Roman Khondker, 18, of West Haven has filed petition signatures with Republican Registrar of Voters Jo Anne Callegari to force a primary between him and Republican City Councilman-at-Large Richard DePalma for the 116th State House of Representatives seat, currently held by Democrat State Rep. Michael DiMassa. The 116th District covers the north end of West Haven and a small portion of New Haven’s Hill Section. Khondker was required to get 37 in-district Republican signatures to qualify for a primary. On Monday, the day before the deadline, Khondker handed in 70 signatures. Callegari has one week to officially certify the signatures.
Khondker, a junior at New Haven’s Sound School has lived in West Haven since the age of 10 when he and his parents escaped Bangladesh as refugees. He is the youngest political candidate in Connecticut this year.
“The Republican Party gave me the perfect vision of the American Dream. When I moved from Bangladesh, I didn’t have knowledge of what freedom felt like,” he said recently.
His campaign manager is Planning & Zoning Commissioner Steven R. Mullins, who praised the candidate.
“Roman brings a great deal of energy and new ideas and a new vision to West Haven.” Mullins said. “He has an amazing story about his American journey.”
DePalma, a businessman and first term city councilor received the Republican endorsement at last month’s nominating convention. Khondker has pledged an honest, issue-oriented campaign. He is currently collecting donations to qualify for a grant from the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission to fund his campaign.
The winner of the Aug. 14 Republican primary will face DiMassa in the November general election. DiMassa, is a secretary in the City Council Office is serving his first term in the State House.