Born in 1974 to Araminta and Gary Winfield Gary A. Holder-Winfield grew up in a place where many saw nothing past the next few days. Early on "Gary’s environment made him aware of the hazards of limited vision. Seeing those around him including his father succumb to the ills of the pervasive drug culture Gary determined that he should never mimic that which he saw. As a child he began to escape reality by reading and in the process educating himself in areas not usually taught to children in his circumstances. This educative process coupled with the fortune he had of having a mother who wanted better for he and his siblings and the one gift his father gave him, a love for news and civil rights, shaped his trajectory in life."
After High School Holder-Winfield would spend several years in the United States Navy's Nuclear Power Program (considered as the Navy’s toughest academic program) before leaving to work for Alstom Power Inc. During this time Gary realized the need for more involvement in urban schools by professionals such as himself and founded QUEST Educational Initiatives; a company originally designed to provide mentors electronically to those that did not have access to them. In 2003 Holder-Winfield left the engineering field so that he could return to school and begin to find a means by which he could get involved in the social happenings of his community directly. It was during this time that Holder-Winfield served as an intern for the then Appropriations Committee chair, Bill Dyson. Gary Holder-Winfield has continued to work on issues in the criminal justice system both with Representative Dyson and on his own. Gary Holder-Winfield works as a Labor strategist, CSU-American Association of University Professors, where he is tasked with creating legislative strategy. He is a member of and regularly attends Community Baptist Church.
In the ensuing years Holder-Winfield has remained busy by running, in 2003, for alderman in the local election cycle in New Haven. He went on to serve as co-chair of his ward for a time, and He has worked across the state on issues affecting low income and minority communities. His work led to his becoming the chair of the Connecticut Federation of Black Democratic Clubs at the end of 2006.
Holder-Winfield won an open seat in 2008, succeeding the senior member of the House, William R. Dyson. The real contest in this district is winning the Democratic nomination, as Republicans have little presence. In 2010, he won 76 percent of the vote in the primary. Running unopposed in the general election, Holder-Winfield was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party.
Holder-Winfield succeeded an institution--Bill Dyson was elected in 1976, when Jimmy Carter led the Democratic ticket--but he quickly made a mark at the Capitol by taking the lead on one of Dyson's key issues, a move to abolish the death penalty in 2009.
Holder-Winfield brought fresh energy to the issue in his first session, impressing colleagues and lobbyists for anti-death penalty groups. The abolition bill passed the House by a surprisingly wide margin, just four years after an effort led by Dyson had failed. The bill ultimately was vetoed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Holder-Winfield has been a longtime supporter of Gov. Dan Malloy, supporting Malloy in his failed gubernatorial bid in 2006 and in the race for the Democratic nomination in 2010.
He was named vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee beginning in the 2011 session.
Gary Holder-Winfield serves on the board of Family Reentry an organization dedicated to developing reentry issues for Connecticut’s citizens returning home from prison. He is also a board member of CTRIBAT and Empower New Haven due to his role as Newhallville neighborhood representative. He believes in activism and has worked with many local groups including People Against Injustice, The Brotherhood Leadership Summit and others.
Anti Discrimination Bill
Legislation championed by Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield (D-New Haven) that adds transgendered people to current anti-discrimination laws was passed Mid may, 2011, by the House of Representatives.
“I hope this legislation will help those who have suffered discrimination and give them the chance to live free from fear and intimidation,” said Holder-Winfield, who as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee led the fight for passage of the bill.
The bill, An Act Concerning Discrimination (HB 6599), prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment, public accommodations, the sale or rental of housing, the granting of credit, and other laws over which the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has jurisdiction.
“This legislation is long overdue,” Holder-Winfield said. “In its essence, it prohibits discrimination and offers people protections of their basic rights to use public accommodations.” 
Supported Progressive Health Care Reform
In late 2009, Gary Holder-Winfield was one of more than 1,000 state legislators to sign a letter entitled "State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform". The letter was a project of the Progressive States Network and was developed in consultation with national health care reform advocates, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Community Catalyst, Families USA, Herndon Alliance, National Women's Law Center, Northeast Action, SEIU, and Universal Health Care Action Network. The letter reads in part,
- "Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets, undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure... We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality, affordable health care for all."
90th anniversary of the Communist Party USA/People’s World Amistad award
The diverse and inspired overflow crowd stayed to the end of the remarkable celebration of People's World Amistad Award honorees Anna Montalvo, Gwen Mills and Art Perry on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party USA, Dec. 2009. The theme of the event was "Keep the Ball Rolling....to win jobs with union rights, health care, peace and equality!" Unity and struggle were the messages of the day.
Event chair Paul Neal presented Anna Montalvo, president of AFSCME Local 1522 in Bridgeport with citations from the New Haven Board of Aldermen and the Connecticut General Assembly. As he presented the large framed Amistad Award, AFSCME Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano brought out how strong Anna has been in leading a large local with many different worksites including public works where the guys had to learn to take leadership from a woman.
New Haven Aldermen Jackie James and Allan Brison presented the citations to Gwen Mills, political field director of Unite-Here unions for Connecticut and Rhode Island. Shirley Lawrence, lead organizer for Connecticut Center for a New Economy, recalled their ten years of working together and praised Gwen's decision to be a part of the labor movement as she presented the Amistad Award. Gwen spoke of her family and her union in accepting, and recalled many efforts with the Peoples Center over the years.
Working Families Party director Jon Green and State Rep Gary Holder-Winfield presented the citations to Art Perry, Connecticut political director of SEIU 32BJ Justice for Janitors . Joelle Fishman, chair of the CT Communist Party USA, presented the Amistad Award, remembering when they first met over 30 years ago while Art was working at Southbury Training School and the successful struggles to keep the facility open. She emphasized Art's deep commitment to the power of working people, and as political director has never lost that connection to the members he serves. In accepting, Art had many thanks to family, friends and co-workers and said that no matter what comes, this award will always be his highest honor.
Joelle Fishman presented the afternoon's call to action for organizing the unorganized, building even bigger grass roots mobilization on the issues including health care, no troops to Afghanistan, public works job creation and the employee free choice act. She presented certificates of appreciation to Dorothy Johnson and Brian Steinberg for their tireless work over many years delivering the People's Weekly World to workers' homes and getting them involved in the struggle.
The "90th anniversary of the Communist Party was done proud!"
People’s World 37th Annual African American History Month Celebration
"A New Generation of Dreamers - Freedom Rides Yesterday - Freedom Rides Today" was held at the New Haven People's Center Sunday, February 27 2011.
- Our 37th Annual African American History Month Celebration takes place 50 years after the Freedom Rides by young people who traveled from the North to desegregate the South. They were beaten and jailed but they did not turn back. Their courage helped win passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. Today we face new challenges of racism and violence and a new movement for equality and social justice is coming forward. "A New Generation of Dreamers. Freedom Rides Yesterday - Freedom Rides Today" is the theme of this year's celebration hosted by the People's World.
A panel discussion featured Lula White, a retired New Haven teacher, who participated in the Freedom Rides from Chicago while attending college; New Haven high school student Kendra Streater and Hartford high school student Vyctoria Viera, immigrant rights activist and organizer with the Connecticut Center for a New Economy Ricardo Heriquez and State Representative Gary Holder-Winfield.
Prizes and recognition certificates were awarded to participants in the high school arts and writing competition, "How can we build on The Dream for ourselves and the next generation?"
Drumming was e performed by Brian Jarawa Gray.
- This event marks the opening of the 2011 People's World fund drive in Connecticut. Your contribution toward the $2,000 goal for this event and your free subscription to the daily on-line format at peoplesworld.org will be an excellent way to keep up to date with the latest developments and opinions in the struggle for equality, worker's rights and democratic rights, peace and social change. 
Connection to Joelle Fishman
Alfred L. Marder 90th Birthday Celebration
Hon. Rosa DeLauro, Sen. Toni Harp, Sen. Martin Looney, Rep. Juan Candelaria, Rep. Patricia Dillon, Rep. Toni Edmonds Walker, Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, Rep. Roland Lemar, Ald. Jorge Perez, President, New Haven Board of Aldermen, Ambassador Sylvester Rowe, Mohammed Barrie, Vinie Burrows, Mary Compton, Joelle Fishman, Craig Gauthier, Emanuel Gomez, Hilda Kilpatrick, Henry Lowendorf, Kenneth Marder, Rev. Scott Marks,William Morico, John Olsen, Quentin Snediker, Jarvis Tyner, Andrea van den Heever, Susan Yolen
A statement issued on the committee's behalf read;
- Dear Friends and Family of Al Marder,
- We are excited to invite you to celebrate the 90th birthday of Al Marder and to recognize his many contributions, international and local, toward world peace, justice and equality.
- Please join us in this joyous occasion on Sunday, March 18, at 3:00 pm at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511.
- Among Al's many projects, there is one he selected for support on this occasion. The New Haven Peoples Center is a site on the African American Freedom Trail in Connecticut. It provides social, cultural and educational opportunities for the community. From his youth, Al has taken part in the activities of the Peoples Center, where today he serves as president.
Gary Winfield February 15, 2017:
Supporting Chris Murphy
New Haven Democrats gave Chris Murphy a rousing show of support for his U.S. Senate campaign—even as his opponent claimed some of them as her own backers.
The event took place Sunday, late january 2012, at the East Rock home of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. It marked the launching of Murphy’s campaign organizing drive in the third U.S. Congressional District. He was running for the 2012 Democratic nomination of the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman.
Some 80 Democrats, many of them elected officials and influential activists, crammed the downstairs of the home DeLauro shares with Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg. As Dannel Malloy learned in the 2010 gubernatorial elections, New Haven Democrats, the state’s largest and best organized bloc of urban votes, are the big prize in statewide elections. Both Murphy and his leading opponent for the Democratic nomination, Susan Bysiewicz, had been calling and calling ward-level Democrats for months seeking their support.
Murphy drew an impressive turnout at DeLauro’s home Sunday. Leading state legislators like state Sen. Majority Leader Martin M. Looney and Reps. Toni Walker, Roland Lemar, and Gary Holder-Winfield all spoke in support of his campaign. And 16 members of the city’s 30-member (all-Democratic) Board of Aldermen showed up, including many of the newly elected labor-backed activists who represent a formidable vote-pulling force.
“I think we have the entire Board of Aldermen here!” DeLauro proclaimed while introducing Murphy to the crowd from a perch on a stairway.
“I think the overflow crowd at Congresswoman DeLauro’s house spoke for itself as to who New Haven Democrats think the best candidate is to stand up for the middle class,” Murphy campaign manager Kenny Curran said.
Craig Gauthier day
When New Haven Mayor Toni Harp declared Feb. 23, 2014 as "Craig Gauthier day in the City of New Haven," the overflow crowd at the Peoples Center burst into cheers.
This 40th annual African American History Month event, also held in Hartford the night before, made history.
After leading a youth march to end violence and for jobs with Gauthier, the Mayor read her proclamation to this "courageous union and community leader in our State," noting his journey from Louisiana to New Haven, leading his union and in "the Communist Party USA, where he has campaigned for peace, to end police brutality, meet the needs of youth, to create living wag jobs in the community and for union rights."
Before presenting his life story, Gauthier received additional citations from Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, elected two days later to fill the state senate seat vacated by Harp; Ald. Dolores Colon, chair of the Black and Hispanic Caucus of the Board of Alders, John Harrity, president of District 26, State Council of Machinists, Jarvis Tyner, executive vice chair of the Communist Party USA, and a poem by Baub Bidon.
Rally in support of illegal immigrant
Students at Wilbur Cross High School, along with their teachers and staff rallied on October 18 in support of classmate Mario Aguilar Castanon, who is being held by ICE without bond pending deportation. Community supporters and elected officials swelled the crowd to several hundred. Mayor Toni Harp, who defied Trump in supporting sanctuary policies for New Haven, opened the rally on the steps of City Hall.
A popular junior at Wilbur Cross who works 30 hours a week to help his family, Mario fled violence in Guatemala. While reporting to the courthouse in Milford to answer a traffic charge, ICE agents grabbed him and are holding him in detention.
Wilbur Cross Principal Edith Johnson, speaking in support of her “exceptional student,” said that fear of ICE arrests must now be added to “community violence, tragic accidents, medical conditions and significant trauma” which impact the school’s diverse student body.
Stephanie Paucar, a classmate of Mario and a member of Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D), said, “We shouldn’t have to leave home every day wondering if our loved ones might be detained. As the child of immigrants, I fear all the time about what if my parents would be detained.”
In an emotional speech, State Sen. Gary Winfield said there is something deeply wrong in this country to allow kids to be locked up, and supported Paucar’s call to abolish ICE. Winfield was a leader in strengthening Connecticut’s TRUST act, which prevents state officials from unnecessary cooperation with ICE agents.
Mary Perez Estrada, one of Mario’s teachers said, “Through this experience, Wilbur Cross students, teachers, and staff have learned how to be better activists.” Surrounding her, the students led the crowd chanting, “What’s outrageous? Kids in cages!” “Up, Up with immigration; down, down with deportation” and, “No justice, no peace! We want Mario released!” They carried hand-lettered signs reading, “No Human is Illegal,” “Yo Soy de Guatemala y No Soy Peligroso” (I am from Guatemala and I am not dangerous), and “Bring Mario Home.”
- official State rep. bio, accessed Sept. 12, 2011
- official State rep. bio, accessed Sept. 12, 2011
- Berniecrats, accessed August 24
- official State rep. bio, accessed Sept. 12, 2011
- Connecticut mirror bio, accessed Dec. 10, 2011
- official State rep. bio, accessed Sept. 12, 2011
- CT Free Radicals, Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield - a Great Ally , 19 May 2011
- Progressive States Network: State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
- http://www.peoplesworld.org/new-haven-people-s-world-amistad-award-celebration-big-success/, PW, New Haven People’s World Amistad award celebration big success, December 8 2009]
- NHPC Blog A New Generation of Dreamers , Tuesday, February 22, 2011
- New haven People's center blog, Tuesday, March 6, 2012, Alfred L. Marder 90th Birthday Celebration
- New Haven Independent, Leading City Dems Boost Murphyby Paul Bass | Jan 23, 2012 9:16 am
- http://peoplesworld.org/youth-march-and-celebration-inspires-struggle-for-equality/ Youth march and celebration inspires struggle for equality, by: JOELLE FISHMAN]