“For too long we have allowed our representatives in Hartford to finger-point and leave messes for others to clean up,” Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, a Democratic Party candidate, for the 123rd District seat in the state House of Representatives, said during a Greet & Meet event in Trumbull on Thursday, September 20th, 2018. “The time is now to take responsibility for getting our state back on the right path.” Gadkar-Wilcox said her platform will be based on creating a new kind of politics.
Gadkar-Wilcox, an Indian American, is pitted against incumbent David Rutigliano, a Republican in the November 6th elections. Rutigliano has held the seat since 2012.
The Meet & Greet was organized by the Global Organization of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Connecticut Chapter. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International provided an overall view of GOPIO and how GOPIO works closely with local communities in responding to local needs. Describing some of the programs GOPIO-CT initiates, Abraham said, GOPIO members serve in local soup kitchens, do walkathons to support cancer patients, and jointly celebrate Diwali and India’s Independence Day with the members of multiple Indian groups in our community
Anita Bhat, President of GOPIO-CT Chapter, described the many flagship events the organization organizes every year. “Our mission at GOPIO-CT is to be active participants in the local community through involvement in community events and local politics, and by providing services to the Indian community at large here in Connecticut. This lofty goal of providing services and a political voice to the local Indian population has evolved into an exemplary community service organization thanks to the tremendous support of our local Indian community. We lack a voice for Indian Americans in the United States. We need a stronger voice. And we are here to support Sujata in her efforts to represent us in the CT Assembly,” declared Anita Bhat.
Trumbull First Selectman Vicki Tesoro said she was “thrilled” to hear she was running, and calling her “passionate about doing what is right for others.” Tesoro shared with the audience of her commitment to implementing her vision of a more positive, transparent, and inclusive government in Trumbull that listens to the voices of its citizens. Earlier, Tesoro was introduced to the audience by Ajay Ghosh, a Trumbull resident and the Chief Editor of The Universal News Network, and The Asian Era.
Gadkar-Wilcox, an associate professor at Quinnipiac where she teaches Constitutional law and human rights, spoke passionately about how she plans to represent the entire population in Trumbull that is fast growing and diverse.
Gadkar-Wilcox said she was running out of concern for the “contentious and divided” political environment. “The time is now to take responsibility for getting our state back on the right path,” she said. “We have an obligation to ensure that our children enjoy quality public education, preparing them to be innovators and problem solvers. We must find sustainable solutions to manage our budget while not imposing an undue burden on our residents. We must responsibly invest in upgrading our infrastructure, which is the economic lifeline to our state.”
A Trumbull resident for 13 years, Gadkar-Wilcox said she hoped to create a new kind of politics that would work for everyone. “I hope to earn your support so that I may carry your voice to Hartford, working to ensure that you are not only able to thrive, but that Connecticut remains the place you are proud to call home,” she said. “As we move towards election day in November, I will work to earn your trust (and your vote) by listening to your concerns and sharing my vision for a new kind of politics.”
Sujata is a Professor of Constitutional, Comparative and Human Rights Law. She was honored to receive a Fulbright-Nehru Award to support her research on the framework of the Indian Constitution. She also is a former director of juvenile law at Family Services in Westchester where she worked to train attorneys and law students in violence and delinquency prevention programs.
She was awarded the prestigious William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which enabled her to travel to India during the 2015-2016 academic year to continue her research on the framework of the Indian Constitution.
“I am delighted to be selected for a Fulbright-Nehru grant to continue my research,” Gadkar-Wilcox said. “My interest in understanding the pluralism informing the drafting of the Indian Constitution relates to my own experience of being raised in the United States by immigrant parents who instilled in us an appreciation and understanding of our own Indian cultural heritage. The process of operating in overlapping cultural spaces has always enabled me to approach issues from a different vantage point, which is what I see in the drafting of the Indian Constitution as well.”
“Both of my parents were born in India, and I was inspired as a young adult by my grandfather’s stories of his presence at Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ speech, his involvement in pro-Congress Party student protests, and his admiration for B.R. Ambedkar, both as a Maharashtrian and as an advocate for dalit “untouchables.” These led me to be intrigued by the issues of constitutional change at the time of India’s independence.
In 2017, Sujata received the James Marshall Award for Service to the Quinnipiac community. She serves as a faculty fellow with the Albert Schweitzer Institute, is a member of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights and is a Carnegie New Leader with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Sujata, her husband Wynn, and their two daughters live in Trumbull, CT.