Op-Ed: Segarra Supporter Says He Treats All Sectors Of The City With the Same Importance


Hartford map
Yolanda Castillo

Progress only happens when clear, visionary leaders are at the helm.  Mayor Pedro Segarra is that leader and the person Hartford needs to continue this progress.  A caring and experienced leader, Mayor Segarra has succeeded in pursuing a vision that includes and represents the diverse stakeholders of our capital city.  From North to South and East to West, he has worked tirelessly to push an agenda of progress for every neighborhood. 
I support Mayor Pedro Segarra because I believe in his vision of a united Hartford.  He understands the importance of treating every family and every neighborhood with the same importance.  He understands that in order to lift this city, it is imperative that all sectors be lifted as one.  
Mayor Segarra’s understanding of the importance of education is evident in the rapid changes, improvements, and investments in the Hartford public school system.  Education, including higher education, helped him become the leader he is today. As a result, he has fought for decades to encourage countless young people to succeed in their school careers and move on to higher education, no matter their background and economic ability.  Today, more students are getting their high school diplomas with the graduation rate up from 29 percent to of 71 percent since his time on city council. This speaks volumes for the Mayor’s efforts but he will not allow progress to slow until an even larger number of Hartford students reach graduation and are fully prepared to pursue the additional schooling that will lead to successful careers.  Since becoming Mayor, Segarra has invested more than $400 million to build and renovate Hartford public schools. He continues to create the learning environment that is vital for every one of our children to succeed in the future. 
I also support Mayor Segarra’s commitment to connecting the importance of small businesses to the overall success of the city.  It is no secret that small businesses not only enhance financial conditions of the business owners, but also of entire neighborhoods.  As job creators and contributors in their neighborhoods, small businesses continually create opportunity for all.  The proud recipient of the US Conference of Mayors and Partner America’s Small Business Advocate of the Year Award in 2013, Mayor Segarra is credited with the launch of the iConnect storefront revitalization project. Through the creation of his Hartford Innovation Hub, Mayor Segarra continues to spur economic development for small businesses by providing training, education, peer networks, mentoring, and strategic and technical support.  It is exactly this type of practical, solid support that our small businesses need.
Another mark of a great municipal leader is shown by how the public safety of all residents is given priority.  Since being sworn into office in 2010, violent crime has dropped to the lowest levels in decades. And when it does occur, he is the first one to address criminals with a strong message: Your actions are not welcome in this city.  Even at times, like now, when some individuals remain intent on committing acts of violence, Mayor Segarra is the first one out in our neighborhoods, communicating with families, leaders and the police. He does this with confidence, empathy and strength, yet without much fanfare. 
These are but a few examples of the issues upon which Mayor Pedro Segarra has continually exerted his excellent leadership skills. And for this, I am not willing to gamble with the promise of continued progress.  I proudly support Mayor Pedro Segarra for Mayor!

Yolanda  Castillo lives in Manchester. She is a former Hartford councilwoman and the vice-chair of the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus.