NORWALK, Conn. —The Connecticut Working Families Party has officially endorsed 17 candidates for Norwalk elected office, all of them Democrats.
- Harry Rilling
- Chris Yerinides (District A)
- Eloisa Melendez (District A)
- Hector Correa (District B)
- Manny Langella (District B)
- John Kydes (District C)
- George Tsiranides (District D)
- William Pappa (District D)
- John Igneri (District E)
- Thomas Livingston (District E)
- Barbara Smyth (At-large)
- Greg Burnett (At-large)
- Nicholas Sacchinelli (At-large)
Board of Education:
- Heidi Keyes
- Barbara Meyer-Mitchell
- Sarah LeMieux
- Shirley Mosby
The release offered statements from some of the candidates:
Mayor Harry Rilling: “In my re-election campaign for mayor, I am proud to accept the endorsement of the Working Families Party. I am also proud to run alongside so many fantastic progressive candidates in the city of Norwalk. Our city is proud of our groundbreaking living wage ordinance, public school system, and investment in infrastructure and growth. With so many excellent candidates up for election this year, I am confident that we can work together to continue making workers and families a priority for Norwalk.”
Barbara Smyth, at large Common Council candidate: “I am running for Common Council because I understand the essential right to collective bargaining for our workers, how living wages ensure the health of our city, and that tax loopholes benefiting the rich have created a burden for the state and cities across Connecticut. As a teacher, I am committed to public education and am against the long-term harm to our schools caused by vouchers, charter schools, and privatization in general. I am proud to accept the Working Families Party endorsement, because I know they fight for working people and quality public schools.”
Manny Langella, District B Common Council candidate: “I am excited to run on the Working Families Party line, which perfectly reflects my drive to give the community a real say in educational outcomes, to raise the living wage and establish union jobs to create a stronger economy, and to support the undocumented communities that make Norwalk stronger. Together, we can raise standards of living, invest in Norwalk, resist privatization schemes, and develop a public education system that fosters productive collaboration between teachers, administrators, parents, and the community at large.”
Barbara Meyer-Mitchell, Board of Education candidate: “For six years, I have been advocating for better funding for Norwalk’s public schools, both here in Norwalk and before the Education Committee in Hartford. A strong public education system is essential to the future our city and state. Norwalk needs to give our strong teaching staff the resources they need to help our students achieve excellence. I am proud to accept the endorsement of the Working Families Party, because I know we share key values to promote the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.”
“I am particularly impressed by the political newcomers who earned our Working Families Party endorsement this year. They are smart, compassionate, and dedicated to our community. Their ideas for moving Norwalk forward are compelling and worth serious consideration,” former Common Council member Anna Duleep, CTWFP State Committee member, said in a press release.
A Working Families Party endorsement can make the difference, according to Norwalk Town Clerk Rick McQuaid. The endorsement typically delivers 200-300 votes, which can be the difference between winning or losing, he said.
Council member Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) sought a WFP endorsement in his candidacy as a BoE member, but was denied. The endorsement is not a rubberstamp for Democrats, McQuaid said; Duleep said Kimmel was turned down because he supported outsourcing of Norwalk’s garbage pickup several years ago.
“The Connecticut Working Families Party fights for investment in public education and infrastructure, against privatization, and for policies that lift up workers, women, immigrant communities, and people of color. CTWFP understands that creating a stronger economy and more just future means greater public investment, fair taxation, and the empowerment of local communities. All endorsed candidates are carefully vetted and interviewed on these issues before a board vote,” the release said.
Candidates pledge to support the Connecticut Working Families Party 2017 muncipal policy platform when they seek the endorsement, the release said, describing the platform:
- “Defending the fundamental right to organize and collectively bargain
- “Sponsoring and strengthening living wage policies
- “Ensuring that economic development means hiring locally and supporting well-paying union jobs
- “Opposing the creation of local or state charter schools at the expense of neighborhood schools
- “Advocating for increasing the state’s share of Education Cost Sharing funding to each school district, rather than allowing state proposals to pit cities and town against each other for resources
- “Supporting inclusionary zoning legislation for affordable housing
- “Fostering trust between law enforcement and local communities by making police department more representative of and accountable to the communities they serve
- “Protecting immigrant neighbors and implementing policies or resolutions to provide sanctuary to undocumented communities
- “Holding corporations accountable to the public’s interest and development”
Council candidates in Districts B, D and E had to obtain signatures on petitions to get a Working Families line on the ballot, because the party had not had candidates in those districts before, McQuaid said. Every candidate will be eligible for the endorsement in 2019, a first in Norwalk, he said.
“All candidates are carefully vetted to ensure that they reflect the views, values and policy positions of Working Families’ members. Recent polling affirmed Working Families’ members vote for candidates who fight for economic justice, tax fairness, living wages, and workers’ rights. They also want affordable healthcare, strong public education, and immigration reform,” the release said.
“Working Families is proud to endorse such a broad coalition of progressive candidates for Mayor, Common Council, and Board of Education,” WFP interim director Carlos Moreno said in the release. “The Connecticut Working Families Party has been on the cutting edge of progressive politics for a decade in Norwalk, a city which has helped to lead the state and nation in passing a living wage ordinance and investing in public infrastructure. We look forward to working with our candidates to fight for smart, pro-worker policies that invest in the city’s future.”
“In the last election, the Connecticut Working Families Party garnered its strongest showing to date, having received over 5% of the vote on its line for U.S. Senate,” the release said. “Approximately 87,948 votes were cast for Richard Blumenthal on the Working Families Party ballot line.”