WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The new State Representative-elect of the 116th district knows she has an uphill battle ahead filling a seat left vacant amid a scandal.
Treneé McGee knows what she is getting herself into. “I’m stepping into a fiery place. You know, a shark tank.”
McGee is the Democrat who defeated Republican Richard DePalma and unaffiliated Portia Bias Tuesday night in a three-way special election to represent West Haven and a portion of New Haven in the State House.
McGee is replacing former State Rep. Michael DiMassa, who was arrested back in October, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds from the City of West Haven. He is charged with one count of federal wire fraud. He has since resigned from his position in City Hall and the State House.
McGee, 27, was born and raised in West Haven. She’s also an artist who opened a studio for young actors. She said one way to earn the trust of constituents is by creating community conversations, “Zoom calls, knocking on people’s doors, bringing people together for a cup of coffee and a conversation because those things are very valuable, they’re important.”
McGee said she feels as if she is standing here today on the shoulders of a lot of women who fought for her. She said she knocked on a lot of doors.
Not everyone shared her views, but they found common ground. They also said they would support her, adding that it’s time for the youth and millennials to rise, and seeing out here is motivational for those who are coming.
“All of those things contributed to yesterday’s success,” she said.
Eye to eye contact she feels is the best way to engage people. She did well, she said, in the areas where she spent the most time.
“Our communities experience things differently. For some of us, we read books and take in. Especially for Black people, it’s important for us to see people in certain positions because then it helps us to understand, especially children, that we can be there as well.”