Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Jonathan Pelto’s blog, ‘Wait, What’ earlier this week regarding a news story we ran. CTLatinoNews.com has contacted Luke Bronin by phone and e-mail, for an interview on his candidacy or to invite him to write an op-ed, but we have not received a response.
By Jonathan Pelto
Although Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has been one of Governor Dannel Malloy’s biggest supporters and communities of color make up 85% of the population of Connecticut’s Capital City, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Greenwich raised, Yale and Oxford educated General Counsel, Luke Bronin, recently resigned his position as Malloy’s top lawyer to announce that he was “strongly considering” a run against Segarra in this year’s Hartford mayoral election.
What makes Bronin’s move so bizarre is that, as CTLatinoNews recently observed, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Governor Dannel Malloy are considered to be “longtime allies.”
Mayor Segarra has been particularly supportive of Malloy’s corporate education reform industry initiative and the Latino Mayor of Hartford has been at Malloy’s side throughout the Governor’s first term, including during Malloy’s competitive re-election campaign this past fall.
While Malloy calls Luke Bronin, “one of my closest advisers,” Bronin only arrived in Hartford in 2013 when he was appointed by Malloy to serve as General Counsel in the Governor’s Office. It was at that time that Bronin, his wife and children moved from Washington D.C. to Hartford.
To say the Latino community is surprised and concerned by Bronin’s move would be an understatement. Writing for CTLatinoNews, Bill Sarno recently reported,
For Latino leaders around the state, the announcement that the governor’s former top legal aide Luke Bronin is challenging incumbent Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra for the Democratic nomination is raising red flags as to where the governor’s loyalty lies. Not because of Bronin they say, but because of Governor Malloy’s current stance of not getting involved in this race, which is being viewed as a quiet nod to his friend and as a betrayal to the state’s Latinos.”
The CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus is challenging the governor’s silence on the matter and it seems the gloves are off. Its chair, Joseph Rodriguez, said, “We just had a tough statewide election and were successful because we rallied behind the governor, as did the mayor. It will be unfortunate and a slap in the face to Mayor Segarra, if the Governor chooses not to partake in this primary.”
According to the CTLatinoNews article,
“[A]attempts to clarify Malloy’s position were referred by the governor’s staff to state party leaders who said that it is too early to comment on a possible primary that it is nine months away. ‘At this time, the governor is focused on governing Connecticut. And when the time comes, the State Party will support the Democratic candidate for mayor,’ said Michael Mandell, executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party.”
When Bronin announced that he was leaving his post as Malloy’s top attorney he told the Hartford Courant, “Many fellow Hartford residents have reached out and encouraged me to run for mayor and I’m strongly considering it.”
In addition to graduating with a philosophy degree from Yale University and a Law Degree from Yale Law School, Bronin, who is 35, is a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford University in England. Bronin is also “an accomplished singer and songwriter” and was the lead singer for a country band called Old No. 7.
Before joining the Malloy administration, Bronin worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2009 to 2013, finishing up as an assistant secretary of the treasury where his duties included managing policies related to terrorist financing.
According to his on-line LinkedIn biography, for nine months of the time he worked for the Treasury Department (from late 2010 through early 2011), Bronin was located at “ISAF HQ” in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The oblique reference to ISAF is apparently related to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a “NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan,” whose mission was reportedly to train members of the Afghan National Security Force, assist with the rebuilding of the Afghan government and engage various insurgent groups.
Before his time in the Middle East, Bronin spent seven months as an International Affairs Fellow in India for the Council on Foreign Relations and previous to that, after graduating from Yale Law School, Bronin worked as the Chief of Staff to the President & COO of the Hartford Insurance Company.
While Bronin contemplates a run for Mayor of Hartford, he has landed a job at the law firm of Hinckley Allen, a firm originally out of Providence, Rhode Island but with offices in New York City, Albany, Boston and in other New England cities. Less than two years ago, the law firm of Levy & Droney merged into Hinkley Allen.
As for the issue of running for Mayor while holding down his new job, Bronin told the Courant that, “The firm … has made clear that they support my commitment to public service and the Hartford community.”
Bronin, and his wife, Sara Bronin, who is also a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of the Yale Law School, moved to Hartford in 2013 and renovated a brownstone behind the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
Sara Bronin, an architect and lawyer, teaches at the University of Connecticut law school and is the managing principal of Voladizo LLC, a Connecticut consulting firm she founded in 2012. Her biography explains that, “Sara Bronin is one of the country’s leading experts in the areas of sustainable design, renewable energy, urban development, and historic preservation.
Sara Bronin was appointed to the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission in 2013 by Mayor Segarra and became the Commission’s Chair in August 2014, where she is playing a leadership role in the development of the controversial Hartford stadium project.
Meanwhile, back in Connecticut politics, the CTLatinoNews article reported that Democratic Latino leaders are angry that Malloy’s political operatives are claiming that Malloy “can’t support a candidate at this time.”
The CTLatinoNews article adds,
“The notion that the governor can’t support a candidate at this time is ‘simply untrue’ [CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus Chair] Rodriguez said. Adding, ‘He gets involved when it benefits him. Recently, he supported William Tong, his good friend who had not been endorsed for the nomination, but was a Democratic candidate in the primary.’ Malloy also supported then, Senator Harp before the primary. While she was the party’s nominee, there were three other democrats vying for that seat. This tells me the governor picks and chooses the municipal Democratic elections he wants to become involved in.’”
Hartford State Representative Minnie Gonzalez has also weighed in on the issue, telling CTLatinoNews, “Segarra was out there for him (Malloy) but it seems the governor is not supporting our mayor…It was Latinos that got him elected four years ago and again last year.”
The politics behind the politics of the situation in Hartford will undoubtedly become clearer in the months ahead as Luke Bronin moves forward with his possible run for mayor in Hartford.
You can read the complete CTLatinoNews article at: https://ctlatinonews.com/2015/01/18/latino-democratic-leaders-challenge-malloy-on-his-silence-in-supporting-segarra/