To the Editor:
The 140th District desperately needs a new generation of leadership. While Bruce Morris might believe his track record has proven his value as a public servant, the reality for Norwalkers and those living in the 140th District is much different as the numbers do not lie. Under his watch, Norwalk has gone from bad to worse.
According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, in 2006, the year Bruce took office, 2,041 Norwalkers were unemployed. Even adjusting for the fact that no one could control the high unemployment of 2009 and 2010, things are actually worse today. Despite the recession having ended and things looking better nationwide and statewide, Norwalk’s year-to-date unemployment for 2014 is 2,726. That’s over a 30 percent increase since 2006. If Bruce’s leadership has proven so effective, why are nearly 700 more Norwalkers unemployed today than when he took office? A high percentage of those folks live in the 140th District.
Moreover, the American Community Survey shows that not only has unemployment increased, but more Norwalkers now live in poverty than they did in 2006 when Bruce took office. The ACS shows a poverty rate for the period of 2006-2010 of 8.17 percent. That means during the early days of Bruce’s tenure a total of 6,868 Norwalkers lived in poverty. The most recent numbers, however, cover 2008-2012 and show that the poverty rate for Norwalk has climbed over a full percentage point to 9.38 percent. This means 8,003 Norwalkers lived in poverty the last time ACS counted.
It would be easy to blame the recession for greater poverty, but both data sets (2006-2010 and 2008-2012) include the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, which were the peak recession years. This means that the recession cannot be to blame for the increase. Poverty has climbed under Bruce’s watch and there has not been any proactive leadership in the district to help people and to create more jobs.
Bruce might think he is a proven public servant. But the truth is, both poverty and unemployment have climbed in absolute terms under his tenure. And that is proof of failure, ineffective leadership that is complacent. The truth is more jobs and economic development has not been a priority which is key to uplifting our community. The time is now to move in a different direction as we cannot afford another two years of inactive leaders watching their constituency suffer from higher unemployment and higher poverty rates.
Democratic Candidate, State Representative, 140th District