, a lifelong Hartford resident, was first elected in 2010 to the Connecticut General Assembly where he represents the 1st Assembly District in Hartford. Matt currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the Legislature's Public Health Committee
and is also a member of the Banking Committee
, and Planning and Development Committee
. Since being elected in 2010, Matt has received several awards and recognitions. In 2014, Matt was named one of the Hartford Business Journal's "40 Under Forty".
HYPE member Klejdis Radomi interviewed Matt for HYPE's public office blog series. The series focuses on interviewing public officials from different towns in which HYPE members may be interested in running for public office. One of our goals is to provide assistance by offering someone for members to reach out to.
What made you want to run for office?
Matt grew up in a politically affluent family; both his father and grandfather were active in the community and the passion for it was passed down to him. During his time at UConn School of Law, Matt volunteered in multiple campaigns further instilling in him the importance of running for public office. He was struck by the young growing Hartford scene and wanted to be a part of the change and help his community progress.
How far in advance did you choose to run?
Matt was elected to City Council in November of 2007, but did not finish his term because he was elected to the General Assembly in 2010. For the 2010 election, he decided to run a year in advance. This gave him ample time to get acquainted with his constituents and really learn how to best serve them.
What are three tips you have for getting elected?
Get involved: There are always opportunities to get involved within your community. Matt suggest getting out there and talking to people, as learning about their issues will help you connect to your constituents.
Utilize Candidates in office: Candidates that are already in office have gone through the ringer and will be able to help you with your path.
Get on a City Board or Commission: Volunteering in the city before running for a public office is a great way to learn the political process and make a difference. City boards and commissions are always looking for young perspectives to create a more diverse decision making process. Overall, Matt encourages those who are running for office to get to know the city and the people who you will be serving.
What do you think potential candidates should know before deciding to run for office?
First and foremost, Matt recommends talking to your employer. The schedule for an elected official can be very hectic, especially while in session. It is important to have your employers support and understanding as you run for office and ultimately achieve your goal. It is also crucial to talk to your family! You truly need the support and blessing of your family and the people around you.
How have you leveraged social media while running for office, and now holding office? What have you found to be effective that you would recommend to others?
During his time in office, Matt has been able to really utilize social media, especially Facebook. On his page he is able to share with his constituents upcoming events and photos and really get their feedback on issues that are important to them. He also sends out email blasts with important information to keep everyone in the loop.
Why is it important for more young professionals to run for office and be more civically engaged?
In the not so distant future, millennials will be the leaders in the region. With Connecticut facing struggles, including ways to recruit and retain young talent, the work that HYPE is doing is vital to the region. Matt believes we need an active, engaged community in order to be able to achieve goals and continue making Hartford a great place to not only work, but to live and grow a family.
How would you recommend a young professional get involved in the City of Hartford?
Matt encourages those who want to get more involved to volunteer, join a non-profit board, or reach out to your Legislator.