Former Health Director Maritza Bond who did not shy from city politics, even placing Mayor Joe Ganim’s name into nomination at the Democratic Party convention in 2018 during his ill-fated run for governor, is weighing a campaign for Connecticut secretary of the state. Incumbent Democrat Denise Merrill is not seeking reelection.
A whole bunch of pols are lining up for this position, likely the only open constitutional office for Dems. She may have local company from State Rep. Chris Rosario who’s likely to hoist the bulk of the city political establishment if he gets in the race.
Another potential opponent Jacqueline James, who has deep roots in New Haven including as former Democratic Town Committee chair, served as manager of Ganim’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
Bond, hired by Ganim in November 2016, was a visible community face in neighborhoods advancing city health initiatives including the Fight The Bite campaign about West Nile virus and shutting down controversial bodegas in violation of health codes.
She left for New Haven in January 2020.
My life has always been about fighting for people of all backgrounds and ethnicities to help them gain equitable access to quality health services. I’m a product of Fair Haven, a product of Connecticut public schools.
I’ve led New Haveners through one of the worst moments in human history, while tackling long-standing, unanswered issues like lead poisoning in our infants and children. I’ve been a public servant my entire career, and I’m ready to lead our state to a place where everyone has the opportunity to actualize their dream and have a good life–starts with equity and access.
I’m exploring a run for statewide office because I know firsthand how hard it is for many communities to have a seat at the table and access to public servants. I know firsthand how hard it is for many to get access to the voting booths. And I know firsthand how hard it’s been for our business community getting access to the resources they need to thrive beyond the pandemic.
I’m ready to serve our State. I look forward to the path ahead and meeting Connecticut residents as I explore a run for statewide office.
OIB friend Paul Bass, editor of the New Haven Independent, shares more:
Two more New Haveners have begun work on potential campaigns for Connecticut’s top elections and business-records oversight position: city Health Director Maritza Bond and former Democratic Town Chair Jacqueline James.
Bond has filed papers to form an exploratory committee for state office. Bond, who is 44, plans to make a formal public announcement of her exploratory committee’s formation at an event next Wednesday in Criscuolo Park in New Haven’s Fair Haven neighborhood, where she grew up.
Bond said she is weighing a run for the Democratic nomination for secretary of the state, one of the only statewide positions expected to be open in next year’s election. Incumbent Denise Merrill is stepping down after three terms in the office. A host of Democrats have already filed “exploratory” committees with an eye on replacing her, including New Haven Alder Darryl Brackeen, Hamden State Rep. Joshua Elliott, State Sen. Matt Lesser of Middletown, and Meriden State Rep. Hilda Santiago.
Meanwhile, James told the Independent Friday that she plans to announce her own candidacy in three weeks–not an “exploratory” campaign, but a full-out quest for the secretary of the state position.
“I’m committed to running. Our residents in the state of Connecticut need someone who’s committed,” James said.
Besides overseeing elections, the secretary of the state is in charge of business filings and maintaining the commercial registry. The secretary of the state also proposes and lobbies for new election laws.
Perhaps as a result, for decades–since 1991–the position has been filled by state legislators who already had experience drafting and voting on such legislation: Merrill, Susan Bysiewicz, Miles Rapoport, Pauline Kezer.
Bond was asked on Friday what experience she would bring to a job usually held by people with legislative backgrounds.
She spoke about her day-to-day work helping small businesses stay open safely in the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the work she did in conjunction with others in city government on enabling people to vote safely. Bond has served as the public face of the city’s Covid-19 response and earned plaudits for her work, in which she formed coalitions with ministers, Yale’s public health school contact tracers, pharmacies and hospitals. (Click here to read about that and about her background.) She argued that the administrative skills she developed would fit neatly with the secretary of the state’s mission.
“I have a unique story. I’m not your normal politician,” Bond said.
“Being a leader and an administrator already, I ran the largest health department in Connecticut, in Bridgeport. I now run the third-largest city in Connecticut in the middle of a pandemic that heightened a lot of different social issues in our country. I want all our residents to trust the government again. Right now we see the challenges with vaccination rates in our community. We can undo this with new leadership, trusted people who care about meeting people where they are at, instead of at the voting booth. It’s bigger than all of us, and I’m excited to be a voice for those who’ve never had a seat at the table.
“I’m exploring for statewide office because we need a new type of leadership for this post-Covid world, people who are battle-tested to get the work done. I feel I embody those qualities and look forward to the road ahead.”
Much of Bond’s work in New Haven–and before that in Bridgeport and the Naugatuck Valley–has focused on health equity, on bringing information and access to care to communities of color and other marginalized groups.
“Through this pandemic, I spearheaded and demonstrated strong leadership as an administrator in an executive role and collaborated with many different sectors to ensure a safe reopening and ensure small businesses can thrive.”
Bond said she will continue working as city health director at least through the fall, restricting her exploratory campaign efforts to nights, weekends, and personal time.
“I will reassess in December and determine whether I need to take a leave of absence. My goal is to work as long as I can. I love public health. There are different goals I need to finish,” she said.
Bond’s exploratory campaign treasurer is Jenell Lawson, a deputy director and vice-president at Community Action Agency of New haven.
Not a fan of Maritza Bond. Don’t think she did a great job in Bridgeport or New Haven.
Her self importance is a joke: “I now run the third-largest city in Connecticut …”
Pure BS. Bond does NOT run the third biggest city in CT. The Mayor of New Haven is Justin Elicker. Bond is merely a Department Head, and the Health Department is NOT even the biggest department in the city.
Plenty of more qualified candidates to support.
Maritza was a big loss for Bridgeport when she left and a win for New Haven when she became the head of their Health Department. I believe that she is a dedicated and qualified public servant who can serve her constituents very well.
Carry on your quest, Maritza.
Maritza is a shining star. Buena Suerte!
For the up coming primary for Connecticut Secretary of the State, my support is for New Haven Alder Darryl Brackeen.
Maritza would be a long shot,but an interesting candidate just the same IMO. I definitely won’t be voting for Chris “do you know who I am Rosario”, that’s for sure.if he ever won,his head wouldn’t fit in the office.
Chris would not get my vote either.
I probably won’t have to wait for the primary, as I entiam usually a delegate to the state Democratic convention.
Remember this story? Here is a portion.
“State’s Attorney looking into Trumbull party case”
Brian Lockhart, Donald Eng
Jan. 20, 2021
Updated: Jan. 21, 2021 7:34 a.m.
State Rep. Christopher Rosario, D-Bridgeport, and New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond, who held that same position in Bridgeport until January 2020, said they both were invited to the party.
Bond, in a statement Wednesday, confirmed she briefly swung by Pizarro’s house last Saturday: “I dropped off a gift to my former colleague’s home before dinner began and left well before many started gathering.”
Bond has been one of the key public figures in New Haven’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Of Pizarro’s birthday bash she added, “I am deeply disappointed that people attended a large-scale gathering that potentially put their health at risk. I feel strongly about us advocating against these types of gatherings as we are still in the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rosario in an interview Tuesday night said he took a ride-share to Pizarro’s around 11 p.m. and stayed about 45 minutes, catching another ride elsewhere with friends.
“I was there ever so briefly (and) I wore a mask,” Rosario recalled. “I extended my greetings and birthday wishes to the host and went on my way.”
He said he doubted Pizarro hosted 300 people even with a tent — “that’s a small house” — but admitted it got “busy” and he grew uncomfortable. Rosario said that Pizarro since the pandemic struck last March has hosted “gatherings that have been reasonable in size but following all the social distance guidelines.”
“It ballooned into something that was out of Danny’s control,” Rosario said. “It’s unfortunate what happened. We all make mistakes. I understand Mr. Pizarro apologized and lesson learned to everyone involved.”
On Sunday, Bridgeport City Hall said that any municipal employees who were at Pizarro’s home had to quarantine and receive COVID tests before returning to work. The Post previously interviewed one of those, Anthony Paoletto of the health department, who is also a former City Councilman.
Ganim’s office did not respond Wednesday to a request for the total number of workers quarantining after Pizarro’s party.
I recall from when she was being considered for the Bridgeport health director position that there was a concern for her lack of a medical background.
It appears now that she is just a politician.
Maybe felon Ganim will place her name in nomination.
Not my favorite on the list either but she didnt need a medical background, she needs a public health background and she has that.
You have got to be jigging me, right. The lack of a medical background, really?
Most of the health department head that I know have no medical background.
I would say most a social workers or simply Masters of Public Health.
Jack McCarthy for most of his years didn’t even have that.
Marshall, do tell. What qualifies you as an expert in the field of public health?
What criteria do you use to judge her inadequate in both Bridgeport and New Haven’s health dept?
Yes Bob, other than Jack McCarthy, most had a medical background in addition to a masters in public health.
Don’t put words in my mouth. I never used the word ‘inadequate..’ Perhaps I feel the people of Bridgeport deserve more than just adequate in their Director of Public Health. In New Haven’s case, especially in time of Pandemic. Her ignoring Covid Protocols and showing up in Trumbull at Pizzaro’s Birthday Bash, shows her disregard for public health and safety. Another entitled wannabe politician, feeding at the public trough. Rules apply to others, not me attitude sucks big time,
Marshall, but Maritza just”dropped off her gift we’ll before dinner started and left before anyone got there” & King Chris took it one step further in his excuse, King Chris made sure to add that “he took a ride share to the party” covering himself if anyone saw him drinking,smart move. Then Chris only stayed “45 mins” and left .. LOL
If you believe that BS, there’s a bridge I want to sell you.
If no one was there, who received the gift, who let her in? Someone was there.
How did she know she left well before dinner started? 5 minutes, an hour? I don’t believe anything she says in her CYA comments.