By ELLEN ZOPPO-SASSU
To the Editor:
I want to share a few reasons why I am enthusiastic about the election and the potential of electing Mary Fortier and Andrew Rasmussen-Tuller, as well as re-electing Chris Ziogas to represent Bristol in Hartford.
Politics is about relationships and the Legislature’s majority is held by the Democrats. Love it or hate it, this is the system and from this system flows the ability to access resources, funds and the ability to have a seat at the table. Luckily for us, Rep. Ziogas, despite only being in his second term, has a seat at the table, which resulted in the State School Construction Bond funds coming to Bristol instead of some other community to restore the magnificent Memorial Boulevard building.
I also want to give credit where credit is due - Rep. Ziogas’ legislative aide Tamara Morris, as well as Debra Adams, the aide for Henri Martin, have also been very helpful in helping with unemployment issues with the Department of Labor. I also appreciated Rep. Whit Betts’ assistance in coordinating a letter of support from the delegation for the Open Space Grant we filed last year for the acreage behind the Barnes Nature Center. He also meets with Mayor Merchant and myself before the legislative session kicks off each January. I have not had a conversation with Rep. Cara Pavalock in my three years as mayor, while Sen. Martin has occasionally replied to an email about legislative priorities.
Mary Fortier is serving her fourth term on the City Council and gets the struggle of reduced state aid to cities while increasing requirements on local government without providing the necessary money. I know Mary, as well as Andrew from his time as a commissioner for our Economic and Community Development Commission, understand the vital issues of special education costs, the manufacturing machinery and equipment reimbursement, the rental assistance program for our seniors. I know that will focus on talking about why the city has yet to receive Urban Act funding for Centre Square infrastructure instead of droning on about tolls for political gain.
I know Bristol residents realize that most states have enacted tolls because it spreads the financial burden to include out-of-state vehicles and trucks who are using our roads. I also know that if I send an email about pieces of legislation that will either benefit or harm Bristol, Chris, Mary and Andrew will pick up the phone and call me. I know they understand the dynamics of our seniors on fixed incomes and families facing food insecurity in the face of covid and reduced hours at work because they stood next to me and distributed food boxes all summer and fall. I also know that they will continue to have seats at the majority table which will leverage resources for Bristol.
I am a Democratic mayor and I am supporting my Democratic colleagues because they share my values and I know that they will be positioned to perform and deliver due to their membership in the majority. I also have one staff person in the Bristol Mayor’s office. I do not have a chief of staff or a director of legislative affairs, or a lobbyist for the city. If there is a need in Hartford, I have been carrying that water. I would love to have people in place who care about Bristol, who are willing to help carry that bucket.
Mayor of Bristol