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A new training will help prepare Connecticut residents of color run for public office

The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.
Danielle Wedderburn
The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is working with Yale University to host a free two-day training program this month to assist more people of color with skills to run for public office.

Patti Russo, the executive director of the Campaign School at Yale, said Connecticut’s public offices are being misrepresented, and the training can help bolster the diversity of its workforce.

“White men have done a great job at running successfully, running campaigns successfully, leading their communities effectively, but for the rest of us, for women and people of color, it's been an uphill battle and continues to do so, that’s why these trainings are so important to level the playing field,” Russo said.

Richard Porth, the conference’s special projects coordinator, said diversity and participation in local and state governments will help Connecticut be better represented.

“All we need to do is look around and we can understand that we have more work to do, all of us, to try to make sure that our leadership and our elected representatives reflect the population that we serve,” Porth said.

Connecticut’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus has grown to 35 out of 151 members in the state House of Representatives. This is on par with the state population who identify as nonwhite with the U.S. Census. The goal of the training will teach civics to help close the racial disparity in participation and access to their representatives.

The conference and Yale held a similar training last year with over 100 residents to help provide skills to run for local public office or serve on a local board or commission.

This year’s will focus on state elected offices. The two-day event will be available over Zoom on March 12-19.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.