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Bridgeport Mayoral Candidates Attend Forum

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Davis Dunavin
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WSHU Public Radio
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim arrives for Candidates' Forum at the Klein Auditorium

Five candidates for mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut met at a public forum in the state’s largest city. 

The forum was organized by the AARP of Connecticut. The AARP’s Nora Duncan moderated.

“The overarching themes are public safety, education, livability, parks, jobs. How does Bridgeport serve as a city that meets the needs of all of its residents?”

 

Sitting mayor Joseph Ganim, a Democrat, is seeking his eighth term as mayor. He has the endorsement of the city’s Democratic party. Ganim returned to office in 2015 after spending seven years in prison for corruption.

“Over these past four years we’ve put Bridgeport back on the right track. Now, with over a billion dollars of investment and job creation in all the neighborhoods of the city and downtown, we need to keep that going. It doesn’t just happen by itself.”

Ganim faces a primary challenge from State Senator Marianne Moore. Moore says a lack of good jobs and public safety has driven a migration out of Bridgeport.

“Come back to Bridgeport, come back to Bridgeport. Don’t take those skills someplace else. But what has to be in place, it has to be a safe environment that young people want to come back and raise their families where they feel it’s safe and it’s welcoming, and that’s what we’re lacking here.” 

Three other candidates, all Republicans, targeted Ganim on government transparency and police-community reactions. The city’s police department has faced several scandals during Ganim’s current term, including the fatal shooting of a teenage resident.

Republican John Rodriguez called for more police accountability and more training in community policing methods.

“Many of these officers -- some, some -- are really not ready to enter an urban environment and deal our youth, or any of our citizens. The officers need to be held accountable, the citizens also, but really. You have the gun. Not us.”

Rodriguez has the endorsement of the city’s Republican party. Two other Republican candidates took part in the forum -- 23-year-old former University of Bridgeport student Dishan Lewis and limo company owner Ethan Book. Bridgeport holds its primary on September 10.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.