Young candidate endorsed by Dems gains attention in state House race

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BRIDGEPORT -

In just two weeks, Bridgeport voters will fill the vacancy created by the death of state Rep. Ezequiel Santiago.

News 12 spoke with Antonio Felipe, the 23-year-old candidate endorsed by the Democrats in the 130th District who has been getting a lot of attention due to his age.

Felipe is running against former state Reps. Hector Diaz and Christina Ayala, as well as former school board member Kate Rivera, and Republican Josh Parrow.

Supporters say Felipe may be only 23 years old, but so is state Sen. Will Haskell, who made national news when he was elected. Felipe called Haskell an “inspiration.”

“He didn't say, ‘I'm going to wait my turn.’ He just went for it. And that's something that a lot of young people should do,” Felipe told News 12.

In response to criticism that he moved to Bridgeport only recently, Felipe says the only reason he left was so he could live with his family.

"I might have spent a year in Stratford, but that was to save some money, to come back here because this is where I want to raise my family," he told News 12. "I'm from Bridgeport. Bridgeport is my home."

Felipe says he wants to be a “strong voice for working-class Bridgeporters.”

“I want to make sure that people have the opportunity to support their families on 40 hours a week on a $15 minimum wage," says Felipe.

Rivera, Parrow, Ayala and Diaz also spoke to News 12 about their vision for Bridgeport:
Kate Rivera: “I'm a fighter, I've been fighting here in Bridgeport, I'm always on the right side of justice, and I'm ready to fight for the city that I love in Hartford."
Josh Parrow: “I believe that the 130th has a real economic development opportunity. I believe we could be on the forefront of technology, I believe we could build some type of technology parks."
Christina Ayala: "Crime prevention -- I'm very proud as our state [representative] we got funding into various programs. I want to get funding back in."
Hector Diaz: “I hope that the people will come out, because it's up to the people, in the end it's up to those that come out to vote."

Hector Diaz held the same seat for five years, after running in 1994 as a petitioning candidate – just as he is now.

The special election is May 7.

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