Long-time community activist Geraldo Reyes Jr. has been endorsed by the Waterbury Democrat Town Committee to run in a special election on April 26th to fill a state representative vacancy in the 75th District. A special meeting of 75th District delegates met last night at the Portuguese Club on Baldwin Street to endorse Reyes as a replacement for Victor Cuevas, who resigned last week.

   “I’m running because I would like to continue the progress and positive change that has occurred in the 75th District theses past four years,” Reyes said.

   His number one priority is to secure bonding money to continue cleaning up the many brownfields and abandoned factories in the city’s South End. Reyes also intends to champion affordable housing as a pillar of his campaign, as well as veteran’s issues, and being an advocate for the homeless.

   Reyes, 58, is a graduate of Crosby High School, and Central Connecticut State University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Technology and a minor in Manufacturing Engineering. Reyes worked at Sargent Manufacturing Co., in New Haven for 28 years and was general manager of operations for Mortise Lock for six years and Bored Lock for two years. Reyes also was Operation Manager for Phillips Cerraduras in Mexico City, Mexico from 2006 to 2008, also Sourcing Manager for ASSA Abloy for 2007 till 2011.

   Reyes worked as an aide to Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary for four years and was instrumental in bringing the Brass City Brawlers team to Waterbury (the team went undefeated and won the national championship of semi-professional football in 2015).

   In 2013 Reyes was given the assignment by Mayor O’Leary to help plan The Gathering in Library Park, and his efforts were acknowledged when the massive celebration of Waterbury’s diversity was honored as the top festival by Connecticut Main Street at a ceremony in June 2015.

Reyes touring the 75th District last week identifying issues.

   Reyes was the first Hispanic to ever work on a mayor’s staff in Waterbury and was a tremendous resource to the Spanish-speaking community in Waterbury. Reyes serves on the board of directors of several non-profit agencies in Waterbury including Neighborhood Housing Services, Loyola Development Corporation, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury, the Greater Waterbury chapter of the NAACP, and the SALSA League.

   Reyes lives in the South End of Waterbury with his wife Hilda. They have two daughters.

   The special election for state representative in the 75th district will be held on April 26th in conjunction with the presidential primary in Connecticut. Voters will go to the same polling place for both elections, but the state representative race will be in a separate room.

   “It might be confusing to some voters,” Reyes said, “but we have five weeks to educate the voters and I’m confident we will be able to do that.”