Warren Pena (D) is coming off his first term as an at-large representative on Norwalk's Common Council. Now, he is looking for more.
Pena says as the Council's youngest member -- he will turn 34 in November -- his first two years were challenging.
"It's a very tenured Council, and a lot of old school thought that doesn't allow a freshman with brand new ideas to come to the table and have them be exercised," he says.
Pena says he prides himself on offering a voice for Norwalk's Latino community. He is seeking re-election to the Council, he says, to try and make his voice heard more over the next two years.
He says the best way to do that is for the Democratic party to win a Council majority, and for Harry Rilling to win the mayoral election.
"If we can get a Democratic mayor, and if we can get a good, solid, loyal majority -- no defections or caucusing with the other party -- we can accomplish some good things," he says. "In my opinion, the Democrats have a more progressive agenda than the Republicans do. I feel we have wanted to do more, mix things up than our counterparts."
Pena says one of his biggest priorities is education.
"I will continue to be sensitive to our education system. It needs our support," he says.
Pena says Superintendent Manuel Rivera appears to be a "good, strong" superintendent, and says he believes the Board of Education is capable of working with him in a cohesive manner.
"There is no reason we cannot perform at a level that is admirable regionally and nationally," he says. "I will continue to fight for our education system because it helped get me to where I am today, and it is the way of the future."
Pena acknowledges his aspirations of working with a Democratic mayor and a Democratic-leaning Council. But what if the status quo doesn't change?
"It's not fun coming from a minority standpoint, because you're not really taken into consideration," he says. "The mayor sets the agenda and the majority follows the lead."
"If we end up with a scenario like that, we can govern from a minority standpoint. It's [about] creating mechanisms to have our voices heard. We can hold more community events, engaging the public more, holding press conferences when we have real differences of opinion -- really making noise and creating legislation that addresses our concerns."