Bridgeport Latinos Lose Political Pioneer – Former Town Clerk Hector Diaz, Sr.



Hector Diaz, Sr. had an easy authority about him. When you talk about decency, a quiet leader, he’s at the top of the list of distinguished city officials. Hector served as town clerk from 1983 to 2007 (when he retired) with a break from 1989-91. He passed away over the weekend.
Hector and his wife Vicki were stalwarts of East Side politics. They knew their turf, and they were respected, even among politicians who didn’t always agree with them. Hector was elected town clerk in 1983 during a historic municipal election that produced a 70 percent turnout. Yes, that’s not a typo … 70 percent. That year Republican Mayor Lenny Paoletta sought reelection for another two-year term, challenged by Democrat Charlie Tisdale, the first African American to be nominated by a major party in the city. Hector ran on his line as town clerk.
Hector Diaz was proud of his Puerto Rican heritage as well as modernizing the Town Clerk’s Office with the coming of the computer age. He was always open and accessible to city reporters and a reliable presence for an elected position technically a party-time city function. He had a way of staying above the partisan fray during an era when city Republicans were a relevant force in city politics. Back then, like now, absentee ballots played a major part of city elections. The Town Clerk’s Office holds the statutory responsibility to process them. He prided himself in making sure the ballots were processed in a timely manner even when his staff was overloaded with requests courtesy of various political organizations.
Two of the statements on Diaz’s passing from Bridgeport political leaders:
Statement from Mayor Bill Finch:
“Hector Diaz was a gentleman and a leader who admirably served the people of Bridgeport for more than two decades. Hector will be remembered for his passion and integrity. I send my heartfelt condolences to the Diaz family during this difficult time.”
Statement from Senator Andres Ayala:
The Hon. Hector Diaz is one of Bridgeport’s Puerto Rican Pioneers when it comes to leadership in our Community.  Mr. Diaz served exceptionally as Town Clerk in our City of Bridgeport.  He and his family have a long history of public service and I am lucky enough to have been able to know him and learn from him.  May he rest in peace.”
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