Ed Gomes, The Warrior, Bids Farewell To State Senate

Ed Gomes
Ed Gomes says farewell to State Senate

We may never know a politician in our lifetime like Ed Gomes. Honest, decent, caring, brutally candid, perhaps too candid for his own good. If he likes you he’ll tell you. If he doesn’t like you he’ll tell you … right to your face. It’s the only way this retired steel worker knows how to be.

Ed Gomes has seen a lot in his lifetime. Civil rights struggle, marching on Washington, fighting for workers rights as a labor leader and election to the City Council and then State Senate. Ed was never buds with Mayor Bill Finch and it cost him at the ballot box, as the mayor’s political operation supported Andres Ayala in the August State Senate primary in which Ernie Newton finished a close second and Gomes a distant third.

Although Gomes was defeated by Ayala and Finch et al, Ed extracted a chunk of revenge in November, joining a coalition of city pols and organizations to defeat the ballot question keeping selection of Board of Education members with the people and not the mayor who put his prestige on the line asking voters to grant him the power to appoint school board members.

Ed Gomes bid farewell to the State Senate last week. He is the ultimate political warrior.



  1. Ed Gomes “The real deal” and I’m proud to say my long-time friend and political ally.

    Ed defines political integrity and don’t think for a minute we have heard the last of him.

  2. About Senator Gomes

    Ed Gomes was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1936, the second child among seven brothers and two sisters. Ed himself has been blessed with six children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1944 where he attended Bridgeport public schools.

    Ed enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1958 and was stationed in Fort Belvoir, Virginia for his first two years. At that time, Virginia was a segregated state and Ed experienced life under racial segregation when he was off the military base. He was stationed in Korea from 1961 to 1962 and served the balance of his enlistment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Ed was honorably discharged in October 1963.

    While stationed at Walter Reed, Ed was part of the historic March for Jobs and Freedom held in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. The architect of the March was A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union and a civil rights leader since the early 1900’s. The main organizer of the march was Bayard Rustin, a master civil rights strategist. The March for Jobs and Freedom as well as Randolph and Rustin had a profound impact of shaping Ed Gomes’ life and work.

    In November 1963, Ed began working as a laborer then as an annealer at Carpenter Steel in Bridgeport. He immediately got active in his local union (United Steelworkers of America Local 2215) and was named shop steward within six months and grievance person within one year. He eventually ran for office in Local 2215, elected recording secretary and then president.

    In July 1977, Ed left Carpenter Steel to become an International Representative for District 1 of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA), comprised of all the New England states. He was also named the USWA District 1 civil rights coordinator. Soon after, he worked closely with A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Norman Hill, executive director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Ed also became involved with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

    Ed was elected to serve on the Bridgeport City Council in 1983 where he served until 1989. He fought for well-paying jobs, good schools, strong neighborhoods, and seniors, just as he does today. Ed revived the Bridgeport Black Democratic Club and had that club join the Connecticut Federation of Black Democratic Clubs. He was elected as a vice president and member of the Connecticut AFL-CIO Executive Board.

    In 1991, Ed was part of a group of Bridgeport civil rights activists who filed a federal lawsuit challenging the racial inequity of Bridgeport’s City Council districts. The legal team was headed by John Brittain, a UConn law professor and lead counsel on the Hartford school desegregation case Sheff v. O’Neill. Ed testified before Federal District Judge Peter Dorsey, and the case was won in 1993.

    Ed retired from the United Steelworkers of America in February 1998. He was elected once more to the Bridgeport City Council in 1999 and served until 2005. Recently Ed has served as chair of the School Building Committee, starting the construction of the first new schools (five in total) Bridgeport has seen in the last quarter-century. Ed is also a founding member of Education First and Bridgeport First.

    In May 2002, Ed Joined forces with Brennan Center for Justice, the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, and Common Cause Connecticut to successfully challenge Connecticut’s discriminatory delegate primary system. Once again, Ed testified before Judge Dorsey and proved to be a most compelling witness in shaping Judge Dorsey’s decision to overturn the delegate primary system and pave the way for our open primary system. Ed later joined the Board of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group.

    Ed was first elected to serve as state Senator from the 23rd Senatorial District in a special election on November 14, 2005, and was overwhelmingly re-elected in November 2010. In Hartford, Ed will continue his lifelong fight for social and economic justice for all.

  3. Ed, we are going to miss having you represent us in Hartford. You show us all what integrity in politics means and you have inspired myself and others for your willingness to speak out and fight for what is right. I wish there were more politicians like you … you are a true American hero!

  4. Senator Gomes,
    It has been a pleasure to listen to your comments in the past several years where “plain folks” from all over have come together to listen and add their voices to a cause that is larger than a personal agenda. Keep encouraging young people of all neighborhoods to stay in school, perform public service where additional learning experiences are present and to look for opportunities for Win-Win in the public sphere. They are there, just getting harder to find because of past decisions by those in power. Thank you for your service and example. Time will tell.


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