Weruché George | Meet the Nigerian-American running for the state House of Representatives for Hamden 91st District

By Vincent Salzo | Patch

The 2020 election is heating up in Connecticut and there are plenty of races with candidates eager to serve in elected office. Eyes are primarily focused on the presidential election, but every state representative and senate seat is up for grabs. All five of Connecticut’s congressional seats are up for grabs as well.

There are 151 seats in the state House of Representatives and 36 in the state Senate. Democrats currently hold majorities in both chambers with a 91 to 60 lead over Republicans in the House and a 22 to 14 lead in the Senate.

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Connecticut Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.

Weruché George, a Hamden resident, is running for election to the House of Representatives District 91 as a Petitioning Candidate.null

Age: 43

Party affiliation: Registered Democrat running as Petitioning Candidate

Family: I live with my son – Guy, 18 – a Freshman at FIT New York, and my daughter – Rae, 17 – a Hamden High School Senior and Volleyball Captain.

Occupation: I am the Founder and Executive Director of Weruche Inspires inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and empowering immigrants in the Greater New Haven area. I have been in this role since arriving the United States 15 years ago.

Previous elected experience: I was appointed to the Hamden Human Rights and Relations Commission in 2019, and to the Board of directors, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in 2020.

Campaign website: www.weruche4ct.com

The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.


The most pressing issues facing our state are the inequities and inequalities that exist within our state borders. Inequalities when it comes to economics, and making sure that workers are being paid a living wage. By the way, I do commend the CT legislature for passing legislation to increase the state minimum wage which we all support but we have more work to do. In addition, it’s important we address the wage disparity between men and women because as of today in Connecticut white women earn an average of 83 cents to a dollar that men make, while black women earn 57 cents, and Hispanic women earn 47 cents.

What I intend to do is to continue the conversation that was ignited this summer with the protests that took place within our community and in other areas of the state. Within the legislature, I intend to engage stakeholders, community leaders, and members from across the aisle to address these issues by passing legislation that either prohibits or bans wage discrimination among workers in our state, between men and women, and among ethnic groups.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

There are quite a number of differences between my opponent and me. Firstly, I have not been a politician before, and most of the issues I’d like to address in the legislature are as a result of my lived experience, and not mere political dialogue.

I have seen firsthand what some citizens have experienced in our district and I can relate to the racial injustice debate, and to those who are calling for a change in the education system. Both my children are products of the Hamden Public School system, and as a representative, my job will be to help improve that system based on my actual firsthand knowledge of how it currently functions.

Furthermore, as a woman, I understand what it means to not earn the same amount as a man would for a similar role. For me, the equal pay issue wouldn’t be about repeating rhetoric or simply stating democratic values – wonderful as those values are to me. It would be about employing my lived experience to fight for what’s right for my constituents and my ability to be the true voice of that conversation in the legislature for the people of the 91st district.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I moved to the United States 15 years ago as a young, single mother of two. I had to juggle my work and would eventually gain one undergraduate and two master’s degrees while raising a family at the same time. Like most immigrants, integrating into the American system and learning a new culture can be challenging but it is rewarding because it builds character. So to answer your question, my tenacity is my strongest accomplishment – the ability to keep going no matter what. That’s strongly required when you’re a representative and a voice for the people. When I mentor young women, I tell them the importance of being able to deal with whatever life throws at them because this builds strength, which in turn benefits more people in the long run. I am able to view my 91st district and my role when serving in the legislature, through that lens.

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Do you believe Connecticut needs reform when it comes to electric utility oversight? What steps, if any should be taken?

Yes, CT needs reform for electric utility oversight. Our utility companies should not have to think about profit over the needs of the communities and people they provide services to. We need more regulations that make these companies accountable when people are out of power for extremely long periods of time. Priority should be made to restore outages in a timely manner while also addressing the issues that arise due to power loss for residents across the state. And utility company management should be held accountable in situations where there’s a clear oversight in dealing with issues that arise in a timely fashion.

What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses?

Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and unfortunately, our average mom and pop shops have taken a huge hit since the Coronavirus pandemic. It is important for our state to ensure these businesses are fully funded through continued forgivable financial assistance programs that will allow businesses to recoup losses over time. Many households are barely able to scrape it together at a time like this due to a loss in revenue from their small businesses, and the tangible support given to them now is very crucial to their continued existence in our communities. A few months ago, I spoke with some business owners who were sidelined during the initial round of the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications. A lot of them were denied the loan and struggled afterward due to fact that the loans were no longer available to them or had certain caveats that prevented them from getting approved in the first place. We need to work better to ensure a more steam-lined, effective process for similar programs that will allow applicants in dire need have access to funding at difficult times like the one we’re currently in.

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List other issues that define your campaign platform:

Education is very important to me and is one of the issues I care very deeply about for many reasons. I would like to see an education system in Hamden that represents all residents and not just some. One of the reasons I’m challenging a fellow democratic in office is because of this single issue. The Hamden Public School system urgently needs more work done that will reflect the history of everyone accurately. In January, a young black child was cast as a slave in a school play and the effect of this singular act on the psyche of many black and brown children across our state is irreparable. In addition to this is the fact that each day they arrive at school but have yet to see a person of color as their teacher. I recall when I taught as a substitute teacher and how the little black girls would react to me. For me, that was fulfilling that I could have a positive impact on them. And from then, the big question for me was: What kind of system have we built thus far and how do we fix this system so that all, and not some of the residents in Hamden are represented fairly and accurately?

Another issue that ties into my first is racial injustice. We all saw what took place this year with the continued killing of our black men and women: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, and so many others. My job as a representative will be to push the legislature to have a bold agenda that combats racial inequality in our region and across our state. The Police accountability bill is a huge milestone in the fight for racial justice, but we have more work to do in our state.

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Environmental Justice and Climate Change: Recently, Hamden was hit very hard by Tropical Storm Isaias and in 2018, a tornado left some people homeless and some without power. It is important that we continue to address the issue of climate change and environmental justice. We need more progressive action taken in order to combat the effects of these natural disasters, as well as to find ways to transition to more clean energy solutions for the future of generations to come. I’m proud to say I have taken the pledge to support the Green New Deal.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I did not look to go into politics just yet, but on a day in August this year, politics found me. I made it on the ballot on August 26 – a registered democrat running as a petitioning candidate, and I celebrated this as a huge victory. I was then asked to drop out of the race against an incumbent however, my conviction about needing adequate representation for ALL Hamden residents and the new direction our town should embrace has kept me in the race.

I have grown a lot since engaging with the residents in my community and I hope to continue having these conversations in the coming months and years. Most people are fed up with the way things have been especially in 2020, and as a human rights advocate, who has spent years speaking up for the less privileged in different countries, I know it is imperative that we stay connected to one another, and support one another in our Hamden community. This is a fight for all of us, and not some of us, regardless of whether we are politicians or not, and I hope I get a chance to be that voice that represents ALL people of Hamden in Hartford.

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