Gov. Ned Lamont has ordered state flags to fly at half-staff in honor of State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago (D-Bridgeport), who died last night of a heart attack. The governor said flags should be lowered immediately until sunset on the date of interment, which has yet to be determined.
“We were terribly saddened to learn this morning of the sudden passing of Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, a man who truly loved public service and his hometown of Bridgeport,” Lamont said. “The state of Connecticut has lost an outstanding advocate and our hearts are broken today as we mourn his loss. He was a devoted father, fighter for his community and a dedicated public servant. Our prayers are with his family, friends and constituents at this difficult time.”
Santiago, 45, was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in the south end of Bridgeport. He began his political career as a volunteer on his father Americo Santiago’s political campaigns for state Representative and Secretary of State, and worked with his stepfather, Mitch Robles, on a number of local campaigns.
His first election was for Bridgeport’s City Council for the 130th district representing the south end, lower eastside, hollow, and the downtown area, followed by a stint as Town Committee Member of the 130th. He began serving in the General Assembly in 2009, and in January was named chairman of the Banking Committee; he also was on the Appropriations and Commerce committees.
“We are stunned and saddened at the loss of our friend and colleague,” said House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and Majority Leader Matt Ritter in a joint statement. “Ezequiel Santiago was a giant of our caucus and the entire Legislature. His commitment to the people of Bridgeport was legendary.
“As a member of the House Democrats’ leadership team, Ezequiel was universally respected for his knowledge of the issues and his quiet, even-handed leadership of the Banks Committee,” the two Democrats continued. “Community defined Ezequiel Santiago. He believed that together, we could be better. He was a leader in the state’s Latino community who brought people together, no matter how tough or controversial the issue.”
“There are no words to express the shock and sadness upon hearing of his passing,” said Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano. “He was passionate about improving Bridgeport and helping people. He was easy to talk to and always open to working together. He never let partisan politics get in the way of conversation and progress. The entire Senate Republican Caucus extends our deepest sympathies to his loved ones. We are honored to have served alongside Ezequiel.”