WHY I SERVE
My parents moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico in the 1960’s as teenagers. They are not immigrants in the traditional sense because Puerto Ricans have had American citizenship since 1917. They came here as teenagers alone, my mom in search of independence from an overly strict mother and my dad in search of work which was in short supply on the island at the time, as it is today.
My dad found work in the tobacco fields in Windsor and a box production company in Hartford. My mom found work in a hot commercial laundry business. They have worked in the same physically demanding jobs for the last 30 years. Without complaint my dad has worked two full-time jobs for as along as I can remember, never mentioning that he was tired from working 6am to midnight the next morning. Never. They moved to East Hartford with my brother and sister just before I was born in the mid 1970s. They were looking for a quieter, safer neighborhood for their kids as well as better schools. Things we all want.
While my parents never fully grasped the English language, they did instill the value of education and hard work in all of their children. While we grew up in what could be defined as a low-income housing project, my family simply saw it as an affordable and safe place to live. My siblings and I attended great schools, East Hartford Public Schools. I went to college, my brother and sister to work and we all now own homes in East Hartford. That’s the American Dream, right?
That’s why I serve. I serve because my community gave my parents the opportunity to allow their children to reach the dreams that parents work so hard for. My hometown afforded me the opportunity to meet my wife Sarah and we now have three beautiful children. My high school prepared me for graduation from college, no easy feat for a first generation college student, and the diverse working world afterwards.
I serve because I have to. I owe it to my parents, I owe it to my wife and family, I owe it to my neighbors and friends and I owe to the taxpayers who worked so I could attend good public schools and the University of Connecticut. I serve because as a public official I can use my skills, education and life experience to help other families reach their dreams. I serve because I have a responsibility to do so. We all do.