A native of Hartford, CT, State Representative Brandon L. McGee Jr. is serving his second term in the legislature and represents parts of Windsor and Hartford. Ojala Naeem from reSET Social Enterprise Trust interviewed Representative McGee for HYPE’s Public Office Blog Series. This series focuses on interviewing public officials from different towns that HYPE members have an interest in running for public office. Our goal is to provide assistance by offering someone for members to reach out to.
Three Tips to Getting Elected
1. Figure out what your passion is and make connections
2. Identify your purpose and be willing to make sacrifices
3. Find political mentors to help guide you and serve as a sounding board
I am a CT State Representative
, representing Hartford and Windsor since 2011. My position is a part time position, but usually requires between 30-40 hours per week of my time. For me, this position allows me to give a voice to the people – the residents of Hartford and Windsor that I serve. My role as State Representative means I get to organize the community, understand their needs and concerns, and advocate on issues important to the community. I help create and support legislation, and provide feedback and support to constituents.
What made you choose to run for this office, and how has your decision helped create an impact/change?
I chose to run for office because of my passions. I have always been passionate about education matters. Growing up in the North End of Hartford, I have always been concerned about the many disparities that have plagued our educational system thus failing our students. Additionally, I have been an advocate for small business development and job creation in distressed areas. I hope that I have helped create a positive impact for my constituents, thought that is definitely a tough question given the amount of calls I receive daily from constituents in need of social services, job assistance, home repairs etc.
How far in advance did you choose to/ need to decide to run?
Well, I thought I was going to be the first Black President…(seriously) I would jokingly tell my wife; all that went down the drain when then Senator Obama announced his run for President. Honestly, since I could remember I have always wanted to be the Mayor for the city of Hartford and/or President of the USA. I identified early on my interest in politics and became a student of political and community engagement. It wasn’t until my high school years when I connected to the importance of the Civil Rights Movement and its impact on communities across the country – communities that look a lot like my own. I took the liberty to further investigate Dr. King’s and his confidants’ approach to addressing discrimination and the unfair treatment all people were facing. I later joined NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. These two organizations really helped in developing my ability to constructively advocate for those without a voice and added clarity to my perspective on civil rights. My fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. helped to develop me as leader and encouraged brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities.
What do you think potential candidates should know before they decide to run/ while they decide to run/ once they've decided to run/ once they're in office?
Identify your purpose – what do you wish to achieve if given the opportunity to serve your community as an elected official? Have a conversation with your family. Know the issues of your community and constituency. Identify some political (and committed) mentors to help guide you and serve as a sounding board. Finally, be willing to make sacrifices.
If any Windsor or Hartford Residents have questions for Brandon L. McGee Jr., you can contact him at Brandon.firstname.lastname@example.org.