Rep. Jason Rojas becomes first person of color in CT history to be part of legislature’s ‘Big 6’

Politics

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s been dozens of majority leaders at the state capitol over the years but when the legislature goes into session in January, one of its key leaders will look different than all of his predecessors.

From the school board…to the town council…to the state house…

“My journey in politics began when I was 9, 10, 11 years old when I told myself I wanted to be mayor of East Hartford,” said Rep. Jason Rojas, D, East Hartford.

East Hartford and Manchester representative Jason Rojas isn’t chief executive of his town like he envisioned. He’s gearing up to be something he never envisioned.

“My job is to manage the priorities of the caucus and my colleagues and make sure that all of their priorities are being met. And hopefully I’ll get to focus on some of my own at some point too,” said Rojas.

Rojas’ colleagues in the House of Representatives voted to make him Incoming Majority Leader. It’s the first time in Connecticut history a person of color is one of the “Big 6,” filling a top six legislative role.

For the Rojas family – it’s a moment of pride.

“Certainly, for my parents who came here from Puerto Rico in the 1960s. I think for the entire state of Connecticut. We are a state that prides ourselves on diversity and now there’s a chance to have a Hispanic American be one of the Big 6 Leaders in the General Assembly,” said Rojas.

Rojas will work hand-and-hand with incoming House Speaker Matt Ritter.

“You really control the floor of the House of Representatives. You have to have patience to deal with people coming at you in an emotional way. You also have to know every bill. You have to be on top of the day-to-day operations…more than anybody else in that chamber and that’s Jason,” said Rep. Matt Ritter, D, Hartford.

Since March, Rojas has been working out of his garage in East Hartford. His day job is Chief of Staff for Trinity College. Come January, he’ll be busy tackling the budget, Covid, healthcare, and hot button issues like legal marijuana. He might even get around to some of his own priorities including affordable housing and regionalization.

The legislature is scheduled to go back into session the first week of January. Because of Covid, it’s unclear if Rojas will be stepping into his role virtually, in-person, or more likely a hybrid of the two.

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