Edwin Vargas

Position
State Representative
District
6th District: Hartford
Committees
Commerce (vice chair); Appropriations; Children; Executive and Legislative Nominations
Previous Positions
Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission
Education
B.S., M.P.A., University of Hartford
Occupation
Legislator
Public Financing
Yes
Ed Vargas, a former president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers, was a political player and observer in Hartford for more than 30 years, watching as the city's Puerto Rican community achieved a series of political firsts: representation on the City Council and Board of Education, its first seat in the state House of Representatives, and its first Puerto Rican mayor. In 2008 and again in 2010, Vargas tried to make history by running for the state Senate, where no Latino had ever served.

Knowing that little worth having in Hartford politics comes without a Democratic primary, Vargas challenged Sen. John Fonfara for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Senatorial District, which covers the city's South End and Wethersfield. In successive election cycles, Vargas gambled that the growing Puerto Rican population of the city's South End, once the domain of Italians and Irish, had reached a tipping point, much as it did years ago in Fonfara's old House district, the 6th. Vargas came within 300 votes in the city, but was crushed in Wethersfield.

Vargas lost another primary in 2011, when he challenged Mayor Pedro Segarra. He changed direction in 2012, challenging Rep. Hector Robles, who had been fired from his job as a Hartford police officer for falsifying time cards. Vargas couldn't beat Fonfara, but the win over Robles gave him a lock on Fonfara's old House seat.

In his first term, Vargas voted in 2013 and 2014 for two minimum-wage bills, the second of which raised the hourly minimum to $9.15 on Jan. 1, 2015, and will bump it to $10.10 two years later. He also voted for the sweeping gun control bill crafted in response to the shooting deaths of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Vargas and his wife Sylvia live in Hartford.
Election history
Vargas unseated Democrat Hector Robles in the 2012 Democratic primary.
Most recent election
Edwin Vargas D 5173
Edwin Vargas WF 249
Russell Williams R 662
Financial disclosure
Vargas' major source of income outside his legislative salary is his teacher's pension.
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