Panuzio Calls Foster Sunshine And Blue Sky

In a read similar to an editorial board endorsement, former Republican Mayor Nick Panuzio, 1971-75, shares his support for Mary-Jane Foster for mayor. This commentary first appeared in the CT Post.

The mayor’s race in Bridgeport this year is “classic Bridgeport.” While there are many mayoral candidates for the Nov. 3 election, the two main candidates are Mary-Jane Foster, Independent, and  Joe Ganim, Democrat.

Foster, a lawyer and business woman will bring a different approach to the management of the city. As co-owner and co-founder of the Bluefish baseball team, she was instrumental in bringing baseball back to Bridgeport.

Her experience as current vice president of the University of Bridgeport has given her a broad picture of education at its best.

Most of all she will bring to the city a renewed excitement that has not been there for a long time. Mary-Jane will have a new plan to cut taxes, expand police capability and expand commercial development by having it known that Bridgeport will remain open for business. She will be an excellent mayor.

Former Mayor Joe Ganim, the Democrat nominee, is attempting to regain his old job after being convicted of multiple counts of corruption against the city while in office, and for which he served time.

While we should accept Joe Ganim’s apologies to the people of Bridgeport for his wrong-doing, he does not deserve to be re-elected to the job he betrayed.

The need to turn around the image of Bridgeport as a place of corruption where one had to “pay to play” has been difficult. Anything that adds to that difficulty is wrong.

Ganim’s return to the mayor’s office, regardless of what prior successes he had, would damage the image of the city just as it has begun to recover.

Two mayors, Marion Barry in Washington, D.C. and Buddy Cianci in Providence, R.I., have been cited as examples of mayors who were convicted of different crimes and were re-elected.

Mayor Barry was re-elected after serving time for a cocaine conviction. Mayor Cianci was re-elected after serving time because of an assault. Neither man was re-elected after having been convicted for public corruption. That is a significant difference.

During their terms as mayor, John Fabrizi and Bill Finch, whether you agreed with them or not, performed a major task in turning the city around. They should be thanked for that. Because of their efforts in trying to improve the city’s image, people and corporations began investing in Bridgeport again.

Now, under fresh leadership, there are continuing opportunities for future growth through new ideas, new creative thinking. Mary-Jane Foster is the person to move the city ahead.

That will not happen if Joe Ganim is elected again. Many of the same people will return to their jobs, others will be looking to reclaim theirs, and the old mindset will become reality again.

Citizens of Bridgeport now must reach for the future with new leadership, and new hopes as well as new dreams.

Mary-Jane Foster can bring a new sense of purpose to Bridgeport. There will be excitement in electing a new person with new ideas, attracting new people who will want to work in what they will consider a new city.

Mary-Jane Foster is the future with offering plans for the future, and hopes for those who have not had hopes. There will be opportunities and choices for those who want to gain education, for expanded development that will bring jobs and a plan for replacing and increasing housing.

Bridgeport has a choice: citizens can go back to the black clouds over the City or turn around and look for some sunshine and a blue sky. It’s there for the voting.



  1. When friends from up north asked “What’s Bridgeport like?” I answer “It’s the other side of the rainbow.” Rick Torres is the gold at the end of that rainbow.

  2. I’m sorry but this must be a misprint or Lennie’s Halloween Trick when he wrote former Republican Mayor Nick Panuzio has endorsed Mary-Jane Foster. WOW, Rick Torres is a lost cause.

  3. I agree with his statement: “Many of the same people will return to their jobs, others will be looking to reclaim theirs, and the old mindset will become reality again.”

    And adding my own: A half million dollars to run for mayor in Bridgeport where half the residents are in or close to poverty. What favors will be owed?

  4. So let’s get this straight:
    Nick Panuzio, a former mayor who gave the police union a 20-years-and-out pension plan (and securing a lot of votes in the process) who quit just after re-election to take a lobbyist’s job in Washington DC endorses Mary-Jane Finchster and that’s supposed to be some sort of gift from the gods? Mickey Herbert, Mary-Jane Foster’s former partner in the Bridgeport Bluefish, endorsed a convicted criminal over her, the self-described “honest choice.” “Honest” is a relative term. Ms. Foster was wishy-washy about the upcoming revaluation and plain evasive in answering questions about keeping Bill Finch’s political support and keeping him on the city payroll if she’s elected (he needs another two years to qualify for a city pension). His so-called “endorsement” is more than a little poisonous. At least a third of the electorate does not like him. 90% of the people who cast ballots for the primary don’t like HER. That’s a lot of antipathy to deal with.

  5. In fairness to Mayor Panuzio, he did not “quit just after reelection to take a lobbyist job in Washington.” He declined to seek a third two-year term in 1975 and resigned a few weeks before the election (in the end of his term) to take a job in the Ford administration.

    1. Phil–thanks for the correction. Nick knows how to play the game. Four years ago he was endorsing Finch, when he was on the city pad as a lobbyist.

      He was nowhere to be found on the educational hijack attempt by Bill. Then he had an Epiphany and criticized Bill after he got shitcanned. The nature of the game is it all depends on whose ox is being gored!

      This election is powder puff compared to those hand grenades you so artfully used in describing Bridgeport politics.

  6. Wow. What an endorsement! A Republican, former-mayor-turned-lobbyist, endorsing another Republican, soon to be former Bridgeport mayoral candidate. Heartwarming!

    A dotty gentleman, with cataracts, talking about sunshine and blue skies. His nurse must have closed the drapes and turned on the 200-watt ceiling lamp.

    Wasn’t Panuzio mayor when Paul Newman visited Bridgeport and declared it was the armpit of New England? Did he have any other claim to fame? Any noteworthy accomplishments?

    Another relevant, ringing endorsement that carries a lot of weight behind it.

    1. Actually Jeff, he endorsed Foster. Not Rick. Who cares? Foster’s husband is a big-time Republican and given their ages they probably have gone to some watering function together. Perhaps Nick P. hopes he will get a job if she were elected. He won’t get one from Torres or Ganim. These things really get irrelevant quickly.

  7. Is there any Republican who’s endorsing Ricky? I would think it’s a pause for concern when members of his own party would rather endorse a Democrat than the party poster boy. Just saying.

  8. Oh, okay Derek, but I was talking about local Republicans like Panuzio, Len Paoletta, Mary Moran or even Joe Borges who was the only black local Republican I knew. I guess David Walker counts, it’s just most Bridgeport residents North of Ellsworth St. don’t have any idea who he is. Just saying.

    1. Mr. Day, Rick Torres has personally answered your question about bringing jobs to Bridgeport back on the Torres video post. We understand your positions and do not disagree with anything until Torres is painted as a big bad Republican, he is not that. He is to the left of both of the two main opponents on social issues and will put all Bridgeport residents first in his decision making processes, while working with an independent, Democratic majority in the city council. I hope we get the chance to have you see this happen.

    1. The big guy steps in once in awhile. How about having a former Comptroller General of the United States looking at Bridgeport’s books? That would work for me. Even if part-time. He has endorsed Torres for accountability in Bridgeport Government. Thank you, Mr. Walker!

  9. PC too, I’m all for that. And as you have said many times, that’s what electing Rick would bring.
    No one person can know all, however the sign of a great leader is he surrounds himself with those experts.
    Rick will be that leader who will surround himself with people of knowledge.

  10. I was being facetious, Park City too. (In this crazy Bridgeport election season it’s hard to follow the real stuff, let alone our attempts at humor.) 🙂


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