As a first-time candidate, I am excited to be the first-ever Working Families Party candidate, on Row C.
I am running to represent the diverse, working people in our community who feel like they don’t have a seat at the table. Although West Hartford remains one of the best places to live in Connecticut, our town has struggled to respond to the needs of many residents effectively.
For example, consider the challenges in our education system- –because the realities facing our youngest people are often reflective of the community as a whole. West Hartford residents take great pride in the quality of our schools. Our students have access to some incredible resources. We have dedicated teachers and many cutting-edge educational programs. West Hartford schools, however, have one of the widest gaps in school achievement in the state.
While 80 percent of white students meet or exceed English language standards on standardized tests, only 41 percent of Latinx and 48 percent of black students do so. The chasm is even wider for math, where white students are more than twice as likely to meet or exceed standards compared to their black and Latinx peers. Test scores for children of color are above the state average — but that alone is not enough.
West Hartford also has some of the biggest racial poverty gaps in Connecticut. Fewer than five percent of white residents in West Hartford live below the poverty line, compared to 28 percent of black residents. Although we pride ourselves on living in a prosperous, inclusive, welcoming community, it is time we acknowledge the urgent needs of many of our residents.
As a candidate for the Town Council, I am committed to ensuring that economic and racial disparities in West Hartford get to the top of the agenda. This commitment is evidenced by my decade long career in civic engagement and social justice advocacy on behalf of working families, communities of color and low-income communities. I am proud to have earned labor union endorsements for my campaign from AFT Connecticut, United Auto Workers, and The Eastern CT Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.
I am seeking one of the three seats reserved for minor party candidates on our Town Council. Because of the number of registered Democratic voters and historically high turnout of voters in our town, the six Democratic candidates will easily win the maximum number of seats allowed by a party on the Town Council, which is also six. This means that I, as the sole Working Families Party candidate, am competing with the five Republican candidates for the three minor party seats.
For many years, the Republicans have held those three minor party seats because no one has challenged them. They are part of the party that has instilled fear and inflicted suffering upon many vulnerable people across the country and in our own community. Our local Republicans may try to distance themselves from the ongoing national nightmare coming out of the White House, but if they want to claim the party as their own on the ballot then they also need to own all of the deeds of their party, including the expressions of hate that have become an almost daily occurrence.
This is your chance to vote your progressive values if you disagree with the Republican agenda and bring in voice for change to the Town Council. On November 5, you can choose up to six candidates on the ballot. You can vote for five Democrats if you choose, but please also vote for me on Row C to help remove a Republican from a minor party seat on our Town Council. Your vote will ensure that the diverse, working families in West Hartford have a seat at the table.
Municipal elections impact our daily lives and reflect the values of our community. This is our chance to contribute toward shifting the political landscape and to set the example for what we’d like to see happening across the country. Let’s continue to ensure that West Hartford is a place where everyone belongs and has a chance to thrive, without fear or discrimination.
Janée Woods Weber is a Working Families Party candidate for West Hartford Town Council.