Green Party rookie politician looks to unseat O’Dea
NEW CANAAN — Hector Lopez is a unique political candidate, and one that will challenge Republican incumbent Tom O’Dea to serve Connecticut’s 125th District — New Canaan and Wilton — in the General Assembly.
Lopez, a newcomer to politics, has early memories of the Nationalist Party Revolts of the 1950s, the leaders of which sought independence from America, in his native Puerto Rico. As a boy Lopez’ father raised goats and pigs, and encouraged the young Lopez to sell fruits to help the family.
He first came to Connecticut at the age of 13, settling with his family in a downtrodden neighborhood of Waterbury. Because his mother and father struggled to find work, Lopez stayed in the U.S. less than two years before returning to Puerto Rico.
“We grew up in poverty, but my father was a well-read man. We grew up under his influence. We lived in the ghetto, but the ghetto never lived in us,” Lopez said from Puerto Rico, where he is visiting his older sister, on Monday.
It wasn’t until 1991 that Lopez, then working at the New York Transit Authority, settled in New Canaan, where his two daughters were raised and educated through high school. Prior to his run for the state House of Representatives, Lopez has served as a justice of the peace and town constable in New Canaan.
Lopez said he was drawn to the Green Party because its platform most closely matched his political priorities.
“The Green Party is the best vehicle to channel my concerns; that’s why I joined,” Lopez said.
In terms of the issues that most concern him, Lopez casts a wide net. He is passionate about the sovereignty of nations and of native people, including Native Americans, native Hawaiians and his fellow Puerto Ricans.
Health care, Lopez said, should be free and accessible to all and paid for, in part, by reducing the military budget and closing unnecessary overseas military bases. He’s wholeheartedly against fracking and the use of atomic power and, instead, believes that the use of clean, solar energy should be a national, and local, priority, as should the growth and consumption of organic foods.
Lopez, who will vote along party lines in this November’s presidential election, said he is excited at the prospect of serving New Canaan and Wilton in the General Assembly.
“I plan to perform to the best of my ability the functions of the office to which I would be elected. I would do it with passion, with honesty. Corruption would never by my guide. My integrity is worth much more than money,” Lopez said.