Dems Endorse Antonio Felipe To Fill Santiago State House Seat

Antonio Felipe, next to Mayor Joe Ganim, right, surrounded by supporters after his endorsement. Left, pointing number 1, the popular irrepressible political activist Wanda Geter-Pataky. Center, City Council President Aidee Nieves.

Stratford resident Antonio Felipe, vice president of the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats, received the endorsement Thursday night at Testo’s Restaurant to fill the 130th State Assembly seat of Ezequiel Santiago who died two weeks ago. A special election will take place May 7. Democratic Town Committee members from parts of four districts cast votes for Felipe by acclamation.

Antonio Felipe currently resides in Stratford after leaving the city about a year ago but said Thursday night he’s moving back into the Bridgeport district within the next few days in an apartment on Iranistan Avenue. He is the son of Ruben Felipe who served as deputy chief of staff for Mayor Bill Finch.

No other name was placed into nomination. Challengers need just 36 validated signatures of voters in the district to qualify for the ballot. Former State House members Hector Diaz and Christina Ayala as well as ex school board member Kate Rivera are contemplating challenges. The window to qualify for the ballot extends only into early next week based on the 130 Assembly election calendar crafted by the Connecticut Secretary of the State.

District Republicans have endorsed Joshua Parrow, assistant director of development at the University of Bridgeport.

State Senator Dennis Bradley, Antonio Felipe and Town Committee member Tony Barr Thursday night.

The district covers Downtown, South End and portions of the West End and East Side.

Antonio Felipe hugs his father Ruben Felipe following endorsement. Photo: Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

Felipe, 23, began working on city campaigns as a teenager. Most recently he has managed campaigns for State Rep. Chris Rosario and City Councilwoman Maria Viggiano.

File photo: Young Dem officers left to right, Tom Gaudett, Emalee Thittavong, Marcus Brown, Antonio Felipe, Paula Romero, Lauren Gray.

He is currently attending Housatonic Community College studying for a degree in communications.

His roots in the district include attending Elias Howe and Batalla School. He also served on Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee from the East Side for three years.

His prepared remarks:

It’s with great sorrow that this occasion is taking place, following the tragic loss of a tremendous leader in Ezequiel Santiago. Let us please have a moment of silence for our fallen friend.

Now, I know that it’s impossible to fill his shoes, but I am honored to have an opportunity to uphold his legacy–and to serve the people of the 130th state house district–as their next state representative.

I’m also hopeful that voters in the 130th district will join those of you in this room by supporting me, the Democratic Town Committee’s endorsed candidate for state representative, on Tuesday, May 7.

I’m running for state representative because I care about my hometown and believe that our city’s future hinges on whether the leaders we choose are willing to stand up and do what’s right every single day.

As state representative, I’ll join others in our delegation in fighting to bring necessary state funds back to our city, in turn helping to create jobs, better our neighborhood schools, and ensure our kids and grandkids breathe cleaner air.

I will also work hard to strengthen opportunities for those who have served their time, paid their dues, and are looking for a well-deserved and much-needed second chance. In addition, I’ll take action to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, protect seniors from frauds and scammers, and to institute paid family leave in our great state.

I know that Bridgeport’s best days are ahead of us, and that my background as a Park City native–and a son of the 130th district–has prepared me to fight for our city up in Hartford.

Growing up on Laurel Avenue–and attending school at Elias Howe and Cesar Batalla–I experienced first-hand the opportunities and the struggles that exist for families in our community.

I saw the families of some of my best friends struggle to make ends meet, and moms and dads who found it nearly impossible to get a job or to have a steady paycheck.

Several years later, in our community, families are still suffering from too many of the same issues.

Enough is enough.

The way I see it is that right now, we have the strongest state legislative delegation that our city has seen in recent history. With the unfortunate loss of our friend Ezequiel Santiago, a man who cannot be replaced, I hope to honor him and all of you–and everyone in the 130th district–by carrying the torch in putting Bridgeport first.

As we look to the future, by working together, we can win the fight to increase the minimum wage. We can safeguard access to affordable healthcare and a woman’s right to choose. We can improve our city and state infrastructure. We can ensure that seniors live comfortably off of their benefits.

We can stand up and win the fight for organized labor. And, we can strengthen our city’s school-to-work pipeline. In continuing on the path toward a better Bridgeport, I hope to serve as the next state representative in the 130th district.

I hope that voters will join you in supporting my candidacy, and make no mistake about it, I will always fight for Bridgeport and what’s best for this great city that we call home every single day.



  1. This is idiotic.

    A 23 year old, who has no accomplishments and is a resident of STRATFORD, was endorsed by the corrupt DTC to represent Bridgeport.

    The only schools he will be focused on is charter $chools.

    His challengers MUST knock on doors and tell every voter he is a resident of Stratford, has zero municipal experience as an elected or appointed official, is 23 years old with no understanding of paying rent, a mortgage, utilities, municipal taxes and more.

    Every person who voted for him did what they were told and couldn’t care less about providing a qualified candidate to represent the 130th District.

    1. The members of the Town Committee who were assigned the responsibility to endorse a candidate to fill the remaining term of former State Representative Zeke Santiago should hang their heads in shame. They unanimously supported a man who admitted he didn’t reside in Bridgeport, has no prior experience in politics, and a brain that is clinically not yet developed. What a bunch of losers setting this kid up just for the sake of expediency. Not one person in that group of jerks had the courage to speak up, and in addition to them, I hear that Joey G. gave this his blessing. Well idiots, you all just brought Bridgeport to a new low, if that’s possible, shame on all of you, including the Mayor. FYI, I don’t think Testo gets the blame for this act of political genius.

  2. Please ignore Marias last comment, Felipe is young yes, but he is also the son of a good man and he can be the future of Bridgeport. Got to start somewhere, this WILL be his start.

    1. Antonio Dawson, you said, ” Felipe is young yes, but he is also the son of a good man,” then his father should have been endorsed plus he’s not even a resident of Bridgeport before the nomination process shows how corrupt DTC . Let’s find the person that we want then let’s change the rules to put the person we want into position is the moto of Democrats in Bridgeport. They do it for BOE members, they did it with AJ Perez by finding a testing company that would have him placed in the top three finalist, nothing new in Bridgeport, it’s business as usual..

      1. I know Ruben…if you know him his handicap has never stopped him but going to Hartford on a daily basis can not be easy for him, he’s a good guy and I’m sure his son is also. Problem here is any decision made by the DTC is trashed no matter good or bad. Leave the kid alone he’s part of the young Dems trying to do right.

        1. Antonio Dawson, let me repeat myself, the DTC endorsed a person who’s not even a resident of Bridgeport before the nomination process shows how corrupt DTC. I’ve said nothing negative about the father or the son, I’m talking abut the process, other people made it known that they wanted to be the candidate like former State House members Hector Diaz and Christina Ayala as well as ex school board member Kate Rivera who all resident in the district and in Bridgeport.

        2. Please disregard Mr. Dawson’s remarks.

          Did you just direct us to leave Antinio Felipe, a candidate for State Rep., alone because he is a “kid?”

          If he has to be left alone because he is a “kid” that strengthens the position that he has zero qualifications to represent over 7,000 Bridgeport residents .

          Stay on Bear Paw Lane in Stratford.

          His dad, Ruben Felipe travels to Hartford because he is paid to do so by the white millionaires and billionaires who invest in Charter $schools and make billions off the backs of black and Hispanic students in urban communities.

          Ruben Felipe, and his son, Antonio Felipe, are bought and paid for by the Charter $school industry. Period.

    2. Hey Antonio, whoever you are, Bull!!!!!!!!! There are a lot of good men in Bridgeport, has being a good man suddenly become criteria for running an inappropriate candidate for office.

  3. These puppets have strings.
    Did you know this?
    Paul Manafort was born in New Britain, CT in 1949.
    In January 2019, ahead of a disbarment hearing, (Paul) Manafort resigned from the Connecticut bar and waived his right to ever seek readmission.
    Manafort and the Mayor have something in common-except only one promised to never return .

  4. Can Lightening strike twice in the same district, Maria you know my position on Charter Schools. Getting my team together, those willing to come on board can call me (475)298-2822. If it is the will of the people we can win this. Bridgeport doesn’t have the luxury that the smaller Towns have where you can learn as you go. I’ve been there have friends who served with me and are now in leadership positions. At 58 I’ve matured and am ready to serve this city in the way it deserves. Asking any and all my friends, former colleagues to assist in getting Bridgeport the best Representation available…

    1. Learning as one goes isn’t a luxury, it’s an ability.
      Leadership isn’t granted, it’s taken.
      Those who want an army should know how to command!

    2. Hector,
      Perhaps you can advance the discussion quickly and provide readers something substantial to chew on. What are the three issues that you see as most important to that district and the values that you espouse 100% that explain why you see those three issues as priorities? That would be different and potentially helpful. It gets the discussion away from history (what person not here did or said what in the past?), geography (where does a candidate reside today and where will they relocate?) and math (Does a maturity difference in potential representation stem when you subtract 23 years old from 58 years and find that one candidate has had 35 years of living and maybe experiences to know who and what count in the territory?). Issues and values? Will these resonate in the District? Time will tell.

      1. Whereas clowns seek inspiration from the offbeat humor of Derek Brown, only the most serious bloggers
        understand JMl’s surgical dissection of political concerns. He puts candidates on their heels.

      2. So Hector, you got your petitions?
        36 signatures? You should have them all tomorrow.
        The get another 100 come Sunday and another 50 on Monday and your campaign is well on its way.

      1. Are you kidding? Are you kidding?! That’s disgusting. First the mayor was convicted of racketeering, went to prison and was re-elected. Then Ernie Newton was convicted, went to prison and was re-elected. It is public knowledge the both of them are liars and thieves. Now Tony Barr, a man that served twenty years in the slammer for violent offenses, is seeking public office. What’s he gonna do, threaten to beat up everyone that doesn’t vote for him?

        This is appalling. Time for the criminal classes to step down from running the city. Starting with Little Joe Ganim they’ve run this town aground.

  5. “And, we can strengthen our city’s school-to-work pipeline.”
    While many were at the DTC hoopla celebrating their candidate (whom I do not know) I was taking notes for the NAACP Newsletter at Mt. Aery Baptist Church where the NAACP was conducting a program on the subject of Pardons conducted by Manager Tara Brooks and Chairperson Carleton J. Giles of the State of Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles.

    Would someone care to describe the people and departments within the BOE, the City and the broader employment community, such that a “pipeline” would be provable rather than a fantasy vision, and accountable for data, year in and year out? Just saying……Open, Accountable, Transparent and Honest? Time will tell.

    1. There were more than 50 men and women present, taking notes, asking questions and learning very useful info. Sandwiches, chips and water were provided but mostly not consumed. Food is a major item with City political meetings. (Neither Mayor Ganim, Tony Barr, or Council member Newton were present for this learning opportunity. Getting a pardon requires distance from the acts that got you into trouble with the law, referrals from folks who know the depth of your violations and still recommend a pardon, a story in your own words to flesh out the rap sheets or other State records of your criminal behavior. Application when eligible is a part of a process of transition that is juried not by a Governor but by otherwise unconflicted citizens qualified by their knowledge of the system. Progressive and impressive in my opinion. Time will tell.

  6. JML
    I didn’t need to be at my church on yesterday to learn or talk about Pardons. Today I was in Hartford speaking in favor of the Clean Slate Bill which would wipe clean someone record for misdemeanors after 3 Years and Felonies after 5 years. This would be for low level crimes. This would be for individual who have proven they have been productive member if Our Society. JML thanks for worrying where i am.

    1. Ernie, I apologize for inclusion of your name with Ganim2 and Barr. It happened because you happen to be in any number of pictures on this site and that is what I referenced. But you were not in the events mentioned in the article.
      Perhaps you would like to share how the progressive stance of our State has or will allow folks to make the case for a complete transition and a complete clearing of legal records? That type of personalized endorsement can be realistically helpful for folks in deciding their future course. Sauda Baraka, as an NAACP committee chair provided a very healthy learning experience for a large number of people who were present. I hope that many will follow the guidance of Manager Tara Brooks, complete the paperwork fully and file. Time will tell.

  7. Mr Lee Let me start with , I like and respect you and your efforts for the better of Bridgeport. I would love to have an open debate or forum (which you or Lennie could moderate) in which all the candidates could answer those questions and more, whoever gets the seat should be ready to debate on the many issues concerning Bridgeport, once elected. The way it was SET UP (no pun intended) the petitioning candidates had to call the S.O.S office (try calling and see if they answer) get the form emailed, than take that form to the Town Clerks were its authenticated, take that form to Hartford (in person) were they than release the petitioning form, you than have to get your signatures and turn in the required amount before 4;00 pm on MONDAY. I’m just getting back to work ,now. I would be glad to sit with you any time after Monday at 4p.m. to discuss what my plans are and how your insight into the City’s financials can assist me once elected. Again any one willing to come on board is WELCOME (475)298-2822

  8. So…1st Mr Mackey I did not say you were throwing shots at the kid, that’s Marias specialty. 2nd I say give the kid a break, if he’s moving to Iranistan ave than I’m going to take his word for that. We all know Bpt. politicians that do not live in the area they represent, I will trust young Felipe until he breaks the trust, if he does.

    1. Antonio Dawson, base on your logic it’s ok for the DTC to find candidates for mayor, the city council or any other elected position to look and find candidates in other cities and towns like Mark Lauretti. Mario Testa and Mitch Robles and those DTC did a disservice to voters by selecting someone doesn’t even resident in Bridgeport.

      “Longtime Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti Thinking About Bridgeport Mayoral Run — But First He’d Have To Move
      Mark Lauretti,” the 27-year Republican mayor of Shelton who is currently Fairfield County’s longest serving mayor or first selectman, says he’s intrigued by a mayoral run in neighboring Bridgeport in 2019.

  9. Antonio Dawson,

    Please state one thing I stated about the “kid,” Antonia Felipe, which is not accurate.

    He is and has been a resident of Bear Paw Lane in Stratford.

    He is 23 years old “kid” with no record of accomplishments.

    He has never served as elected or appointed official in Bridgeport.

    He has never been responsible for paying rent, a mortgage, utilities or municipal property taxes.

    He was the Treasurer of the BUILD CT Independent Expenditure PAC. A pro-charter $school PAC.

    He was endorsed by the corrupt DTC.

    Please identify which statement is false.

    1. Mr. Dawson, the only way I say it is accurately, truthfully and factually. You won’t contest any specific assertion I made because it is FACTUAL.

  10. Antonio Dawson, Maria listed a number of questions concerning Antonia Felipe in his run to be elected to fill the 130th State Assembly seat of Ezequiel Santiago, so would you tell us which question is not true? Antonio Dawson are you saying that out of all of people who live in 130th State Assembly District that Mario Testa , Mitch Robles and the DTC members in that district that they couldn’t find one candidate to fill this open position so that had to go to Stratford to find a candidate, Antonia Felipe the “kid” for this elected position? This is embarrassing for the voters of the this district.

    1. I’m not saying anything she said is not true, I’m saying she fights with everyone in Bridgeport & needs to spread some love before she has a heart attack.
      Maybe she should look into how the BOE has NO MONEY yet there is a small group of mechanics working every Saturday while some needed projects arent getting done as favorites are being played. If you look where all the OT is going it is one division. Everyone is so trained on the scrap metal stuff that under Marias nose mechanics are making the papers for making $140k while others make $60k and their base pays are very close. Do your job Maria instead of fighting with everyone.

      1. Mr. Dawson, have I upset you? It appears pointing out the facts has caused you angst.

        No one does their job more on the Bridgeport Board of Education than me.

        You just stated we all know Bridgeport politicians who don’t live in Bridgeport. If you know that to be true what have you done about it? It is a felony to vote in Bridgeport if you don’t live here? It is also a crime to serve as al elected or appointed official in Bridgeport if you don’t reside here.

        Maybe people like you shouldn’t make such remarks without doing something about it.

        1. what can I do about it, I’m a north end resident struggling like everyone else. I pointed out some thing my daughter said to me about a huge moral problem in your BOE due to one division getting TONS of Overtime while other trades get none. That is something you can do something about, look into why. I’m a nobody, I tried to say there is enough hate thanks to this president and that you should chill & smell the roses before you get a heart attack.

          1. sorry, my sister said to me not my daughter lol..but my daughters school Winthrop sure could use a makeover

          2. If I knew of someone serving as an elected or appointed official in Bridgeport who was doing so in violation of state law, I can assure you I would research the matter. If I found compelling evidence that supported that an individual was voting or serving as an official in violation of state law, I assure you I would do something about it.

            Some of us talk and complain about what’s wrong with Bridgeport, and a few of us do something about it.

            I am in the latter category.

  11. I just signed a petition for person who is running for the open State Rep position, they had 4 petition sheets with 28 signatures on each page and they were just starting out, they will turned in their list first thing Monday morning. They plan on getting signatures all day today and tomorrow so that they can walk and talk to the voters and neighbors in their district and answering their questions and concerns. I must say that the endorse candidate by the DTC can’t say that he’s talking his neighbors in this district because he has no neighbors to vote for him.

    1. Ron, was it Ezequiel Santiago’s fiancee? My understanding is she was out getting signatures this weekend.

      She is 22 years old and is a registered voter in the Thomas Hooker living with her parents.

      This is simply ridiculous.

  12. It is pretty sad the the BDTC could not find a Bridgeport resident to nominate as a candidate.
    The word CARPETBAGGER comes to mind.
    A 23 year old neophyte being sent to Hartford to represent the interests of CT’s largest city, a city he doesn’t live in is an insult to all the residents and taxpayers (of which my family is one).
    I hope he doesn’t get strangled by the puppet strings being pulled on Madison Avenue.

  13. According to Data USA there are 147,000 people in the City of Bridgeport and 39.2% are listed as Hispanic and of that 39% of Hispanics 18.2% have a Bachelor’s Degree of higher.

    Having said that, the Latino community in Bridgeport should be outraged and appalled that the DTC would reach out to a Stratford resident when there are literally thousands of college educated Latinos in the City of Bridgeport that would/could serve the city in which they live in a professional and educated manner. City Council President Nieves where is the outrage? Latinos of the 130th, where is the outrage? Bridgeport residents, where is the outrage? Just because they can, should they?

    1. Don, according to the district leader Mitch Robles and Mario Testa the head of the DTC and the DTC members from that voting district feel and believe that there NOT ANY Latinos of the 130th who are smart enough and good enough to run for the open State Rep position, not person in the entire 130th district. What a slap in the face to ALL of the voters in the district Mitch Robles and Mario Testa saw a need to find a candidate from Stratford.

  14. I don’t know who this Antonio Dawson is, but he seems to have a lot to say about nothing. So his idea of an endorsement is that the candidate is the son of a “good man.” Wake up dummy, we have a lot of good men in Bridgeport, does this automatically qualify a son or daughter of a “good man” to serve as an elected official?

  15. Ron, in response to your comments, this time it was not Testo, the blame falls directly on the shoulders of little Joey G., and I can’t wait, if the opportunity presents itself, to tell him to his face. (No, I’m not naive, he won’t give two s—– what I say or think.) The last thing he wanted was a dragged out fight over this seat before his campaign, so by placating the Hispanics, he wrapped up their support for his upcoming election. I’m not criticizing his political strategy, it’s his skin in the game, but the jerks that went along with him should be driven out of Dodge. Cowards and opportunists.

  16. I hope some bloggers go down this rabbit hole because I made a mistake while pontificating. I owe my guy Joey G., an oops, my information regarding his position on this State Rep seat was a little off. I’m not too worried because I know he doesn’t read our posts, but to his friends that do, what can I say?

  17. Antonia Felipe was walking on Iranistan Ave. across from Gregory St. with another guy and Felipe looked like a fish out of water, he looked like a high school kid who just got off a school bus.

  18. Lennie, Antonia Felipe had no choice, he had to come out from his home in Stratford and to the South End. This past weekend you had other candidates going door to door seeking signatures and the voters got to see, meet and talk to candidates. Felipe can’t say that he’s concern about the community because he doesn’t reside in the community, he will be challenge by residents whenever he makes that statement that he cares about the district.

    1. Ron, cut the crap. First of all his name is Antonio. Spell him and respect him by his name. Secondly, he had a choice. And he chose to work. Your candidate is Kate Rivera who lives in Seaside Village as well as you. Will you leave Seaside Village to work for Kate? Will Kate leave Seaside Village to work for Kate? Does Kate know anything about the West End or the East Side beyond the South End? We’ll find out.

      1. Lennie, cut the crap, what’s that about, it’s like I said personal against you? Secondly, I made “a” mistake by typing “a” instead of “o” there was no disrespect towards him. You said, “Does Kate know anything about the West End or the East Side beyond the South End? We’ll find out,” same for Antonio but the difference is those in power must have Antonio in office so they will do whatever it takes to elect him.


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