Meriden has a new city councilor, recently appointed to represent Area 1 following the resignation of Miguel Castro. Forty-two-year-old Yvette Cortez was nominated by the Democratic Town Committee and recently approved, unanimously, by the council. Under the City Charter, the council has the authority to fill such vacancies, with the requirement that the replacement be from the same political party. Cortez will serve out Castro’s term, which expires at the end of next year.
Cortez appears well suited to represent Area 1, which covers Meriden’s inner city. She was born and raised in Meriden, and is a graduate of Platt High School. For the past 18 years, she has worked for the state Department of Children and Families.
Cortez recently told the Record-Journal that holding public office was not something she’d considered her “thing,” but that national unrest over police brutality and racial inequality has changed her perspective. She recently told her young children, ages 9 and 11, of the importance of being involved.
”I told them you can’t just be quiet, you can’t just sit back and not try to intervene politically,” she said. “My district has a large population of Black and brown people, and I think it’s really important that I give them the opportunity to bring their voices to the table.”
Cortez started at DCF as a social worker and is now a children and families program supervisor. She’s in charge of overseeing budgets and state contracts with mental health providers. As she has pointed out, that experience should serve her well when it comes to her subcommittee assignments on the council, which are Human Services, Finance and Public Safety.
Area 1 residents can feel confident that Castro’s replacement is one who has been moved, as so many have in recent weeks, to make a difference by pursuing positive change. We’ll watch with interest as her fledgling work as a public official takes off and grows.