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Democrats vie for spot on November ballot

Andreas Yilma | Citizen's News | July 30, 2020

Cabrera, Farmer seek chance to challenge for 17th Senate District seat

A pair of Hamden Democrats are contending for the opportunity to challenge a two-term incumbent in the 17th Senate District.

Democratic voters in the district will decide between Jorge Cabrera and Justin Farmer at the Aug. 11 primary. The winner will carry the party’s banner into the November election against Republican state Sen. George Logan.

The district represents Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Woodbridge and Ansonia as well as parts of Naugatuck and Hamden.

Cabrera, 46, has been a business representative for United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union Local 919, which represents 7,000 Stop & Shop workers, for 25 years. Cabrera, who’s married and has twin 15-year-old boys, received the Democratic endorsement to run for the seat.

“I’m running because our current state senator really doesn’t represent the values of the district. I’ve spent the last couple of years fighting for working families. Making sure they have health care, living wage jobs, advocating for public schools. It’s very important to me. I feel like I could do a better job than him (Logan) in representing the district and fighting for the things they need,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera ran against Logan in 2018 and lost a tight race after a recount. He said he has a base of support now and believes he’s in the best position to defeat Logan in November.

Although he didn’t receive the party’s endorsement to run, Farmer, 25, gained enough support during the Democratic caucus to earn a spot on the primary ballot.

“The 17th Senate District is diverse economically, racially and geographically, and with all the issues that we’re having, we need someone who is willing to do the hard work in the different communities,” Farmer said.

Farmer, who has Tourette’s syndrome and wears headphones because he’s sensitive to noise, is in his second term on the Hamden Legislative Council. He works with his mother, who owns a rental property. He serves on the board of directors of The Children’s Center of Hamden, a nonprofit behavioral health organization for children, and is a part-time student at Southern Connecticut State University.

Farmer believes there should be greater regionalization between municipalities instead of competing for resources, and more needs to be done to improve affordable housing in the state.

Farmer said a serious conversation needs to be had about zoning laws that push affordable housing to larger, urban cities.

“So, cities like New Haven, Bridgeport, Hamden will have a ton of affordable housing,” he said. “But then you’ll have neighboring communities like Guilford or North Haven fight tooth and nail and be like we don’t want affordable housing.”


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