Election 2013: Bridgeport and Waterbury




The November 5th election is drawing near and around the state a number of Latinos are vying for elected positions. CTLatinoNews.com is presenting a series on Latino candidates running for seats on city councils or their equivalent. We invited all candidates for those seats to answer a set of questions, we are publishing those we received. We do invite all candidates for all seats to post their information on our our Facebook page – CT Latino News. Today, we present two candidates from Waterbury – Victor Lopez and Jay Gonzalez – where nearly 35% of the city’s residents are Latinos and one from Bridgeport – Rick Torres – where Latinos make up nearly  40% of the city’s population.
Previous installments of this series may be accessed on our Politics page.


Rick Torres, Republican Candidate for Bridgeport Common Council

Rick Torres

What position are you running for and why?
I am running for the Common Council in Bridgeport, CT. I am running to provide different answers to governing a city. I think it is clear that the answers of the past 30 years or so have failed. Bridgeport’s government has destroyed its economic engine and has relegated Bridgeport to a ward of the state. I believe that any American city can sustain itself if it is properly governed. When a city cannot sustain itself it is proof of bad government.
Why do you think is the key issue for a candidate in this election?
The key issue is jobs. Bridgeport is a dying city. Businesses are running away or coming here with huge givebacks. Those leaving are taking jobs, and those coming are here for as long as the giveaways stay in place. Bridgeport like all other cities needs to be a job generator. This can only happen when Bridgeport is attractive to businesses. This is possible only when taxes are low and the city government is not an impediment to business.
 Long ago Bridgeport decide to be a public sector city. A city that provides social services instead of a city that was good soil for private sector growth. This change has driven the efforts of politicians since. Our politicians work to shakedown the state for more and more state aid and hence Bridgeport’s problems have become the state’s problem. Today Connecticut is among the worst states with regard to fiscal responsibility. Connecticut has become a state interested in inner-city social services rather than in economic growth, effectively a larger version of Bridgeport.
Why do you think you are the most qualified candidate?
My running mate and I are interested in making Bridgeport strong once again. We want to compete against state programs with private sector jobs. We do not wish to eliminate the social safety net, instead to compete and win against it. We want to make sure the city government is honest and transparent. We want to eliminate corruption and to innovate the taxing method of the city. We want to impose a tax cap. We want to freeze the budget. We want to do more with less. These are managerial challenges we wish to impose upon the mayor and the staff of the city government.


Jay Gonzalez, Republican candidate for Waterbury Board of Alderman
Jay Gonzalez
What position are you running for and why?
(No response)
What do you think is the key issue in this election?
Its difficult to pick only one issue that a candidate can focus on however if I had to pick one I’d say it should be education. The education of young people today can fend off the challenges of tomorrow. Whether it be financial education, to help them understand the consequences of their decisions and how it can affect them later in life, municipal education, so they can better understand how the system and their city works, or Health education to combat childhood obesity and allow them to have the info to make better judgments. Education is essentially a strategy to write the wrongs of the past and a doorway to look into a positive future.
Why do you think you are the most qualified candidate?
While I will say I am a qualified candidate, I hesitate to say that I, among all the good people running for Alderman, am the most qualified. I will say that as a lifelong resident of Waterbury, I know a lot about the city and have seen and heard a lot from citizens. I like talking with the people. I’m a people person to put it plainly. I always have been. As a Conservative Latino, which may be rare for a candidate but not as rare as it sounds, I have things that I believe in, care about, and will not budge. I believe in strong family values. I am pro life. I respect other opinions but I’m a supporter of traditional marriage. Limited government, personal liberties and lower taxes. To me those beliefs can lead us down a successful path. I hope that I have the opportunity to represent the citizens of Waterbury and will do my best to represent them well.
Victor Lopez, Democrat Candidate for Waterbury Board of Alderman

Victor Lopez

What position are you running for and why?
I am a Democratic Candidate running to become a Member of the Board of Alderman in the City of Waterbury. Early on in life I developed a keen interest on the well being of others. I remember, as if it happened yesterday, an occasion while attending the Community College back in 1989. After our last class of the day, a friend of mine mentioned that he was hungry. I had just enough change to ride the bus back home…needless to say; we both walked home that evening, under the rain, while sharing a cup of hot chocolate.  Why am I running for this position? I am a man of faith and strongly believe that ‘to those that are given much, much is expected of’.  God has blessed me in many ways, and my involvement with the community as President of a Social Services agency, has led me to believe that although a lot of positive things have been accomplished in Waterbury, there is a lot more work that needs to be done. I want to be part of the progress. Waterbury is changing and I believe that my involvement will allow me to serve my community at an even bigger level and platform. Considering that I am a new comer to the political arena, I have read the City Charter many times in order to better understand the duties and responsibility of this position. I am totally convinced that serving as an Alderman will allow me to engage key issues at a level which I can be influential and constructive. The City of Waterbury, led by Mayor Neil M. O’Leary, has an excellent team in place which has proven its leadership and determination. I have witnessed diversity, I have enjoyed inclusion, and I want to be a part of it.
What do you think is the key issue for a candidate for election?
Although issues in the City of Waterbury assimilate relevant issues that many cities are facing today, defining these issues will allow us to put forward a plan of action. The process of responsibly outlining these issues enhances our chances to stay focused on the implementation of the essential steps to deal with, and resolve, the specified issues. Individually, different issues may be take precedent over others, but I strongly believe, that collectively the issues should grasp the same significance. I find several key issues such as: equal opportunity, education, economic development, and civic engagement which can be assessed, studied and acted upon. The underlined subject that takes my priority is cultivating a belief that all the residents of Waterbury have access to a good quality of life.  This encompasses many aspects of our daily lives, not just as individuals but also as members of our community.  As residents we must abandon the promotion of negativism, and realize that only the action of responsible residents has a direct affect in the realization of a City that moves forward and prospers.  As a resident of Waterbury the inclusion of all our children to an excellent education with resources stimulating an environment for success, independently of belief, culture, or social status, is paramount to me.   As a resident of Waterbury relying on elected officials who make decisions for the betterment of our community, as a whole, is essential to me. As an Alderman who recognizes the importance of been part of the legislative body of the City of Waterbury, and acknowledges the trust residents have placed in me- I will continue listening to my neighbors, voicing their concerns, walking in their shoes, and engaging them as my equals. Simply put, it would be an honor to serve my fellow residents and the City of Waterbury.
Why do you think you are the most qualified candidate?
Frankly, I don’t think that’s for me to answer. Yeah, I know…that is not the answer expected from a politician. I think Waterbury has a lot of talented, qualified individuals who strive for a better City. Sometimes political ideologies are the only differences, but ultimately I know that we all want to serve our City as best we can. I will never judge or negatively comment on a fellow citizen. I will be very honest; I have a Theological Degree and an Accounting Diploma. I am the President of The Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, Member of the Board of Directors at New Opportunities, Inc., Member of the Board of Directors at The Palace Theater, Member of the Committee of Long Term Unemployment at The Dept. of Labor, Neighborhood Council Member, Wilson School Governance Council Member, and still find that none of that qualifies me. The mentality of having superiority over another person does not serve me any purpose. The enjoyment of impacting another person in a significant and positive manner serves as my motivation to continue being who I am. I am a Dad, Son, Husband, Brother, Friend. What qualifies me is the fact that I love the City of Waterbury, I have an unwavering believe in the people of Waterbury and I will work diligently alongside my fellow Alderman to make Waterbury a better City for all its residents. I reside and work in Waterbury, I drive the same roads, I frequent the same establishments, I walk the same sidewalks, and I am impacted just as everyone else is by the decisions of our elected officials. I enjoy shopping at Target, love Fascia’s Chocolates, Dottie’s Donuts, and love finding a bargain at Marshalls. I am a regular person who will leave the ‘qualifying’ to the voters of the Great City of Waterbury.