CHESHIRE — Jim Jinks, a first-term Democratic Town Council member, announced Thursday he intends to run for state representative in the 90th District, challenging incumbent Republican Craig Fishbein.
Jinks, 48, said in a statement that he decided to run after hearing from “many Cheshire and Wallingford residents that feel that their voices are not heard.”
“They have called, sent a text or emailed asking me to run, to represent them and be their voice,” Jinks said, adding that while he had no intention of running for state office this year and enjoys serving as a town councilor, “ultimately, this moment demands more from all of us.”
In his statement, Jinks referenced Fishbein’s recent retweet of a meme with a racist message. Fishbein apologized for posting the image and removed it Monday after public condemnation. The Wallingford Town Council, of which Fishbein has been a member since 2009, censured him Tuesday.
“In a time where we need leaders to listen with open minds and empathy and help bring our community together, his actions were incredibly divisive,” Jinks said.
He added that the residents of Cheshire and Wallingford “at the very least ... absolutely deserve a leader that doesn’t judge others by the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation or their socio-economic status.”
Fishbein did not immediately return a request for comment.
The 90th House District includes parts Cheshire and Wallingford, including Yalesville.
Fishbein, 54, was first elected as a state representative in 2016 in a special election after the death of Mary G. Fritz created a vacancy. He’s currently vice chairman of the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus.
Since the state parties have held their nominating conventions already, Jinks, or any other Democrat, has until June 11 to gather 143 petition signatures to be on the November ballot.
A Republican challenger would have until June 11 to petition to force a party primary. A third party candidate from the Working Families Party or Independent Party has until August to petition be on the ballot.