Published October 27. 2012 4:00AM
State Rep. Ernest Hewett, the deputy majority leader in the state House of Representatives, has long said he considers himself the advocate of the working person, having learned about hard work as an Electric Boat welder and later as a carpenter. Appropriately then, Rep. Hewett, 56, who is seeking a fifth term, made his biggest contribution this past year by helping out a working person who was treated unfairly.
Rep. Hewett made it a priority to get to the bottom of the firing of New London firefighter Alfred Mayo, who lost his job just as he was about to get going on his career. The city ordered him pulled from the Connecticut Fire Academy, where he was receiving his final training, and terminated his service after reports of alleged misconduct at the academy.
Rep. Hewett saw red flags because Mr. Mayo was the first black firefighter hired by New London since 1978. Rep. Hewett, who is also black, used his legislative muscle to push for answers. A subsequent investigation found evidence of discriminatory practices at the academy and determined that Mr. Mayo in particular was treated unfairly and unequally. The city subsequently rehired Mr. Mayo and the state ordered reforms at the academy.
That's effective constituent service.
Rep. Hewett is an unapologetic progressive fighting to make sure his distressed city - the 39th District is located entirely within New London - gets is fair share of state help. Voters cannot afford to let go of a representative with his seniority and influence.
Opposing the incumbent is Republican Daniel Docker, 57. Mr. Docker, an emergency medical services technician, is a staunch fiscal conservative. Someone so insistent that it is time to shrink government would seem to be an odd match for a city so dependent on state and federal aid.
The challenger seems to recognize he has little chance, but to his credit did not want Rep. Hewett to run unopposed. Mr. Docker is running his campaign with little money, and did not seek to obtain funding under the state's Citizens Election Program, which publicly finances eligible candidates.
The choice in this race seems obvious and The Day endorses Rep. Ernest Hewett.