HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut State Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams was killed in a crash involving a wrong-way driver on Rt. 9 South in Cromwell early Thursday morning.
The 39-year-old Democrat was sworn into office Wednesday and appointed to serve as co-chair of the legislature’s labor committee. He had served Middletown residents in the 100th District.
Condolences are pouring in from lawmakers from across Connecticut — read them below. News 8 is updating this story as more reactions come in.
Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim (D)
“Rep. Williams truly embodied the phrase larger than life. His laugh, smile, and presence were felt in every space shared with him. His passing is a true loss for our community. A light has been dimmed today. His dedication to fighting for equity, education, worker’s rights, and justice in all its forms is irreplaceable, and while we are heartbroken, the community he loved so much—and where Q was loved so much in return—will continue the fight.”
Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.)
“This is devastating news, and I am incredibly saddened by this tragedy. Quentin had an infectiously optimistic personality, and he absolutely loved having the opportunity to represent his lifelong home of Middletown at the State Capitol. Public service was his passion, and he was always advocating on behalf of the people of his hometown. He was a genuine person with a genuine soul, and he will be missed. My prayers are with his family, including his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen, as well as his friends and colleagues in the General Assembly.”
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D-Conn.)
“I have had the incredible privilege of knowing and working closely with Q Williams, a lifelong resident of Middletown, for nearly two decades. Q was the product of Middletown Public Schools and was a passionate advocate for education. Prior to serving in the legislature, Q was the director of Middletown’s Downtown District. I had the pleasure of working with Q as he worked to help entrepreneurs and Main St. businesses grow and thrive. Q loved Middletown’s Main Street, and our thriving downtown lead him to create the Main Street Caucus in our state’s legislature.
Raised by a single mother, Queen Williams, Q ardently believed in the power of uplifting women. Just recently, Q changed his last name to Williams to honor his mother, who worked hard and sacrificed in order to raise him into the amazing man he was. I was so honored to support him when he ran for the legislature because of his genuine enthusiasm and authentic desire to help others and make a difference in our community.
Q was a man of faith and attended church regularly. He was devoted to his wife Carrissa, his partner in life and politics. Carissa was the light of his life, and like him, is devoted to helping others.
Q was someone you wanted to be around, always exuding positivity and happiness. His dazzling smile would light up a room, and his optimism was infectious. He will be missed not only by the people of Middletown but by leaders beyond the borders of our state and all of his colleagues in the Connecticut General Assembly.”
Attorney General William Tong (D-Conn.)
“I met Q before he became a state legislator when he was an advocate for a local school in Stamford, and I can only think of one word to describe him—hopeful. Q was always brimming with optimism and possibility. He had a spirit that was relentlessly positive and aspirational. We need his light more than ever, and that’s why it is so hard to lose him. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife and his family and the community that he loved and served.”
Treasurer Erick Russell (D-Conn.)
“I’m heartbroken. Q was not only a talented and compassionate leader but a uniquely sincere and uplifting person. His charisma, and day-brightening smile, belied his relentless commitment to improving the lives of his constituents in Middletown, whom he loved like family.
Q gave all of himself. As his friend and brother in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., I saw the impact of his energy and kindness envelope everyone around him. He was a mentor, a bolt of energy, and a guiding light. As a legislator, he was diligent, tenacious, and righteous. As a friend, he was unmatched.
My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Q’s wife Carrissa, his family and loved ones, and the people of Middletown today.”
Speaker of the House Matt Ritter (D-Hartford)
“I am in shock. Q was my dear friend and I am scarred by his sudden loss. We will have time to reflect on Q as a legislator in the weeks to come, but right now I deeply mourn my friend and send all of my love to Carrissa, Queen, and Q’s family. We will all miss Q.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk)
“The loss of our colleague Representative Quentin “Q” Williams is utterly shocking and unspeakably heartbreaking. He was a wonderful person who was smart, talented and had a laugh that would make everyone laugh with him. He was always energetic, and exuberant, and felt blessed to be a public servant. We have lost a valued and dedicated member of the legislative community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carrissa and his family and loved ones during this devastating time. Truly tragic news for all who knew him.”
Joint statement from Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), Chief Deputy Leaders Eric Berthel (R-Watertown), Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), Henri Martin (R-Bristol), and Heather Somers (R-Groton)
“We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Rep. Quentin Williams. There are no words to describe the tragedy of losing such a bright star and an individual who so deeply dedicated himself to helping people. Quentin embodied love and joy. He was passionate and hard-working. Everyone knew him as someone who wanted to better our world, who radiated positivity, and who had so much more to give. Our hearts break for his family, friends, loved ones, colleagues, and every life he touched. Life is precious, and it is painful to see such a beautiful life and soul taken far too soon. We pray for all.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
“Terrible news today of Q Williams’ sudden death. He was a great friend, a present and future leader, and a kind, graceful presence that made everyone around him better. What a loss. I’m sending every good thought I have to his family and friends today.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02)
“This is a heartbreaking loss for our state. Quentin ‘Q’ Williams was a lifelong resident of Middletown, and as the people of this state will learn in the coming days, he was a builder—of policy, of bipartisan relationships, and of lasting friendships. Our state and our country need more people like Quentin, and to lose such a dedicated public servant at such a young age is an absolute tragedy. My heart goes out to Quentin, his wife Carrissa, and to their family and loved ones, and Audrey and I are keeping them in our hearts and prayers.”
U.S. Rep Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.-03)
“I am heartbroken at the tragic loss of State Representative Q Williams. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues, and the Middletown community. I had the honor of watching Q grow in local politics, from an energetic member of the Middletown Young Democrats to City Treasurer and on to State Legislator. His unwavering commitment to Middletown and those he served was inspiring. He had the most positive outlook, only seeing opportunity and always striving to find creative solutions to whatever issues he took on. I will always remember Q for his dedication to public service, his great sense of humor, warm smile, and unforgettable laugh.
Q will be deeply missed and I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Carrissa, his mother, Queen, and the many friends he called family.”
State Sen. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown)
“Q was a beloved friend and his passing even as I write this is still shocking and unfathomable. He and his family have meant so much to the Middletown community and personally to myself and my family. As a legislator, he was a passionate and committed public servant whose intellect and warmth made our state a better place and the General Assembly a better place. He was a trailblazer, the first Black state representative ever elected in Middletown. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen and his entire family as they manage the unimaginable.”
State Rep. Christine Palm (D-Chester)
“You need to know this about Q Williams. Warmth emanated from every part of him. He enveloped all of us — singly and collectively — with his whole body and soul. He threw his arms around you and squeezed until you thought you might not breathe again for the joy he gave you. But he embraced your sorrow and confusion with delicacy and utter tenderness.”
Read the rest of Palm’s tribute here.
State Rep. Tammy Nuccio (R-Tolland)
“I was just informed of the passing of Representative Quentin Williams – “Q” to those of us who luck[y] enough to know him. I’m struck with sadness and disbelief. I saw Q yesterday and the very last thing I said to him was “Hey Q! The plates are over there in the back of the room.” He flashed that amazing smile and said ”thank you!” We talked for nearly an hour at the UConn mixer last year about education. My heart is wounded. I wish I’d said more or something else after the direction to the plates. Such a great guy, a great legislator… CT has suffered a loss for sure.”
State Sen. Jan Hochadel (D-Meriden)
“This is such a huge loss for our community and family here in the legislature. Representative Williams was an inspiration and always had a positive outlook. He was a tireless advocate for improving the lives of so many families in his district and throughout Connecticut. He took his leadership role seriously and served the residents of Middletown proudly. I hope to honor his memory by representing the people in Middletown with the passion he demonstrated. I will never forget the work Representative Williams has done and the example he set. My deepest thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences are with his family at this time.”
State Sen. Julie Kushner (D-Danbury)
“Today, we mourn the tragic death of Representative Quentin “Q” Williams. His passing leaves a deep wound in the hearts of all who knew him. The last several weeks have been filled with excited phone calls and Zoom meetings as Representative Williams and I prepared our work for the 2023 legislative session as Co-Chairs of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. In our conversations, he was passionate and joyful about the opportunity to make life better for the working families of Connecticut.
I first met Quentin in 2018, when we were both elected to the legislature for the first time. We attended a progressive legislators conference in Washington, D.C. before taking office, and it was then that I became aware of what a caring and dedicated person he was. We served together on the Housing Committee and we were looking forward to serving as co-Chairs of the Labor Committee this session. I can say without exaggeration that there was no ego with Quentin, that he was all about public service for the good of the people. He had a rare combination of personal warmth, trust, good nature and commitment that is going to be missed on so many levels in the legislature, both personally and professionally.
I want to express my sincere condolences to his wife and family and to his friends and colleagues.”
Black and Puerto Rican Caucus (BPRC) Chair Geraldo Reyes (D-Waterbury) and Co-Chair Bobby Gibson (D-Bloomfield, West Hartford)
“Rep. Williams was a trailblazer who fought for equality and was committed to creating learning opportunities in all communities. Today, we have lost a brother who truly dedicated his life to public service. We are in mourning and send our deepest condolences to the Williams family. His infectious smile lit up every room that he ever entered. He will be deeply missed.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (D)
“Last night, Q Williams was so full of energy, joy, and passion for his new role and the work ahead. Heartbroken by the news this morning.”
Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati (D) and Meriden’s State Delegation
“Through our work together with Middletown we have known Q to be a passionate lawmaker with a mission to provide children and families a brighter future, carried out by his hard work, tremendous personality and sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues at this difficult time. His legacy will live on through the many lives he has touched, both personally and professionally.”
Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons (D)
“I am devastated over the tragic loss of my friend and colleague Representative Quentin Williams, and I want to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife and family. He was a compassionate, talented, and devoted Representative and a fierce advocate for educational equity. His spirit and optimism were infectious and his commitment to public service unwavering. He was a wonderful human being and will be missed greatly.”
Middletown Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alberto Vazquez Matos
“This is an unfathomable loss for our entire community and state. Representative Williams served Middletown, especially our youth, with a sense of urgency. He knew, just as many of us do, that it is our youth who need love, resources, and time poured into them in order for us to build the future that we all dream of. Representative Williams will forever be missed.”
Middletown’s Board of Education Chairwoman Deborah Cain
“I am absolutely stunned by the loss of a dear colleague and friend Quentin “Q” Williams. This is a great loss for the State of Connecticut and the great city of Middletown. He was a true public servant and devotee of his community. His zeal and advocacy for the residents of Middletown and those throughout the state was exceptional. He was passionate about education, thoroughly supported the students of Middletown, and volunteered throughout the district. To many, he was a brother and a mentor, always encouraging others to push through adversity. “Q”, your smile and presence will be missed. Special condolences to the Williams Family. Rest well, my friend.”
Kristen Roberts, chairwoman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
“Today, our Chamber community is mourning the loss of State Representative Quentin “Q” Williams who tragically passed early this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Williams family and his extended family and friends throughout Middlesex County and the state of Connecticut.”
Johanna Bond, president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of State Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams. He was an energetic and passionate man who made a positive impact in all that he did. This is a huge loss for the City of Middletown and the State of Connecticut. His smile and joy will surely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carrissa, his mother Queen, family, friend, colleagues and all that he has touched along the way.”