Former Republican State Senator Rob Russo hasn’t gone away. In fact, he’s gearing up for even more involvement in the city.
Russo told OIB over the weekend that he’ll be running for a spot on the Board of Education this November. Can’t win it, you say? Well, the BOE is one place in city elections where Republicans are guaranteed multiple spots as a result of minority-party representation.
Russo, one of the few public bright spots for the city GOP, is an education wonk. He loves issues involving city schools. It was Russo who begged Republican Governor Jodi Rell and Republican Senate Minority Leader John McKinney for the $250K for a comprehensive audit of the BOE.
Russo won the tri-community senate seat formerly held by Mayor Bill Finch in a special election March of 2008. He, like many Republicans around the country, was overwhelmed by Barack’s electoral tsunami that drove new young voters to the polls in record numbers. Russo ran well in Trumbull and Monroe, but was swamped in the city by Democrat Anthony Musto.
Even though he’s out of office, Russo is asked often about the slow-moving status of the BOE audit, but it’s impossible for him to push the agenda without an elected platform. He can do that on the BOE.
Education boards under state authority have minority-party representation. Maybe it’s time the City Council do the same? Other towns have minority-party representation on legislative bodies, including nearby Trumbull. Of course, easier said than done persuading the city’s Democratic-controlled government and political establishment.
In 1997, when I was Joe Ganim’s political guru, he asked if there was a way to secure a cross-endorsement from the GOP. My answer was for him to support minority-party representation legislatively and commit to more GOP appointments to boards and commissions. Ganim agreed to it. There was no motivational altruism. It was simply a way to avoid a general election while building broader appeal for Joe’s statewide ambitions.
A number of GOP party regulars liked the idea. I brought the proposal to the GOP chair, the late Joan Magnuson, pitching it as party building for her lonesome rank and file. There was enough resistance among party regulars for Joan to back off the idea.
Would Finch buy into supporting minority-party participation that say provides one quarter or one third GOP representation on the City Council?
Yeah, possibly, if it meant he’d have less opposition on the council such as a Bob Troll Walsh who’s against every administration proposal. Troll of course says he’s justified in his actions.
And would Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa buy into it? Probably not. But if it means Mario would deal with a few less Democratic dopes versus a few more reasonable Republicans, he might. Good grief, can you imagine Joel Speedy Gonzalez back on the City Council as a Republican? Speedy, you out there?
Fred Biebel’s Book
Listening to former national GOP deputy chairman Fred Biebel is like a journey through political history. Fred will chat about his book Thursday night at the Barnum Museum. Check out news release below:
Path of a Patriot: The Political Journey of Mr. B
Discussion and book signing
(Bridgeport, CT) – On Thursday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m., The Barnum Museum will present a talk by legendary Connecticut Republican insider Frederick K. Biebel about his book, “Path of a Patriot: The Political Journey of Mr. B.”
The 82-year-old Biebel, former Chair of the Connecticut Republican party, Deputy National Chairman of the Republican Party and President of the Barnum Festival, retired just three years ago from his position as director of the governor’s Southwestern office in Bridgeport. Biebel is a GOP power broker, who was a guest of President George W. Bush at last year’s White House Christmas party and has been rubbing elbows with the political elite–or helping them get elected–for five decades. He still has strong opinions about government and politics.
“But as I wrote the book … and stopped … and started writing again numerous times,” reflected Biebel, “I began to realize it was important to write about the generations of my family, on both sides, who were actively involved in this nation’s founding, even going back to the Mayflower itself.”
Biebel is like a walking encyclopedia of the nation’s political history in the second half of the 20th century and said that he wrote the book in part, to provide a record of that experience. Another theme Biebel stresses in his book is how important it is for young people to learn and know their heritage.
The Barnum Museum has three floors of absolutely fascinating exhibits that illustrate the extraordinary life of Phineas Taylor Barnum. P.T. Barnum, one-term mayor of Bridgeport and four-term member of the Connecticut General Assembly, was born July 5, 1810 in Bethel and died April 7, 1891 in Bridgeport. The original museum building, owned by the City of Bridgeport, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is handicap accessible.
What: The Path of a Patriot: The Political Journey of Mr. B
When: Thursday, May 7 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT
Cost: The event is free with General Admission Adults: $7, Seniors and college students: $5, Children 4 – 17: $4, Under 4: Free
Regular Barnum Museum Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.,
Sunday, Noon – 4:30 p.m. Call 203-331-1104 ext. 102 or visit www.barnum-museum.org
Top 10 Finalists from American Idol
ADAM LAMBERT, ALLISON IRAHETA, ANOOP DESAI, DANNY GOKEY, KRIS
ALLEN, LIL ROUNDS, MATT GIRAUD, MEGAN JOY, MICHAEL SARVER, AND
Arena at Harbor Yard
Tickets on sale May 9th arena box office