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Republican Announces Plans to Pursue 20th District House Seat

Al Cortes. Courtesy photo

Alberto Cortes announced Thursday that he will seek the Republican nomination for the 20th District.

By Ronni Newton

Longtime West Hartford resident Alberto Cortes announced Thursday that he will pursue candidacy for the 20th District State House seat currently occupied by Joe Verrengia.

Cortes, 42, has not previously held public office but ran for West Hartford Town Council last fall and has had a long career in public service.

Cortes believes his background – more than 20 years as a corrections officer with the State Department of Corrections – can bring a unique perspective to the office.

During his time with the Department of Corrections, Cortes served as a union steward (Local 387) and also spent six years with the Connecticut Army National Guard.

The support of his family, and his past public service, were all factors in the decision to run, Cortes said.

“I am running because as a lifelong Connecticut resident I am concerned with the fiscal reality in the state and the impact it’s having on families in our district,” Cortes said in his announcement. “I will be an advocate for our residents and will fight to ensure our town receives its share of state aid and in a timely manner. I will also make public safety a priority, since recent misguided policy has resulted in increasingly frequent risks to the safety of our neighbors. I look forward to the opportunity to serve you and hope to earn your vote to give the 20th the leadership and engagement it needs and deserves.”

Verrengia, a Democrat who has represented the 20th District since 2011, announced Wednesday morning that he will not pursue re-election this fall. There has not been a Republican candidate on the ballot in the 20th District since Chad Thompson ran against Verrengia in 2012.

Democrat Kate Farrar said Wednesday afternoon that she is considering seeking the Democratic nomination.

Cortes is a native of Hartford but has lived in the district for more than 20 years. He and his wife, Jessica, have two sons.

Since his retirement, Cortes has volunteered with multiple organizations, and serves on the Church Council of the West Hartford United Methodist Church. He is a member of the West Hartford Veterans Committee, and has been a volunteer with the Hartford Marathon Foundation.

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