Election Watch: New Britain




The November 5th election is drawing near and around the state a  number of  Latinos are vying for elected positions. Over the next few days CTLatinoNews.com is presenting a series on Latino candidates running for seats on city councils or their equivalent. We invited 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 begin with New Britain where nearly 40 % of the city’s residents  are Latinos and there are three Latinos – Manny Sanchez, Willie Pabon and Carmelo Rodriquez, Jr. – vying for seats on the 15 member Board of Aldermen.

 New Britain

Carmelo Rodriquez, Jr., Republican candidate for New Britain Board of Alderman

Carmelo Rodriquez, Jr. 
I love New Britain and I am passionate about it. I have lived here for over 20 years and raised my children in this town. It has a great history and I foresee it coming back in the future. I believe that my experience in church administration and my experience as a correctional officer have prepared me in understanding the people of this town, so much that, it was the Latino community that suggested to me that I should consider representing them. Therefore, I took their advice. My faith and vision is big- I saw there is no Latino as Alderman at Large and I stepped into the challenge.  Secondly, It concerns me to see how the current administration has over spend and have raised our taxes. A matter that I believe can be turned around by whom I believe is the right person to lead New Britain in the new direction; Erin Stewart.
What do you think is the key issue for Alderman in this election? 
The biggest key issue for an Alderman is dealing with the economic development, education, and transparency. Our city needs more businesses. Many of the current leaders voted against building Cosco, in New Britain. We must continue to invest in our future generation by making sure they receive the proper tools and resources. And, our city needs to be more transparent by holding public hearing and forums.
Why do you think you are the most qualified candidate? 
 I believe my work and church experience have prepared me. I understand the business aspect of an organization from both side of the coin.  As a correctional officer I understand reformation and the law and have experience working with unions, to which I was recently endorsed by them. I am currently active as commissioner of the Fire Department Board, vice-chair of the New Britain Latino Coalition and formerly, commissioner of the Board of Ethics. And as a minister, I understand grace and restoration.  I feel that my personal background has been the biggest preparation, of all.  I have lived in the city for over 20 years-raised three children, own a home and pay my taxes. I know New Britain.
Emanuel “Manny” Sanchez, Democratic Candidate for Alderman, New Britain
Emmanuel “Manny” Sanchez 

What position are you running for and why?

My name is Emmanuel “Manny” Sanchez, and I am running for reelection to the New Britain City Council. I do not take my work lightly. I have been on the City Council for the past three years and I have worked tirelessly to ensure that our community is on the right track. I want to ensure the people of New Britain that I am working for them and it will never be the other way around.  There are more than 70,000 people that choose to live in New Britain; and it is my duty (and every elected official) to answer to them. I am running for re-election to continue to help New Britain become a better place for everyone. I can’t make this happen alone, it takes hard work and dedication from our elected officials, volunteers and community as whole to create the most impact. I am dedicated to our community; I will work as hard as I can and do my best to ensure that every voice will be heard.

What do you think is the key issue for a candidate in this election?

It is very difficult to pinpoint one specific key issue for any candidate (statewide) in this election. I think that many town and city communities are dealing with similar obstacles, and for various reasons.  We need to address issues and challenges regarding job training/job creation, education, and economic vibrancy.
Job Training/Job Creation. New Britain has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at roughly 12%. This is where we, as a city, need to be proactive and not reactive. Job training and partnering with employers should be a forefront topic.
Education. It has been one of the larger issues in New Britain for quite some time. In order to have a more successful school district, we need to have a support system that all stake holders are involved in. We need to work in unison to support our diverse and unique student population. From the Board of Education, local non-profits, to local government, this is a much needed process to improve our school district.
Economic Vibrancy. A growing economy is vital to all communities. We need to focus on what we can do as a city to help businesses flourish and make greater efforts to attract more businesses and investors.

 Why do you think you are the most qualified candidate?

I know that saying I want to improve the quality of life for everyone is a very broad statement. It’s imperative that we elect someone that understands that there is not just one pocket of a city/town that is more important than other. We need to elect someone that is not afraid to stand up and make the tough decisions, even when the odds are stacked against you or you go against the grain to get something accomplish. We need to elect someone who realizes the importance of working together in a bipartisan fashion regardless of political and social views to solve our challenges and make our communities a better place to live and raise a family. I believe I am that person and I have a proven track record that reflects that. I have learned throughout the years that regardless of party affiliation, we all want to see our city move in the right direction – we just choose to travel different roads to get there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And I believe that it is time for us as elected officials, and office seekers, to put differences aside and realize we must work together and not stand divided.  My name is Emmanuel “Manny” Sanchez and I hope I have your support this November 5th!
Willy Pabon, Republican Candidate for Re-eleciton as Alderman

 Willy Pabon

What position are you running for and why?

My name is Willie Pabon and I am running for Alderman. I have served as Alderman in the City of New Britain for the past 4 years which has given me the opportunity to know first hand of how a city is run. In being a small business owner I can bring my knowledge and experience to the people of New Britain.

 What do you think is the key issue for a candidate in this election?

Taxes and economical development.

 Why do you think you are the most qualified candidate?

The reasons why I think I am the most qualified are as follows:  I am a small minority business owner and actively involved in the community as a volunteer, businessman and member of the Common Council. I am invested in the City of New Britain and through hard work and honesty I will continue to first meet the interests of its taxpayers.
 Editor’s Note: Tomorrow candidates for city council in Stamford and New London.  
Rick Torres (shown in photo with Phil Blagys)
Running for Common Council
1) 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. 2) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.
New London
Efrain Dominguez
Running for City Council
My name is Efrain Dominquez and I would like to outline the reasons of why I am running for a seat on the New London City Council. First and foremost I feel New London is a great community to live in. I have lived in New London for 33 years and my community involvement has helped to shape me to understand the needs of our city and its residents. I have been involved in many activities in the city, some dealing with the youth of New London. I have coached high school wrestling, been a mentor to teenagers who are at risk, coached many youth sports and presently I’m serving on the Water and Water Pollution Control Authority. I am very proud to say I was educated in the New London school system and furthered my education by graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University. I have been employed for the past 10 years by the New London public schools. I believe I am the most qualified candidate because if elected I would work tirelessly to be sure our children have the tools for a quality education, I would work to attract small businesses to help grow our tax base and bring jobs to New London. My goal is to create a city where people who come to visit will make it their home, decide to raise their children, and become residents. I feel attracting people to New London is one of the few steps we can take to help us grow our city.