NORWALK — Norwalk’s Mayoral candidates met with the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF) this week for an issues-oriented forum. Common Council at Large candidates and Board of Education candidates were also interviewed.
Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling promised to build a South Norwalk school in the upcoming 2-year term and pointed toward Wall Street Place as a beacon of hope for those who need affordable housing. He spoke of his Equity and Justice for All taskforce because “we need to find where those systemic racisms are, and eliminate them,” and said he’d hired a chief of community services, the first time in two decades that the City has had one.
His administration is “focused on hiring a diverse workforce” and “just hired 12 firefighters, five of them are minority.”
Republican Mayoral candidate Jonathan Riddle referred to gentrification pushing residents out. He shot back at the Wall Street Place reference by mentioning Byron Sanchez, who cannot open his bakery due to a dispute involving his landlord, real estate broker Jason Milligan, and the Redevelopment Agency. He also pitched trade schools as a possibility, saying, “creating more educational opportunities for black and Latino students, as well as them teaching tradecraft, and skills will enable cost of living to be handled through their own economic development.”
Rilling said, “I’d like to dispel the idea that the one single person or an argument is holding up the bakery, one person is holding up the bakery because they’re not following the established rules. And that bakery could open up if that one person would spend $2,000. And that’s not happening. And that’s not the baker, by the way, he’s being held hostage.”
You can watch the forum below. The Council candidates begin their segment at about 41 minutes and the BoE section begins at one hour and 34 minutes.