State Representative Robyn A. Porter was first elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives on April 28, 2014, following a special election. Since winning the 94th Assembly District seat, Porter has championed legislation over the past six years that has provided fair wages and supportive workspaces for Connecticut's labor force as the former House Chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. She has also reformed the state's criminal and juvenile justice systems, increased protections for domestic violence victims, advanced pay equity laws for women, and so much more.
In 2017, Porter was named House chairwoman of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. Under her bold and fearless leadership, Connecticut workers have benefited from tremendous progress in the workplace. Below are some highlights from the 2021 & 2022 legislative sessions:
- Established by law, the CROWN Act makes C.T. the 8th state to prohibit discrimination based on ethnic hairstyles historically associated with race.
- She successfully debated legislation strengthening gender pay equity laws for women, which had not been updated since 1963.
- Led legislation that adopted higher department equipment standards collected better data on the prevalence of cancer among firefighters, and secured more local funding for firefighters who leave service with a cancer diagnosis.
- Created the Council on the Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Record.
- Passed legislation that limits the circumstances in which a felony disqualifies you from holding an occupational license and created a pre-approval process to check if a prior conviction disqualifies you before going through testing or training requirements
- She defended historic legislation that provides $300 million to children's mental health services and resources.
- She enacted a Disparity Study to analyze the discrepancies in funding for small businesses owned by ethnic minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities to ensure equity for all.
- She fought to expand access to special relief funding for specific front-line workers who had to work during COVID and got sick.
- Delivered front-line, private-sector workers access to pandemic pay if they were certain essential employees who had to work through the pandemic.
- Championed legislation that established new reimbursement grants to assist schools in upgrading their HVAC systems and ensured regular inspections and reporting on their operation to ensure standard air-quality conditions.
Rep. Porter is currently the Chief Majority Whip and is a member of the Appropriations and Judiciary committees and has authored and sponsored legislation to support an equitable judicial and budget system in Connecticut. Some of that legislation, most recently, restores respect, dignity, and fairer treatment for incarcerated women, creates a Hate Crimes Investigation Unit within the State Police, limits solitary confinement, establishes an office on gun violence prevention, continues to advance the body cameras program, police legitimacy and our new clean slate laws.
As the co-chair of the Juvenile Justice Oversight and Policy Committee's (J.J.P.O.C.'s) Education Subcommittee, Porter continues to work tirelessly on legislation to advance a more diverse and equitable education system. One that improves attendance rates and academic success across the student body. In addition, she continues to work relentlessly to address the root causes associated with a substandard education and disproportionate rates of suspension, expulsion, and arrests amongst children of color to see that they are effectively addressed and eradicated.
Rep. Porter graduated from Gateway Community College with an associate degree in General Studies and later obtained her bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Charter Oak State College. She completed both programs with high honors and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International and the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society. She sits on the boards of Women Against Mass Incarceration (W.A.M.I.), Second Chance Reentry Initiative Program (SCRIP), Stop Solitary CT (S.S.C.T.), and is a member of the Hall of Change (H.O.C.) Select Committee.
She was employed by the Communication Workers of America from 2001 to 2017 and now delivers as a full-time lawmaker. She is a longtime community activist who served as co-chairwoman of the Steering Committee for the Newhallville Community Resilience Team (N.C.R.T.). During this time, the committee focused on increasing public safety by building social cohesion and demanding police legitimacy.
Porter is the proud parent of two thriving adult children and the spirited grandmother of four gifted and talented grandchildren. She is a native New Yorker who has called New Haven her home since the summer of 2000 and proudly serves Hamden and New Haven fearlessly and unapologetically.