By Juan Hernandez
32BJ SEIU Connecticut District Leader
On Monday morning, our union offices in downtown Hartford were packed with over three dozen 32 BJ members who came to endorse Hartford mayor Pedro Segarra for re-election. In his rousing address to the members and press, the mayor clearly summed up the reason for our support: “Political power comes from the grassroots. It should not come from a chosen privileged few. This city and this office are not for sale. WE own it!”
In his first full term, Mayor Pedro Segarra has faithfully represented a city where 80% of the inhabitants are people of color. He has defended immigrant rights with his landmark city ordinance on municipal IDs, allowing Hartford residents who otherwise have no way to prove their identity to come out of the shadows. He has stood up for struggling workers with his support for $15-an-hour for fast food employees. He has shown regional and national leadership by co-chairing the U.S. Council of Mayor’s Task Force on Immigration Reform. And Mayor Segarro will stand with all 32BJ members for fair wages and benefits in our upcoming state-wide contract negotiations.
As expected, however, a few hours after our members gathered to endorse the mayor, a small group at the Hartford Democratic Town Committee chose wealthy Hartford newcomer Luke Bronin as the party’s official candidate. (According to his LinkedIn profile, Bronin’s only previous connection with Hartford was during the two years he served as the Chief of Staff to the President of the Hartford Financial Services Group).The press inaccurately reported that the mayor “walked out” of the process. In fact, he courteously declined the chance to be nominated when it became clear that this closed process would not reflect the will of Hartford’s residents. Now, he’s taking his fight to the streets, and we’re again standing with him, as we organize to gather the 1,700 signatures necessary to appear on the ballot. After that, we have less than seven weeks to mobilize Hartford voters and win the Democratic primary on Wednesday, September 16.
Let’s work together to make sure our local community is led by someone who fully understands and represents the diversity of our community — re-elect Pedro Segarra as mayor of Hartford.