Officials React to Death of State Rep. Quentin Williams in Crash

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The governor has ordered that state flags be lowered in honor of 39-year-old State Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams (D-Middletown), who was killed in a crash early Thursday morning. House leaders have canceled legislative meetings and closed the Capitol Complex Thursday and Friday and lawmakers and others across Connecticut are responding to the tragic news of the loss of a colleague.

The governor has ordered that state flags be lowered in honor of Williams, who was killed in a crash on Route 9 in Cromwell early Thursday morning, according to a family friend.

Williams served Middletown in the 100th District and was recently named House Chair of the Labor Committee. He had been sworn in Wednesday for the new term.

Williams is survived by his wife, Carrissa Williams.

State Rep. Quentin "Q" Williams was killed in a crash on Route 9 in Cromwell early Thursday morning, according to a family friend.

He was a graduate of Middletown Public Schools, earned a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Bryant University, a Master’s of Public Administration from Villanova University, and a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University.

He was pursuing studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Beta Sigma Lambda Chapter, Hartford.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Speaker of the House Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) said The Legislative Office Building and State Capitol will be closed and all legislative business will be canceled tomorrow 

"The Legislative Office Building and State Capitol will be closed and all legislative business will be cancelled tomorrow, Friday, January 6, due to the tragic passing of our colleague Representative Quentin “Q” Williams. Both buildings will reopen and legislative work will resume on Monday, January 9. Our thoughts and prayers are with Q's family and loved ones and the entire General Assembly community during this devastating time." Looney and Ritter said in a statement.

The governor has ordered state flags to be lowered effective immediately and remain lowered until sunset on the date of interment, which has not yet been determined.

Information on services will be available in the coming days.

Following are some of the statements that have been pouring in.

Gov. Ned Lamont

“This is devastating news, and I am incredibly saddened by this tragedy,” Lamont said in a statement. “Quentin had an infectiously optimistic personality, and he absolutely loved having the opportunity to represent his lifelong home of Middletown at the State Capitol. Public service was his passion, and he was always advocating on behalf of the people of his hometown. He was a genuine person with a genuine soul, and he will be missed. My prayers are with his family, including his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen, as well as his friends and colleagues in the General Assembly.”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro

“I am heartbroken at the tragic loss of State Representative Q Williams.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues, and the Middletown community. I had the honor of watching Q grow in local politics, from an energetic member of the Middletown Young Democrats to City Treasurer and on to State Legislator. His unwavering commitment to Middletown and those he served was inspiring. He had the most positive outlook, only seeing opportunity and always striving to find creative solutions to whatever issues he took on.  I will always remember Q for his dedication to public service, his great sense of humor, warm smile, and unforgettable laugh,” DeLauro said in a statement. “Q will be deeply missed and I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Carrissa, his mother, Queen, and the many friends he called family.”

Congressman Jim Himes

Attorney General William Tong

“I met Q before he became a state legislator when he was an advocate for a local school in Stamford, and I can only think of one word to describe him—hopeful. Q was always brimming with optimism and possibility. He had a spirit that was relentlessly positive and aspirational. We need his light more than ever, and that’s why it is so hard to lose him. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife and his family and the community that he loved and served,” Tong said.

Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas

“Today the people of Connecticut lost an advocate. Q’s unrelenting dedication to create a more equitable Connecticut for all set the standard for all public officials," Thomas said in a statement. "I am lucky to have been able to call Q a friend. I will miss his passion and energy and I grieve with his family and all who knew him."

State Treasurer Erick Russell

“I’m heartbroken. Q was not only a talented and compassionate leader, but a uniquely sincere and uplifting person. His charisma, and day-brightening smile, belied his relentless commitment to improving the lives of his constituents in Middletown, whom he loved like family.

“Q gave all of himself. As his friend and brother in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., I saw the impact of his energy and kindness envelope everyone around him. He was a mentor, a bolt of energy, and a guiding light. As a legislator, he was diligent, tenacious and righteous. As a friend, he was unmatched.

“My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Q’s wife Carrissa, his family and loved ones, and the people of Middletown today,” Russell wrote.

Middletown Mayor Benjamin Florsheim

“Rep. Williams truly embodied the phrase larger than life. His laugh, smile, and presence were felt in every space shared with him. His passing is a true loss for our community. A light has been dimmed today. His dedication to fighting for equity, education, worker’s rights, and justice in all its forms is irreplaceable, and while we are heartbroken, the community he loved so much—and where Q was loved so much in return—will continue the fight,” Florsheim said in a statement.

Sen. Matt Lesser

Sen. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) is serving as a spokesperson for the Williams family.

“Q was a beloved friend and his passing even as I write this is still shocking and unfathomable. He and his family have meant so much to the Middletown community and personally to myself and my family. As a legislator he was a passionate and committed public servant whose intellect and warmth made our state a better place and the General Assembly a better place. He was a trailblazer, the first Black state representative ever elected in Middletown. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen and his entire family as they manage the unimaginable," Lesser said.

City of Middletown Professional Firefighters Local 1073

"Earlier this morning, Engine 1, Engine 3, Rescue 1 and Car 1 responded mutual aid to Route 9 in Cromwell for a two car accident. Members operated there for several hours. We are very sad to report that both victims perished in the accident," City of Middletown Professional Firefighters Local 1073 posted in Facebook. "These calls are never easy. Sadly, we have learned that one of the victims was Middletown’s own State Representative Quentin “Q” Williams. Representative Williams was a well respected legislator who cared about his constituents here in Middletown and for Connecticut residents everywhere. His vision and insight will be missed. Please keep Rep. Williams, his family and friends, and the driver of the other vehicle in your thoughts and prayers today."

Middletown Public Schools

Speaker of the House Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) and Majority Leader Jason Rojas

“I am in shock,” Speaker Ritter (D-Hartford) said. “Q was my dear friend and I am scarred by his sudden loss. We will have time to reflect on Q as a legislator in the weeks to come, but right now I deeply mourn my friend and send all of my love to Carrissa, Queen and Q’s family. We will all miss Q.”

“Rep. Williams was an amazing human being. His infectious smile could instantly make a difficult day better. He was an amazing husband, friend and colleague. He loved community and serving others. Truly - a friend to all who knew him. This is a terrible tragedy and a great loss to our state. My heart goes out to his wife, family, and all who loved Q. We will miss him, Rojas (D-East Hartford, Manchester) said..

Ritter and Looney Thursday canceled legislative meetings and closed the Capitol Complex.

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora

"Our hearts are with the family and friends of State Representative Quentin Williams, and our House Democratic colleagues and staff who today find themselves grieving this unimaginable loss. Representative Williams was a young, emerging leader who deftly balanced forward-looking thoughtfulness with passion and charisma in his work at the Capitol and within his community. His tragic passing is a devasting loss for the General Assembly, Middletown, and the State of Connecticut," Candelora said in a statement.

State Representative Geoff Luxenberg (D-Manchester)

“In a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking instant, I learned that my friend of nearly 20 years, Quentin “Q” Williams has tragically passed away. No statement from any friend, colleague, politician or person will ever be able to capture in words his humility, his passion for justice, or his zeal for life. When Q laughed – his one-of-a-kind booming laugh – you felt his joy deep in your soul. When he smiled, the room lit up. When he spoke, everyone listened. And when he worked as Chair of this Housing Committee, or in any legislative capacity, you knew with a certainty that was both comforting and rare, the bedrock of his work was a passion and love for the people of Connecticut that was deeper and more authentic and more real than anyone. State legislators come and go but there will never be another Q. Many news reports will soon honor his legacy with all his accomplishments but his legacy to the institution, State of Connecticut, and to the Housing Committee, which he chaired until Wednesday with such skill and honor, will always be about his incredible humility. I think he would want us to remember him modestly as Q – a friend and humble public servant, a man of the people, a person who fought the toughest injustices of this world, and because of his Texas-sized heart and brilliant mind, won more than most,” Luxenberg, House Chair of Housing Committee, said in a statement.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk)

"The loss of our colleague Representative Quentin “Q” Williams is utterly shocking and unspeakably heartbreaking. He was a wonderful person who was smart, talented, and had a laugh that would make everyone laugh with him. He was always energetic, exuberant, and felt blessed to be a public servant. We have lost a valued and dedicated member of the legislative community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carrissa and his family and loved ones during this devastating time. Truly tragic news for all who knew him," Looney and Duff said in a statement.

Senator Jan Hochadel (D-Meriden)

“This is such a huge loss for our community and family here in the legislature,” Hochadel said in a statement. “Representative Williams was an inspiration and always had a positive outlook. He was a tireless advocate for improving the lives of so many families in his district and throughout Connecticut. He took his leadership role seriously and served the residents of Middletown proudly. I hope to honor his memory by representing the people in Middletown with the passion he demonstrated. I will never forget the work Representative Williams has done and the example he set. My deepest thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences are with his family at this time.”

Meriden Mayor and Delegation

“Through our work together with Middletown we have known Q to be a passionate lawmaker with a mission to provide children and families a brighter future, carried out by his hard work, tremendous personality and sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues at this difficult time. His legacy will live on through the many lives he has touched, both personally and professionally,” Meriden Mayor Kevin M. Scarpati and Meriden's state delegation said in a joint statement.

Senate Republican Leaders

"We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Rep. Quentin Williams. There are no words to describe the tragedy of losing such a bright star and an individual who so deeply dedicated himself to helping people. Quentin embodied love and joy. He was passionate and hard working. Everyone knew him as someone who wanted to better our world, who radiated positivity, and who had so much more to give. Our hearts break for his family, friends, loved ones, colleagues, and every life he touched. Life is precious, and it is painful to see such a beautiful life and soul taken far too soon. We pray for all," Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford). Chief Deputy Leaders Eric Berthel (R-Watertown), Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), Henri Martin (R-Bristol), and Heather Somers (R-Groton), said in a statement.

State Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan

Sen. Julie Kushner

"Today, we mourn the tragic death of Representative Quentin "Q" Williams.  His passing leaves a deep wound in the hearts of all who knew him.  The last several weeks have been filled with excited phone calls and Zoom meetings as Representative Williams and I prepared our work for the 2023 legislative session as Co-Chairs of the Labor and Public Employees Committee.  In our conversations, he was passionate and joyful about the opportunity to make life better for the working families of Connecticut," Kushner said in a statement.

“I first met Quentin in 2018, when we were both elected to the legislature for the first time. We attended a progressive legislators conference in Washington, D.C. before taking office, and it was then that I became aware of what a caring and dedicated person he was. We served together on the Housing Committee and we were looking forward to serving as co-Chairs of the Labor Committee this session. I can say without exaggeration that there was no ego with Quentin, that he was all about public service for the good of the people. He had a rare combination of personal warmth, trust, good nature and commitment that is going to be missed on so many levels in the legislature, both personally and professionally.

I want to express my sincere condolences to his wife and family and to his friends and colleagues."


“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Rep. Williams earlier this morning. Just last night, we talked with Q at the inaugural ball and he was true to form – brimming with positive energy and a big smile that lit up the room. Q was not only an incredible advocate for his constituents in Middletown, but for all working people across Connecticut. We were very much looking forward to working with him as the new House Chair of the Labor & Public Employees Committee. His loss will be felt deeply for a long time to come. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his wife, Carissa, and the rest of his family,” Ed Hawthorne and Shellye Davis, president and executive vice president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said in a statement.

Connecticut Justice Alliance

“We are devastated by the death of our friend Quentin Williams. Q was a remarkable representative the people of Middletown had pride in and could count on to always fight for them. Q stood up for all those in Connecticut whose voice was not allowed to be heard as loud as others. His brilliance, his compassion, and his larger-than-life smile could change the mood in any room and most importantly bring change to both opinion and policy when it was needed most. He cared deeply about many of the issues CTJA holds dear and we considered him not just an ally, but a friend. This is a very sad day for Connecticut. We offer our support and condolences to Q’s family. He can not be replaced.”

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