JT Lewis, Brother Of 12/14 Victim, Running For State Senate
Newtown resident J.T. Lewis, whose younger brother Jesse was among those killed on 12/14, has announced his intention to run for the 28th Connecticut Senate District in 2020.
The announcement was made in a video Mr Lewis posted on Twitter Monday, July 15. He told The Newtown Bee shortly after the video went public that he will primary two-term Senator Tony Hwang as a Republican.
In his announcement video, Mr Lewis states that after the mass shooting that took his brother’s life along with 19 other classmates and six educators, he and his mother Scarlett Lewis called Sen Hwang “to help prevent future tragedies.”
“But that senator never returned their call,” Mr Lewis states in the video.
He goes on to recount the horrific moments when Jesse Lewis compelled nine of his classmates to run away when the shooter’s gun jammed, and then chose to stay behind “to defend his teacher.”
Mr Lewis talks about the innate and extraordinary courage his little brother displayed that dark day.
“To honor Jesse, I’ve decided to be courageous enough to run for state senate,” he states in the clip. “I’m entering the fray, because it is only with real leadership that Connecticut will see change that it is so desperate for. I’m young but I know how to lead.”
Mr Lewis then recounts how at age 12 he started a charity to give back after the tremendous love and support his family received.
He talks about the assistance he was able to provide sending Rwandan students to college, and to build clean water systems and farms in Uganda for former child soldiers. Mr Lewis touts the connections he has since made with political leaders, including Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
His Twitter feed includes a July 12 Tweet from Ivanka Trump honoring Jesse’s courage and sending blessings to the Lewis family.
During a brief conversation with The Newtown Bee, Mr Lewis stated he does not want to engage in negative campaign tactics, but said he takes issue with Sen Hwang.
“For people in Newtown, this is especially important,” he said. “I don’t want to attack anyone because I know he’s got a tough job, but Tony [Hwang] is all about taking pictures. And he kind of largely avoided Newtown because he doesn’t think it’s important.
“Newtown is my home town — I’ve lived here my entire life. So I’m counting on the support of the people of Newtown to help me win this election,” he added.
In the coming days, Mr Lewis said constituents will be able to access his new campaign website, but much like President Trump, he said he is currently engaging supporters through his Twitter account @thejtlewis.
Following a request for comment from Senator Hwang, the lawmaker said he encourages “anyone, anywhere to seek public office,” and he was not happy to learn of the accusation that he failed to return calls made to him by Scarlett Lewis.
“I do my best to rep the town and I try to be responsive and respectful of people who call,” Sen Hwang said. “I’ve talked to his mother and to J.T. about their charity and their work on social emotional learning.”
Sen Hwang said he is hesitant to respond to name calling and accusations.
“My focus will be continue to represent the people of Newtown,” he said, and told The Newtown Bee that he “intends to run for re-election for my seat.
“My work remains focused on representing the people of the 28th District,” the incumbent senator said. “Name calling and accusations are part of the politics, but I think those characterizations are a little unfair. This is a time for us to unite, not split apart — that’s my focus.”