‘Education was my way out of poverty’: Newly-elected State Senator sits down with News 8, talks advocacy for closing opportunity gap

Politics

(WTNH) — The State Senate has a new face joining the ranks. Democrat Patricia Billie Miller won her special election this week.

The State Senate now includes 12 Republicans and 24 Democrats. The Senate seat was vacant because the former State Senator Carlo Leone took a job with the administration.

Miller has come a long way from the housing projects in Stamford.

State Sen. Elect Miller tells News 8, “Closing the opportunity gap, that’s my issue, that’s my goal.”

Fresh off a victory from the special election, Miller tells News 8’s Chief Political Correspondent Jodi Latina the November election during a pandemic was a lot of work, “Honestly, Jodi, the general (election) really did prepare me for this.”

She’s been representing Stamford and Darien for 12 years in the State House. A product of the Southwood Village, now Southwood Square housing complex in Stamford, Miller was not always encouraged.

She says a guidance counselor told her she wasn’t smart enough to take algebra. As she points to her brain Miller recalled her mom’s words of wisdom: “What my mom said – ‘you get it up here because that’s the only thing someone can’t take from you.'”

Not only did Miller pass algebra, but she graduated college with a major in mathematics and went on to teach. Literacy is her passion.

“It was still the same as when I went to school. Children are still lagging behind,” said Miller.

As a member of the Black and Puerto Rican caucus and only the fourth black female State Senator in state history, Miller makes it a point to support her local Boys and Girls Club.

She often hands out scholarships to city kids and supports their artistic talent.

State Sen. Elect Miller said, “My job is to make sure that that talent doesn’t go to the prisons.”

State Senator-elect Miller will be sworn into office Monday at the state capitol. There will be a special election to fill her old seat in the spring.

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