Norwalk Community College student by day and newly elected Common Council member by night, 19-year-old Eloisa Melendez exudes an air of strong yet humble confidence.
Clad in a black pantsuit and matching flats, Melendez peers out from behind her black-rimmed glasses Wednesday afternoon and excitedly expresses gratitude to all who voted her in as the youngest person to serve on the City Council.
Prior to Melendez, the youngest person to serve on the council was Sean Arena at the age of 19 in 1977.
“I am young, but I don’t feel as if I’m that different from any other first time candidate,” Melendez said. “Every expert was once a beginner.”
Fresh from taking an exam in her State and Local Government class Tuesday morning, Melendez captured the vote that night and was elected to represent District A, alongside running mate and fellow Democrat David A. Watts.
The pair defeated Republicans Robert S. Mercurio and Edmund J. Ryan.
“I was at the Hilton Garden Inn standing next to Mike Miklave, who ran for mayor, when he leaned over and said congratulations to me, and that I won,” Melendez said. “Oh my god, it was a crazy moment! I couldn’t find my mom because the room was really crowded, and when I got home I had a ton of tweets, Facebook messages and texts saying congratulations. I’m still trying to take it all in.”
A lifelong city resident and 2012 graduate of Norwalk High School, Melendez, a self-professed political junkie, grew up with a passion for the news.
Unlike her teen counterparts, Melendez counted down the days until she could register to vote and soaked up as much information as she could about federal, state and local government.
“My mom (Fanny) always brought me with her when she went to vote; she never missed an election and taught me the importance of voting,” Melendez said. “When I got older, I started becoming interested in the federal government and said one day, you know what? I’m a Democrat.”
Melendez’s father, Jose, a 25-year veteran of the Norwalk Police Department, is a Republican and her mother, who was born in Colombia and moved to Norwalk in 1985, was a …..
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