On Tuesday, Nov. 3, Hartford will hold municipal elections, including an election for mayor. According to virtually all pollsters, Democrat Luke Bronin is the projected winner of the mayoral race. The Democratic Party has always had a strong presence in Hartford. More than 70 percent of active voters in Hartford are registered Democrats, and Hartford has not elected a mayor from any other party since Republican Antonina Uccello in 1971.
Nonetheless, Bronin is not running unchallenged. Those registered to vote will have a choice between him, Republican Theodore Cannon and Joel Cruz of the Working Families Party. Republican mayoral candidate Theodore Cannon has argued this succession of Democrats as mayor has weakened Hartford’s government by creating what is effectively a one-party system.
The last major contender in the mayoral race is Cruz, who has been advocating multiple programs to help the economically disadvantaged. Cruz has the endorsement of the Working Families Party, a small political party only present in eight states and D.C.
Bronin faced a still larger field of four other contenders during the Democratic Party’s primary season, including current mayor Pedro Segarra. Segarra has been mayor since he was appointed in 2010. After Bronin defeated him in this year’s primary, Segarra chose to drop out out of the race entirely.
During primary season, Bronin repeatedly criticized Segarra for the increase in homicides over the past year (26 this year before Oct. 3, up from nine in 2014). Bronin also stressed the importance of increasing the size of Hartford’s police force. Data reported by Hartford law enforcement to the FBI indicate Hartford had 420 full-time police officers in 2014, down from 455 in 2013 and 440 in 2011.
Despite the focus on law enforcement, overall crime has been on a downward trend for the past five years, including a decrease in property crimes such as burglary.
The Beacon posted a voluntary anonymous survey titled “Which issue do you believe is most important for the new Mayor of Hartford to prioritize?” (as seen in the figure to the left)to freshman, sophomore and junior Trinity class Facebook pages. After one week 29 students responded. 48 percent of the respondents voted that reducing crime was the most important issue for the mayor to prioritize. The second highest concern was shared among 31 percent of the participants, who cited the need for an improved quality of life for Hartford residents. In addition to these issues, public education and decreasing unemployment also drew a substantial amount of votes.
The ballot on Nov. 3 will include elections for Hartford’s city treasurer and city council.
By: Dylan Ingram