Candidates Lining Up For City Council And School Board

On Monday Democrats will meet at the party convention to endorse candidates for City Council and Board of Education at Testo’s Restaurant, the epicenter of city politics, owned by Town Chairman Mario Testa. Republicans will do the same Tuesday night at the North End Library. What is usually a sleepy off-year election cycle is shaping up as a guerrilla warfare battle for control of the school board as well as competitive races for some council seats.

Heading into the weekend it appears Democratic school board candidates are a work in progress. Five school board seats are up for grabs in November but the Dems can only claim up to three with the other two slots reserved for state-required minority-party representation. Those slots are currently occupied by Sauda Baraka and Maria Pereira with the Connecticut Working Families Party. They ran ahead of Republican candidates in 2009. The Democratic slots are occupied by Tom Mulligan, Leticia Colon and Bobby Simmons. Mulligan and Simmons have announced they will not be candidates. There is also a question about Colon running again.

Former State Rep. Hector Diaz and East End City Councilman Andre Baker have expressed interest in running for citywide school board seats on the Democratic side, but do not appear to have traction with a majority of the 90-member Democratic Town Committee for endorsement. One possible option for Baker is running on the Working Families Party line, but he notified OIB Thursday afternoon he’ll likely seek reelection to his council seat.

Several names on the Democratic side are in play for BOE endorsement including Rev. William McCullough, pastor of Russell Temple CME Church on Connecticut Avenue,  Rev. Simon Castillo who has served on several city boards and commissions throughout the years, Brandon Clark, a teacher with Achievement First Bridgeport Academy, and Katie Bukovsky, an education marketing professional, active at Black Rock School. She’s the sister of Black Rock District Leader Dan Roach.

On the Republican side Joe Larcheveque, an emergency services medical professional from Black Rock active in the neighborhood, is a candidate for school board. City Republicans are finalizing the other school board spots.

On the City Council front, a number of primaries and general election matchups are taking shape. In the 130th District, two-time Republican mayoral candidate Rick Torres, who owns the popular Harborview Market in Black Rock, has announced he’ll be a candidate challenging Democratic incumbents Sue Brannelly and Steve Stafstrom in November. No final word yet on Torres’ running mate.

In the 132nd council district, Democratic incumbents John Olson and Evette Brantley could face a September primary from Bob Halstead, former long-time city planner, and Trish Swain.

In the 135th District, the Rev. Mary Lee, a city schoolteacher, says she’s planning to primary incumbents Warren Blunt and Richard Bonney.

In the 136th District, Ricky DeJesus, former officer with the the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has his campaign up and running for a potential September primary against incumbents Angel DePara and Carlos Silva.

In the 137th District get ready for the battle royal on the East Side. Incumbent Lydia Martinez may have to wage a primary to win reelection. Former council member Maria Valle and Aidee Nieves, members of the town committee district, are expected to receive the endorsement Monday night. Last week, at a district caucus, town committee members voted to support them. Martinez plans on seeking reelection with Milta Feliciano, instead of incumbent Manny Ayala.

The 139th District,  James Holloway, the longest-serving member of the council, will seek reelection. His council partner Andre Baker had considered a run for school board but says he’ll likely stick with his council seat. East End activist Eneida Martinez-Walker may jump into the race. Former State Senator Ernie Newton may run for council depending on what Baker does.

Once candidates are endorsed Monday night, challengers can pull petition papers to seek signatures to win a primary ballot spot in September. That means for a school board seat securing five percent of signatures (roughly 2000) from Democratic electors citywide, for council seats five percent of electors from each respective district.

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17 comments

  1. Several people have asked me in recent weeks if I plan to run for city council. I would like nothing more than to give the people of the 138th a chance to elect someone who actually lives in the district. However, right now I am facing some very significant health issues. So unfortunately my time and energy have to focus on my health and not collecting signatures and a campaign.
    Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to run and offered support.

    1. God bless and may your health issues be in the rear-view mirror soon. Ms. Barney, you are a credit to our schools, our community and there is no greater reflection of you than the extraordinary family you have raised. Take care of yourself so you can come back and fight another day! We need you.

  2. Ann Barney,
    You are a great neighbor to many here in Bridgeport. You are informed. You are active. You listen. And you and Andy have been reliable supporters of Budget Oversight Bridgeport and working towards open, accountable and transparent governance.
    The wise ones tell us we must do first things first and taking care of one’s health is one of those ‘first things.’ May your focus on your health benefit your family, your students and the whole community in the long run. My prayers are for your journey to full health. Time will tell.

  3. Someone please help me out of my ignorance. 5 BOE seats up for election. Minority representation guaranteed by legislation. Conceivably (although unlikely), could Republican and Working Families split 4 of the 5 seats leaving only one for Dems?

      1. I read an article in the Post where John Slater was bashing the Working Families Party. Has Slater made a behind-the-scenes deal with the machine so they can regain their seats on the Board of Ed? The GOP has not exactly been critical of the takeover of the Board of Ed or of Mr. Vallas.

          1. Thanks for that, flubadub, I appreciate it. And to answer BlackRockGuy … I can assure you no deals have or will be made.

  4. Off subject but notice “club allure” is opening sooner than that bait and tackle shop in steal point. That’s progress with a cherry on top.

    1. Despite Regensburger’s success in court, Capozziello is skeptical Rapture will open.

      The building, according to court records, is being foreclosed on by millionaire developer Manuel “Manny” Moutinho.

      That’s the same Manny Moutinho who got the Finch administration to build him a controversial taxpayer-funded $400,000 driveway to his waterfront mansion in Stratford, and hired Moutinho’s construction company, Mark IV, to install it.

      Regensburger said the legal wrangling with Moutinho will not stall his plans for 500 North Ave. “If it gets all the way to that point, (I’ll) file Chapter 11 and reorganize. I’m not worried,” Regensburger said.

  5. *** Don’t count Mojo out yet; still thinking about the overall committment it takes to do the job & do it right! Also should an Angel get its Wings @ the same time the vote count is made in my district, then I might stand a punchers shot,no?***

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