City Councilman Andre Baker tells OIB he’s considering a run for Board of Education with five school board seats up for grabs this November. The available seats are occupied by three incumbent Democrats, Tom Mulligan, Leticia Colon and Bobby Simmons and two members of Connecticut’s Working Families Party, Maria Pereira and Sauda Baraka.
Democrats hold a fragile 5-4 majority on most contentious school board issues with Simmons voting with WFP members Pereira, Baraka and John Bagley. Simmons, who has fallen out of favor with the Democratic party establishment that endorsed him four years ago, will not likely seek reelection, according to a number of Democratic operatives. Mulligan and Colon, as well, are not anxious about another term on the school board, but who’s out there to replace them?
So right now, at least, there are not a lot of names floating for a school board run. City political operatives say the line of candidates is short because they don’t want to face the volatile nature of running for and serving on the school board.
Baker has been the one consistent voice of opposition on the City Council against the initiatives of Mayor Bill Finch’s administration. He has repeatedly taken the administration to task over a variety of budget issues, spending proposals and pay raises for city employees. Next month the 90-member Democratic Town Committee will endorse candidates for Board of Education. Mulligan and Colon, if they seek reelection, are locks for endorsement.
Would the town committee endorse Baker in light of his opposition to Finch? Seems unlikely with a fragile 5-4 Democratic majority on so many votes. Baker says he would accept the endorsement if the town committee gives it to him, but understands the political reality. That means he would have to petition his way onto the ballot to qualify for a citywide Democratic primary in September.
Baker says if he runs for school board it will likely be as a Democrat. No one from the Connecticut Working Families Party has reached out to him to run on its line in November.
Baker brings to the table his council voter base in the city’s East End. He would also appeal to political and neighborhood operatives opposed to the Finch administration.