By Nancy Guenther Chapman
NORWALK, Conn. – A fresh face with “a long resume in public affairs and civic action” filed paperwork Tuesday morning to seek the Democratic nomination for mayor of Norwalk.
“Norwalk’s Future Now” is the campaign committee name behind District D Democratic Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra , 31, who has worked in both the Bridgeport mayor’s office and Bridgeport’s probate court, according to a press release.
“Every step of the way, this campaign is going to talk about demanding Norwalk’s Future Now,” Mangiacopra said in a statement. “The perception of our school system is unflattering, our economic growth is stagnant and violent activity in our neighborhoods is an epidemic. We need leadership on so many fronts, right away. People are tired of waiting. With vigorous advocacy and focused vision, we can achieve change, but we’ll get there quicker when we do it in unison as a community.”
Mangiacopra (pronounced man-juh-kop-ruh) is the third Democrat to officially announce an intention to run for Norwalk mayor. Former town clerk Andy Garfunkel, who ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Republican Mayor Richard Moccia in 2011, also has filed papers. Common Councilman Matt Miklave (D-District A) has formed an exploratory committee to run for mayor, and recently announced that he had raised $4,600 for his candidacy.
Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling has expressed interest in the Democratic candidacy. Moccia has not yet said whether he will run for reelection to a fifth term.
Mangiacopra, who Tweeted his intention to run at 8:19 a.m. Tuesday, had been telling people privately for days of his decision. He said he is “excited” about running.
“I look forward to bringing an energy and sense of urgency to the race. The people of Norwalk are ready for change and a fresh perspective, many feel it’s long overdue,” he said in the release.
Mangiacopra holds a masters degree in public administration with a concentration in city management, according to the release. He served as Monroe’s economic and community development coordinator and as campaign aides to both former Westport First Selectwoman Diane Farrell and U. S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich).
“Fighting for and serving the people has been my passion. I know what it takes to be an effective mayor and I am going to be relentless about it,” Mangiacopra said in the release.
He is founder and president of a local communications firm, The Preferred Group. “The challenges facing small businesses are abundant. The mayor needs to make sure the city is doing all it can to make it easier for business owners to stay in Norwalk and keep their doors open for a long time,” said Mangiacopra in the release.
Mangiacopra and his wife, Kelsie, a lifelong Norwalker, reside in the Cranbury section of town. He also was on the ballot in 2011 as a candidate for city sheriff, falling 77 votes short in the citywide election.
“I promise you that this will be one of the most dynamic campaigns in this city’s history. We have a message for our community and we’re going to take it to the people. I learned in sports a long time ago that the team on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back. Our team is Norwalk and it’s time to fight,” Mangiacopra concluded in the release.
For more information on the Vinny Mangiacopra for Mayor Campaign, visit www.NorwalksFutureNow.com or Twitter and Instagram @NFN2013.