representatives in 2012 when he was endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee over incumbent Rep. Kelvin Roldan, easily defeating token Republican opposition.

During his first term Arce was best known for serving as co-chair of a controversial task force on victim privacy, which sought to exempt the disclosure of crime-scene photos from the Freedom of Information Act. A video of the hit-and-run death of Arce’s father was widely distributed, but it was released by Hartford Police seeking information about the killer, not as a result of a Freedom of Information request.