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Rilling endorsed by construction union, praised for economic development

At left, Republican-endorsed Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton; at right, Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling.

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. – Mayor Harry Rilling has racked up another endorsement in his drive for a fourth two-year term.

Rilling was unanimously endorsed by the Fairfield County Building Trades, his campaign announced Thursday, two days after the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce debate began with an assertion that Norwalk has lost jobs.

“Harry Rilling understands that economic development and good-paying jobs for residents are a top priority,” Duane Gates, President of the Fairfield County Building Trades, is quoted as saying. “The Fairfield County Building Trades unanimously endorsed Harry Rilling for Mayor of Norwalk because he’s ushered in unprecedented economic development and helped create thousands of good-paying jobs for Norwalk residents. He also supports project labor agreements to ensure fairness and efficiency in the workplace. As Norwalk continues to rebuild its infrastructure including its schools, we look forward to partnering with the Rilling administration to make it a success.”

“Our administration has worked hard to usher in economic development across the city, including the new SoNo Collection, Washington Street improvements, new mixed-use developments such as Waypointe, and hundreds of new businesses with thousands of good-paying jobs for residents,” Rilling is quoted as saying. “The grand list continues to grow as people are investing in our community as never before. I am so honored to be recognized and supported for this achievement by the Fairfield County Building Trades and their members here in Norwalk.”

Rilling, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican-endorsed unaffiliated voter Lisa Brinton. She did not reply to an email giving her a chance to respond to the announcement.

“The Fairfield County Building Trades represents over 8,000 workers in Fairfield County including the following unions: Carpenters, Operating Engineers, Electricians (IBEW), Laborers, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Elevator workers, Bricklayers and Masons, Roofers, Sheetmetal Workers, Teamsters, Boilermakers and Painters,” the press release said.

Harry Carey, moderator for Tuesday’s debate, said that, “Since 2013, Norwalk has been has not been growing jobs while nearby Stamford has increased employment significantly. In the most recent report, Norwalk shows the decline of almost 500 jobs since 2015, despite a construction boom.”

There were 3,300 more jobs in the Stamford-Norwalk-Bridgeport area this September than there were in September 2018, according to the state.

Rilling has also been endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), AFSCME (American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees) Council 4, and the Norwalk police and fire unions. In addition, he was endorsed by the Norwalk Hour.

Brinton was endorsed Thursday by Republican State Reps. Gail Lavielle and Terri Wood. She was also endorsed by former State Rep. Fred Wilms, also a Republican.

Brinton has not announced any endorsements from organizations. The “endorsement” tab on her LisaForNorwalk website takes you to seven letters to the editor written by citizens, an opinion written by her son and an article about the Wood-Lavielle endorsement.

4 comments

Sue Haynie November 1, 2019 at 6:46 am

Worth repeating. “Harry Carey, moderator for Tuesday’s debate (at the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce), said that, “Since 2013, Norwalk has been has not been growing jobs while nearby Stamford has increased employment significantly. In the most recent report, Norwalk shows the decline of almost 500 jobs since 2015, despite a construction boom.””

Rilling, leading from behind. Vote Lisa for Mayor.

Not Surprised November 1, 2019 at 8:39 am

How refreshing, someone running for leadership office not endorsed by special interest groups. No wonder she is receiving a ground swell of support from the taxpayers she will serve.

Ron Morris November 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Lisa talks a lot about what Harry is doing wrong. However she never says how she will do it right. Anyone but Lisa

Mike Mushak November 1, 2019 at 5:10 pm

The “report” Harry Carey is referring to is a complete mystery based on internet research of official records and articles, including the official jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that Nancy on Norwalk referenced, as well as multiple corporate and small business expansions all over Norwalk over the last 4 years., including hundreds of new jobs at Factset, Datto, OperationsInc, as well as the thousands of construction jobs the SoNo Collection generated as evidenced by the $700 million economic activity the construction provided.

The BLS shows an increase of over 20,000 jobs in the 3-city census tract including Norwalk since 2015, the year Harry Carey referenced, as well as a huge drop in the unemployment rate from 5.5% in 2015 to 3.5% in September 2019. It would seem impossible that that could represent a 500-job loss in Norwalk alone.

Who did the “report” Harry Carey referenced, or did he mis-speak?

Either way, I would certainly trust the “boots on the ground” so to speak, the Fairfield County Building Trades, to know what they were talking about when they said “Harry Rilling… has ushered in unprecedented economic development and created thousands of good-paying jobs for Norwalk residents.” As a contractor myself who is all over the city every day doing work for the private sector, I definitely agree with that declaration.

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