New Generation Of Young Activists Promote Community Empowerment

Bridgeport Generation Now, a new social action group vetting the political process, has unleashed its issues and policy platform for the campaign season. The organization features a bunch of young people new to city politics. It’s about time, right? Check them out, including this video from Callie Heilmann, president of the organization.

In February of this year, our members brainstormed a list of issues and policies in Bridgeport we wished to explore and elevate. Our members worked hard over the winter and spring, in research teams and at member meetings, to develop this platform. On June 9th, we held a Policy and Issue Forum, where we vetted and validated each topic. On June 21st, we hosted seven current City Council members in a formal discussion around our platform, policies, and ideas.

Our 2017 Policy and Issue Platform is broken into four sections, based on our four key principles. Each week, we will release a new part of the platform, so stay in touch via our mailing list and social media to be engaged and get informed!

Good Governance: Releases tomorrow!
— Bridgeport City Budget
— Financial Task Force
— Downtown Parking Meters

Justice and Equity: Week of 8/21
— Racial Equity in Education
— WPCA Foreclosures
— Sanctuary City
— Police Accountability

Democratic Empowerment: Week of 8/28
— Democratic Town Committee
— Absentee Ballots

Livability: Week of 9/4
— Public Arts
— Food Policy
— Environment/Energy

The publication of this platform represents seven months of hard work by dedicated members of Bridgeport Generation Now. Over the course of the coming year, we hope it serves as a guide to civic discourse, an accountability arm for elected officials, and an empowerment tool for our democratic process.

Thank you to everyone who contributed time, energy, ideas, thoughtfulness, humility, and care to this process. We are proud of each and every one of us. We cannot do this without you!



  1. Nice to see the enthusiasm noted on this post and in the recent CT Post story. The real measure of their effectiveness will be when they take on an issue that is not covered in the Bernie Sanders manual.
    It will be interesting to see how they approach the issue of absentee ballots.

    1. Tom I feel as you do. Thankfully there are only a few bad apples left still abusing this process. Obviously, Mario Testo is the most prominent and unlawful. My personal experience, approximately 18 months ago, shocked even me, being blindsided by the extent this man will go to break the law in obtaining absentee ballots while sometimes using unknowing, inexperienced individuals to do his dirty work. It’s too bad that this new group will not have this history to use as a guide as to what not to do when assisting the elderly and handicapped to exercise their right to right in an alternative way. His cohort McCarthy, although not as bad as Testo, hopefully will stay away from these primaries, because measures are in place to catch testo with his “hand in the cookie jar.” Anyone who feels it’s worth winning an election by accepting Testo’s assistance, is placing themselves in legal peril, and even if they’re not caught, he’ll own them. I’m personally being extremely vigilant; the people he used against me were otherwise decent people whose careers would have been jeopardized had I filed for an investigation. I hope this time certain employees of the Police Department will stay away from him, and not follow his orders. He’s being carefully monitored by almost every district engaged in a primary race. He will be arrested!

  2. Without the all-important ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/LOCAL,Living-Wage JOBS CREATION/
    TAX-BASE CREATION portion of this Policies and Issues “agenda,” Bridgeport Generation Now should just rename itself Bridgeport Generation Never…

    I have seen that same Program and Issues stew
    stirred over the same dying coals for three generations… Still nothing to serve to the Bridgeport masses…

    I’m seeing an absence of vision and real planning here… Same old, same old…
    Same “dragons” (why are they all Democrats named
    Mario?) to slay… Same magical non-formula
    from the same ADD Wizard…

    Unless Generation Now are all under 16, they should realize that there is no justice in the midst of the endemic poverty and hopelessness visited upon Bridgeport and the other urban centers by the elitist, globalist economics that has been codified and adopted as policy in Hartford and Washington…

    And you think that ranting against the BRIDGEPORT “machine” is going to actually supply the critical, missing economic development ingredient of your Policy and Issues stew. GTFU! GAL! (And how many of these reformers have lived in Bridgeport for more than 5 years or graduated from Bridgeport schools?! Maybe just a bunch of suburban “kids” looking to launch political careers as Fairfield County US Congressional delegates after they have created enough of a nest egg to move out of downtown Bridgeport to Wilton or Darien?…)

    Not impressed. Nothing new. Nothing that will make $#@! bit of difference for the 75%
    of Bridgeporters in real need of economic hope and relief…

    And Tom: If these guys were disciples of Bernie, they would be conscious of the critical $ component of their Program and Issues Agenda… These guys are pawns of the largely-clueless “loyal opposition” segment of the Bridgeport Democratic Party that have been on the losing end of a political feud with the Marion Testa faction for about 1.5 generations… And their mentors were the “loyal opposition” to the Republicans back in the 60’s and 70’s…

    Which way to the egress?!

  3. Lisa. What do they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? If Generation Now were thinking about a Bridgeport FUTURE, they would have something fresh and powerful to offer… And to not address the single, most-important item on Bridgeport’s “things to fix” list — economic development/local/living-wage jobs — screams of cluelessness… All of their Policies and Issues is just withered, low-hanging, election/year fruit… Where is their vision and plan for “empowering” Bridgeporters… Looks more like they want to empower their political selves… I don’t see anything of real substance in their agenda… No vision, no significant targets… They are offering only a Democratic Party infighting agenda… So; even if the Generation Now opposition sweeps the election… Then what?! (They’ll morph into Generation Later…)

    1. Jeff, you may be right. I’ve had that same thought, but if it wasn’t for participation by all challengers in this election, we would encourage and secure the same practices used by the same scoundrels. I can’t predict the outcome, nor can I know the motives by all, but for the first time in a very long time, there’s interest.

    2. Hi Jeff, how can any group help the 75% of Bridgeporters in real need of economic hope and relief? Many of these people have been in the same horrible situations for generations and yet they still keep voting for and supporting the same people who do not care about them unless its election time. You often write how the rest of Fairfield County keeps Bridgeport down for their benefit. I would say the DTC is a willing conspirator in that effort. Why else would the city do things like dramatically underfund the schools? I do not think any group can bring that change until the 75% themselves rise up to demand it.

  4. I commend this Callie Hellmann. She is very articulate. This is just another opportunity for young members of this city to get involved with local politics. I did not hear her mention one negative thing about the DTC or its members. We all love Bridgeport- the more the merrier. :-). Nobody is shutting them out.

    1. DTC  is a form of government which is a type of one-party dictatorship. It’s Chairman Mario Testo is a Fascist Pig and against democracy. So why would Steven A. say that the DTC is an open invitation for anyone to join. “ Nobody is shutting them out”
      Stevie A. works for a totalitarian one-party state and surely does not speak for the DTC or its members. So if the BGN members believe what this suck-up is saying, you can contact
      Steven Auerbach

  5. I like Bridgeport Generation Now. Why Bash Them?? If anything,this is how a community begins the process of reaching out to each other across different generations. It’s a start and a good start.

  6. D.C., the DTC is toothless, claw-less political tiger outside of Bridgeport. They are derided and bullied by the rest of the state. They are afraid of alienating the powerful down-county and suburban Dems and Republicans so that our critical state aid –.which is mere crumbs for the state’s largest city — doesn’t get further reduced. We underfund our schools because the state underfunds us by tens of millions of dollars in ECS money compared to the smaller Hartford and New Haven school districts…
    And Ron; I take exception to feel-good political neophytes who would pretend to be out in front with new and bold political agendas that are anything but and presented in wish-washy, feel-good fashion in this politically hard-ball city. It speaks of nothing but political posturing by disingenuous, ambitious, temporary “Bridgeporters” looking to launch political careers in anticipation of moving to the ‘burbs with poltical “street cred.” I’ve seen too many such “young reformers” ride our cost tails to the ‘burbs and wind up working against urban agendas in Hartford and D.C. — or take jobs down-county town goverments…

  7. Jeff I’m holding my breath on this one since I volunteered to assist in a council contest that includes two members of this new wave. I know what my district now has representing it (excluding John Olsen), I did as much due diligence, and relied on my political instincts (that have been wrong at times), and made the decision to step up. You may be right, as I’ve said before, the thought crossed my mind. But, it’s too risky not to take a chance this time and try. The decision by the voters will be made on September 12th. I always accept the outcome of an election whether I like it or not.

    1. Thank you, my hope is that they are disciplined enough to do the hard work necessary to prevail. If I didn’t step up, I would feel guilty ever criticizing or giving an opinion.

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