Rep. Juan Candelaria has served New Haven’s 95th District since 2002. At the start of the 2017 General Assembly session, Rep. Candelaria was named to the leadership role of Deputy Speaker, the first Latino to hold the position.
In addition, he is also a member of the Appropriations, Education, and General Law Committees.
Rep. Candelaria was instrumental in spearheading the state's efforts to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Connecticut cleared dispensaries to open on January 10, 2023.
In addition, Rep. Candelaria led the charge to pass a law allowing undocumented immigrants to present birth certificates as a secondary form of proof of identity as well as foreign national identification cards when soliciting driver's licenses.
In the 2017 legislative session, Rep. Candelaria was instrumental in passing legislation, after five years of persistent efforts, to give students equal access to institutional financial aid. In addition, he got legislation passed to make feminine hygiene products tax exempt. Most recently, he proposed and passed legislation to provide funds for hurricane victims from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands living in Connecticut.
In 2013, Rep. Candelaria was elected Chair of the Black and Latino Caucus by his colleagues and, as Chair, he was instrumental in passing legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for Connecticut driver’s licenses.
Rep. Candelaria has been a strong supporter of education issues during his tenure in the General Assembly. He led efforts that extended bilingual education to 6 years and to empower youth and Latinos statewide to participate in the democratic process through voter registration and education. He also leads a strong network of young people who have ambitious professional and social aspirations.
Rep. Candelaria has worked tirelessly to support and enable groups such as the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) to be recognized, making them eligible to receive state funding to help them move ideas and initiatives forward on behalf of local businesses.
His vast professional managerial experience and marketing skills have earned him accolades and promotions in the private sector. Besides holding public office as a State Representative, he is a former New Haven Alderman and a current member of New Haven’s Town Committee. Additionally, Rep. Candelaria serves on several boards and organizations such as the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, the Connecticut State Hispanic Caucus, and the National Conference of State Legislators.
Candelaria is a graduate of Albertus Magnus College and holds an MBA from the University of New Haven.