NORWALK, Conn. – Politicians from near and far came out Friday to support Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidate Vinny Mangiacopra.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew endorsed the “wonderful future leader” in the press conference held in front of the South Norwalk Community Center, while former Fairfield First Selectman Ken Flatto said, “Let’s get our Democratic Party in Norwalk united behind Vinny.”
Manchester state Rep. Geoff Luxenberg said Mangiacopra has a great campaign platform and cares about the right things. Bridgeport City Council President Tom McCarthy put in an appearance, union leaders voiced their support and former and current Democratic Common Council members were present for the rally-like conference emceed by Councilman David Watts.
The campaign called it “an unparalleled display of political strength” days before the Democratic Party nominating convention on Tuesday, in a statement released later Friday.
Drew was the first out-of-towner to speak.
“Being in public office, particularly in executive office, is about character,” the Middletown mayor said. “It’s about integrity. It’s about being willing to take a stand and being aggressive on behalf of your community and knowing what your community is going to take, what it’s going to need to move forward. Vinny embodies those characteristics.”
Mangiacopra has sincerity and integrity and would focus on what makes sense for Norwalk, rather than partisanship and politics., he said.
“I believe deeply in his ability to lead this community,” he said. “I believe he has the character, he has the heart. That’s what counts more than anything.”
Luxenberg also endorsed Mangiacopra.
“There is only one campaign that’s heating up in Norwalk and that is Vinny’s campaign,” he said. “He’s raising the money. He’s knocking on the doors. He’s listening to the people of Norwalk. He’s got the energy, enthusiasm, integrity, and frankly the hard work. He’s doing the hard work that it is going to take not just to win this election, which is critical, so critical that he win this election, but to transform this city.”
Fairfield County Building Trades President Peter Carroll said Mangiacopra has the future of Norwalk at heart.
“We need a level playing field for everyone to get a chance to work in their community,” he said. “That’s not happening under this administration. I stand here before you to tell you that the building trades, IBEW, iron workers, sheet metal workers, glazers, painters, plumbers—everyone is here to endorse Vinny.”
Iron Workers Business Manager Jim Doheny and Painters Business Manager Willie Vega were also there to support Mangiacopra. Also in the crowd were Councilwoman Anna Duleep, Democratic State Central Representative and Former Councilwoman Nora King, former councilman and two-time World Boxing Association champion Travis Simms and former Norwalk Selectman Taber Hamilton. The Rev. Nellie Mann gave the opening prayer.
Watts said he was there as Mangiacopra’s friend, and would soon have a statement about who he is supporting. Mann said she was honored to give the prayer.
“I would do that for any of them,” she said. “However, he is a fine young man.”
Mangiacopra has pledged to be an advocate for Norwalk in Hartford and beyond should he get elected.
“Friends from out of town and around the state are extremely important to any elected official,” he said, as he began his remarks.
As mayor he would represent all of Norwalk’s 85,000 residents and give the city back to the people, he said.
“We’ve been able to go and talk to voters and ask them what they feel is lacking in city government and an overwhelming response is said – the same people going about the same problems in the same way just doesn’t cut it anymore,” he said. “We need a clean break from the current administration, not johnny-come-latelies, not people willing to throw people under the bus when times get tough. We need real leadership in this city. It’s time for a change. That’s what this campaign is going to be about.”