Democratic Political Leadership Shows Male-Dominated Gender Gap

Ganim, Mario, St. Pats
Mayor Joe Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa enjoy St. Patrick’s celebration.

Bridgeport’s Democratic Party is looking for a few good women in district leadership positions. On March 14, Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, backed by Mayor Joe Ganim, overwhelmingly won another two-year term as party leader. On the same night the respective members of the 10-district, 90-strong DTC also announced district leaders. All of them are men except for party outsider Maria Pereira, in the Upper East Side 138th District, who ran a primary slate against the organizational structure and prevailed with all nine seats. Pereira is also a member of the Board of Education.

The Democratic Town Committee represents the organizational power structure and influence of the party apparatus that sometimes prevails, but also has taken a licking in various city races in recent years. They are the party players that endorse candidates for elected office and select a chairman. More than half of the 20-member City Council maintain DTC seats. Some are State House members, some mayoral appointees, some have been involved for decades, still others are newcomers. The district leaders generally set the tone for neighborhood organizational structure to turn out a vote.

City officials, be it the makeup of public safety ranks or discretionary appointees of the mayor to leadership positions, often fend off criticism charging lack of diversity. Pereira, for one, quickly noticed she was the lone female heading up a district. Leaders are chosen by the respective district membership. Pereira backed Ganim for mayor, but quickly had a falling out with him over education issues. Pereira issued this statement:

As someone that worked full time on Joe Ganim’s campaign for 5 months, 7 days per week; it was obvious that high-level contributions from  women were not valued nor welcome. Day after day I would go to his main headquarters where I would regularly see executive level meetings taking place in the conference room behind glass doors. The only woman I ever saw in these high-level meetings was Gina Malheiro from Trumbull, and that was only when the meetings were around fundraising.

Time and time again these high-level meetings around political strategy only included men. In almost all cases they included Danny Roach, Ken Flatto, Chris Meyers, Tom Gaudett, John Ricci, etc. Once in a while you would see the token minority John Gomes.

Women were incredibly active in the campaign, however their contributions were relegated to phone banking, data entry, canvassing, photocopying, etc.

This was one of the most significant factors in my decision to run a DTC slate in the 138th. We had 10 DTC districts and not a single DTC leader was a woman.
If the powers that be don’t see the invaluable contributions that women have made and continue to make in Bridgeport politics; you have to call their attention to it.  If the male power brokers of Bridgeport don’t want to give you a voice; just let them hear you through your actions and victories. Don’t ask their permission to be heard. Just get out there and make yourself heard through your constituent’s actions at the polls.

That’s what this woman did.

In addition to district leaders, the party elects officers. Testa will point to the gender makeup of party officers and overall makeup of the 90 members being representative of the city’s gender makeup.

Former City Council President Lisa Parziale whose West Side slate lost to one headed up by longtime District Leader Mike Freddino says the issue is “about women not going out there and doing what Maria Pereira did.”

Town Committee members by district. Leaders in bold.

District 130: Danny Roach, Joann Manzo, Michael Meehan, Tom Mulligan, Eric Amado, Joy Cline, Shaquana Shaw, Anne Larcheveque, Cathleen Simpson.

District 131: Mitch Robles, Genovena Miranda, Michelle Robles, Jose Negron Sr, Jack Banta, Denese Taylor-Moye, Jorge Cruz Sr, Glen Pettway, Paul Bouchard.

District 132: Mike Freddino, Anthony Lancia, Marcus Brown, John Olson, Elaine Pivirotto, Reggie Walker, Evette Brantley, Vernon Thompson Jr, Rolanda Smith.

District 133: Tom McCarthy, Vincent DiPalma, Abel Chaparro, Anne Pappas Phillips, Michael DeFilippo, Albertina Baptista, Joseph Moura, Jeanette Herron, Peretz Robinson.

District 134: Dennis Scinto, Johanna Dorgan, Matthew Cuminotto Jr, John Fabrizi, Patricia Nolan, Tom Lyons, Marilyn Santacroce, Tom Gecewicz, Steve Auerbach.

District 135: Steve Nelson, Charlie Stallworth, Carmen Hatton, Craig Jones, Fred Gee Jr., Mary McBride Lee, Darrett Evans Moss, Doris Roman Nelson, Lisa Anderson

District 136: Chris Rosario, Wanda Geter Pataky, Antonio Felipe, Jose Casco, Fabio Mazo, Angel DePara Jr., Janet Gomes, Tom Gaudett, Jose Morales.

District 137: Gil Hernandez, Lydia Martinez, Maria Hernandez, Aidee Nieves, Joel Rosario, Jessica Martinez, Anderson Ayala, Alreta Taylor, Teresa Davidson.

District 138: Maria Pereira, Michelle Fox, Angel Figueroa, Eric Stewart-Alicea, Helen Losak, Andrea White, Dolores Fonseca, Rafael Fonseca Jr., Chris Roy Allen.

District 139: Ralph Ford, Charlie Coviello, James Holloway, Ernie Newton, Clem Young, Willeen Gibson, Keith Williams, Eneida Martinez, Barbara Pouchet.

Party officers: Town Chairman Mario Testa, Secretary Johanna Dorgan, Treasurer Maria Heller, Vice Chair Elaine Pivirotto, Vice Chair James Holloway, Vice Chair Aidee Nieves, Sergeant At Arms Anthony Paoletto, Sergeant of Arms Wanda Geter Pataky, Sergeant At Arms Steve Nelson.



  1. No surprise here and why should there be, white males have ALWAYS been in power in Bridgeport and they have no plans of giving up that power and in fact they don’t even want to share power. Mario Testa is good at balancing the 90 member DTC by sex and race, there will be 45 whites, 23 blacks and 22 Hispanics and the leadership will always a white female as the Secretary and Treasurer and the Vice Chairs having a white female, a black male and a Hispanic. Those who make the key decisions inside the DTC and in Mayor Ganim’s administration are white males. During my six years on the DTC and 1 year as one of the three vice-chairs I bitched, moaned and complained to Mario about this but nothing. Blacks and Hispanics seem to be happy they are in the room and not at the table making the decisions and who put Joe Ganim over the top, black voters and their reward, thanks for the vote. So sad.

    1. Ron, maybe the answer is not enough blacks are on the ticket at election time. I do know in the 138th a mainly black group that was elected two years ago was replaced this time by mostly Hispanics and one white female. So it does happen. You talk about white and black positions and two of the top elected seats town clerk and city clerk are considered minority positions just like our state rep and state senator are considered black seats so Ron it runs both ways.

      1. Andy, I understand your point but when you have a mayor who has the power to appoint and to hire and still doesn’t have those in power reflect the makeup of the voters is wrong in fact it’s outrageous. Look how fast Joe Ganim has forgotten but this is nothing new, he did the same thing the first time he was mayor. I see why David Dunn has the mindset about the testing he has because Mayor Ganim doesn’t feel it’s a priority to appoint and hire women, blacks and Hispanics in position of power and I’m talking about putting people who are not highly qualified as the white males he has in position. These are actions Mayor Joe Ganim can do and is able to do but will he?

        1. It seems all these mayors Bucci included are macho assholes. They seem to be afraid of women with brains. I guess it could be because they have to go into the Democratic caucus room and sit in the special chair that sucks out their brains and their balls. I also noticed most male council people suffer from the same treatment.

          1. Andy, I’m so proud of you. It must be that you finally realized you’re married to one of the smartest, toughest women I know.

  2. Ron and Andy, you both make good observations. Over the years the political pattern dictated certain elected positions would be accepted as minority seats and that pattern has been perpetuated for decades. The price the minorities are paying for the acceptance of this practice is they have to be happy with what the white dominated hierarchy dictates or they may have to actually go out and take them on. Why not! Look at the numbers, the demographics, why do so many of my minority friends take the crumbs? Why hasn’t there been a black Council President since 1981, why hasn’t there been more minority individuals running for the position of Mayor, why don’t we have more minority and women department heads? Maria nailed it in her commentary about the Ganim campaign. Thirty-one years ago Ed Gomes gave me his support for Council President and I remained in that position until I decided to leave. My tenure was the longest in Bridgeport’s history and I owe that to minority support, both black and Hispanic. Some white council people, including at least one Mayor did their best to oust me, but the minorities prevented that. I was too independent and went where I felt I had to go. I hope to see that determination as we go forward in City politics. Roll the dice, there’s nothing to lose but an election, and take a page from my book, make sure you get right back up and go for it again.

    1. Lisa,
      You were a very big supporter of Joe. How has it been for you since the election as far as access, etc? I only ask because from reading all your comments, on this and other stories, you are experienced and dedicated to this city and this mayor. Also, unlike Maria, you do not seem to have the same scorched earth, blowing up bridges approach she has. So I was interested in your take. What has happened with Carolanne Curry, she had a big role for Joe too. They may have shut Maria out because of how she is personality wise, but if they did the same to respected women like you and Carolanne as well, then that is just further confirmation they are truly a boys’ club.

      1. Lifelong Bpt, I’m happy to answer your question. Since Joe was elected over four months ago I have had two brief conversations with him. The first one was three weeks after the election; he called to say hi, not thank you. The second was “hi, I heard you were in the Annex why didn’t you stop up?” That’s the extent of engagement since the election. I don’t feel I’ve been left out, because I never wanted to be let in. I supported Joe Ganim because I believed he was the most qualified candidate, I worked very hard for nine months, when I finished the day, I went home. No warm and fussy feelings, just fulfilling a commitment. I have no doubt if I had a reason to reach out to Joe he would be there. I’m a private citizen watching what I helped happen; if Joe takes a left turn in any way, I will be his loudest critic. For now I hope my hard work will prove to be beneficial to Bridgeport and all who live here. I know he has what it takes and this time he may show us. Thanks for asking.

        1. Lisa, thanks for the response and feedback. You seem to be a rare commodity in BPT politics, doing it for beliefs and without expectation of payback. I respect that. Thanks.

  3. Mario wins again!

    Every year the St. Patrick Day Parade Committee picks their unofficial St. Patrick’s Day Parade Mr. or Mrs. Leprechaun. But this year word got out and the committee’s little secret was exposed for the very first time. So most of the people who marched in the Parade had no clue they were marching as Mr. or Mrs. Leprechaun, most were happy just to wear the sash and suck down a few beers. The committee’s long-running joke was over! Thanks to Tom McCarthy, who no longer keeps any secrets?

    Caught with their pants down the committee had no choice but to open it up to the general public. Much to their surprise they had two good final entries (see photo above), Mayor Joe Ganim and Chairman of the DTC Mario Testa. So this year the St. Patrick Day Committee had no choice but to set in motion the very first St. Patrick Day official Mr. Leprechaun debate.

    The Committee opened with the first question for Mayor Ganim.

    Com: Mayor Ganim, what makes you think you’re qualified to be Mr. Leprechaun for 2016?

    MG: Because I feel I’m the Mayor of this beautiful City, and I can do more for this Committee than my opponent. I also have my own sash! (See photo above)

    Com: Mr. Testa, what makes you feel you’re qualified to be Mr. Leprechaun?

    MT: I feel I’m the chairman of the DTC. And half of you fluckers wouldn’t have a job or any of your relatives, if it weren’t for me!

    Com: Mayor Ganim, tell the committee something about your opponent that would disqualified him from being the 2016 St. Patrick Day Mr. Leprechaun.

    MG: First let me say this, he’s Italian! And he hates corned beef and cabbage. My opponent would never serve it in his restaurant, Testo’s, “I love Corned Beef with Irish soda bread!” Also he’s wearing Bill Finch’s old green derby, that alone should disqualified him!! (see photo above)

    Com: Mr. Testa, tell the committee something about your opponent that would disqualify him from being the 2016 Mr. Leprechaun.

    MT: He’s too tall to be Mr. Leprechaun, Joe’s 5’4″ I’m 5’2″, even wearing Bill Finch’s old derby I’m five-three!

    Com: Mr. Testa, is it true you hate Corned Beef and Cabbage?

    MT: I wouldn’t eat that shit if you hid it in a flucking calzone! Just remember this, it was an Italian who started this flucking St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the first place, and it should be an Italian who represents Mr. Leprechaun, after all it was St. Patrick who saved you flucking crazy micks from the snakes in Ireland in the first place! So how many of you flucking micks would come to an Italian parade? Let me tell you!! ZERO!!

    MG: Okay, okay Mario! You can be Mr. Leprechaun this year, as long as I’m Napoleon Bonaparte on Bastille Day!

    MT: Just on Bastille Day?? I had the impression you were Napoleon! Deal!

  4. Should we really be concerned about the gender gap? Are the men qualified? How many woman are supporting Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton? Enough said!

      1. Seriously, I did! Furthermore, the lack of women as district leaders is by their choice. Ganim and Testa can only manipulate so much. Woman can put a slate together and run a competitive campaign as well as politic to become district leader. It is not rocket science. Most people prefer to be followers.

        1. Steve, you are absolutely, absolutely right. I said the same thing when Lennie called me. No one can stop any woman from putting together a slate and trying to get on the TC. It takes work and time, but that’s the only way to increase the amount of women district leaders. In my opinion, most are either lazy or indifferent; it’s easier to be put on then work to become a member. That’s one area where only the women are to blame.

  5. Did anybody pay attention to the comment that Mighty Mouse made? And I quote, I feel I’m chairman of the DTC and half of you fluckers or your relatives wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me. While I was running for DTC in the 138th I came across a lot of different people in office and political positions who pretty much spoke about the corruption and how it needed to change so we can move forward and progress. As I walked into the room and humbly shook the hands of many, I was impressed with the variety and diversity of ethnic groups involved in the DTC nonetheless not knowing what was waiting. I didn’t go in there with the intention to win but I went in there to make a point, I would not stand or submit to corruption in politics. It wasn’t until the election I realized the same people who spoke so much about corruption in politics and how we needed to change were the same people there who were supporting Mario Testa (Mighty Mouse). And I couldn’t understand why in front of him they became weak, supporting part of the machine they so spoke about. But the same way he made his comment on this article is the same way I’m sure behind closed doors is the way he portrays himself, and is also the way he demands what he wants out of the DTC districts except mine, with the exeption of the Fonsecas who sold out.

    1. You know you have to get over this corruption thing. When the Feds arrested Ganim back in the ’90s, if they had anything on Mario they would have arrested him also. You don’t know Mario or anything about him other than what you read on this blog. I will tell you this, enjoy your rwo years on the TC because I don’t believe you will win a second term.
      Did you really think DTC members thought of you as a person against corruption? Really!! They saw you in the same light they see Maria.

      1. Andy, Andy, Andy,
        If you remember anything from the Ganim corruption probe it should be the rumor was the Feds offered Joe the opportunity to plead and a serious sentence reduction if he would give up Mario.
        Just because he didn’t take it doesn’t mean he didn’t have the goods on him.

  6. Andrew, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I see you’re getting defensive towards Testa, and for the record I do know about him and it’s not what I read here so already you’re talking without knowing. As far as I’m concerned you can go suck up to him as much as you want because it’s people like you, followers will just look to impress so you can get something out of it that really bothers me, and I said it before regarding comparing me to Maria but I guess you had to defend Daddy and find a way to get under my skin, well my skin is thick, and your little comment about me enjoying because I won’t come back, understand this, my community supports me, those are the people who put me in the position I am today it wasn’t you or your daddy Mario, or Ganim and that’s all I need and I will bet you I will be back, and you can take that to the bank, in the meantime have a Coke and a smile.

    1. Angel Figueroa, look, I don’t know you but I suggest again, you should slow down. Congratulation on getting elected to the DTC but don’t get too carried away with it. If you know of corruption with Mario Testa then you need to give that information to the FBI. The connection people make with you and Maria is you win in an election but then you go off track. Look, I’ve met Maria one time and that was only because Judge Carmen Lopez told me she wanted me to meet her at a Firebird cookout so I did only because of my respect for Judge Lopez. Maria knows what is going on as far as the BBOE but then she gets on OIB and she makes people not want to listen to her. Just a word to the wise, now you don’t have to pay attention to me but slow down.

      1. Ron,
        There’s an old saying appropriate here. Never wise up a chump. He isn’t going to listen to you, so I guess he’ll just have to learn the hard way.

  7. And Andrew in saying I won’t be elected for another term. Why, because I’m speaking about Testa? What are you getting for sticking up for him, did he give you a job too, or any of your relatives? Why, because I say it like it is because I don’t hold my tongue when it comes to them? Maybe there should be more like me to stand up and speak and say things the way they are and I’m going to tell you something Mr. Fardy, don’t undermine or underestimate the newcomer because I’m a lot more than what you think I am.

    1. Now you listen, you self-important shithead. You don’t know anything about Mario Testa, if you do let it out or is this just another attempt to throw bullshit against a fan? Mario is a friend of mine, he also is a combat veteran and that’s more than you can say. You don’t know shit about politics either. Did it ever dawn on you there were over 27 people running for nine spots? Funny how the totals never got published. Next time there won’t be 27-plus candidates, then we will see. BTW stop blowing smoke about how well-liked you are at Success. You don’t have that many friends over there. Another thing, the only city job I ever had was as a firefighter, a tested position from 1968 thru 1991. My one son had a job scraping walls in the sewer treatment facility.
      As far as underestimating you, I don’t really give a shit about you. I have seen your type come and go. Don’t flatter yourself, tough guy.

      1. I knew it wouldn’t be long before Angel went on the defensive. His skin is as thick as tissue paper because any word against his is taken as a personal attack. He is no debater. No leader. Just a troublemaker. He is gonna lose all support before his time is done and he will only have himself to blame.

  8. As far as I am concerned, Mario Testa is part of the problem and certainly not part of the solution towards good governance in the City of Bridgeport. His fingerprints on the Board of Education mess is more than enough to show he does not care about how our children are educated; he’s grooming one of his new superstars and that is his priority.

  9. Andrew, Andrew, control yourself, lol. And calling me a shithead isn’t getting you anywhere, lol. But I will say this, I also was a firefighter for 18 years started six years doing hook and ladder and ended doing search and rescue for 12 years, now it doesn’t bother me that you don’t agree with my comments on Daddy Testa and personally what I’ve heard about you I’m not impressed either, yes I agree I don’t know much about politics, but I know enough to know Testa is PART OF THE CORRUPTION PERIOD, and I’m not the only one who feels that way. Furthermore if you can’t take criticism on your Daddy Testa then get off the page and call Daddy and let him know I’m picking on him, and don’t worry I just earned you major brownie points with Testa, maybe you could be his newest waiter. Hey if you really behave I’ll meet you at the Dunkin Doughnuts around the corner from you and I’ll have a coffee and I’ll bring you a baby bottle, lol. And that’s right I am well-liked in Success and now that I know you don’t like it I’ll mention it more. Why don’t you become proactive in your community? OOPS, YOU CAN’T, MARIA WHIPPED YOUR @SS, LOL.

    1. No one who was on the job calls an aerial truck a hook and ladder. You sir are a phony and were never a firefighter. Mario is not my daddy any more than Maria is your MAMA. Now where is the corruption you have on Mario? Don’t have any, do you. You’d better start learning if you want to play in the big leagues, Boy.
      I never ran for office where Maria was involved, asshole. She violated the rules when my wife ran and is being investigated by the SS office. I was on TC for 16 years, you won’t be doing that.

  10. Mr. Frank Gyure I couldn’t agree more, our Education in Bridgeport rates on the top ten worst in the country. It pays for them to keep our children without the proper education keeping them in a less threatening position, so their children can control tomorrow, like they control Bridgeport today!

    1. Angel, your education assessment is pretty close. The kids being less educated results in being less of a threat to the government. The results of this new way has already surfaced. Our next generation will be all trained through the national education system to be good compliant government. They will all be COMMON TO THE CORE. They will ALL have college degrees, they will all be working for minimum wage and they will all be dependents of the government in one way or another. What supports my theory? Go to any grammar school and see what is being taught in Civics and/or U.S. History.

  11. Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. What you call Aerial truck here elsewhere is a hook and ladder. I never had the privilege of serving in Connecticut, so you see Einstein it’s not correct to assume because you know what you are when you do, lol. Anyway McFardy that’s not the point, you get twisted over Testa, look at you, your blood pressure is off the roof, lol. Relax, I know this page is your life, but you should get out more, smell some flowers, get a hobby. We don’t have to curse to make a point now do we, and your calling moi a boy, is that your redneck Donald Trump following racial attack on me, sir? Lol, it’s okay, I forgive you, and my mama just passed last year, so keep my mama out of this. I’m entitled to say it like it is, if I feel Testa is a part of the governing here in Bridgeport, I’ll say it, PERIOD! People are scared to speak against him, why, because theirjobs will be taken from them, or their family’s job can be taken as well. Lol, and you want me to believe there’s NO CORUPTION on his part McFardy please, I just want to know why your so upset when I bring up Testa, HMMM, inquiring minds want to know? Hey, I’m actually at the Dunkin Donuts by you, c’mon down, I’ll buy you some doughnuts, lol.

  12. Angel, I don’t care where you are from, they did not call an aerial a hook and ladder. This is just another indication you want to have my credentials and want to be like me. I mentioned your mama after you called Mario my daddy.
    I get upset when people like you Angel, say you know Testa is corrupt and then when pressed about it you don’t know squat. I only have coffee with people I like and you are not one of them.
    Will it surprise you to know Mario had very little to do about who got a city job in the last eight years? Did you know John Stafstrom had more influence in that area? Of course you did not know that. Angel, give yourself a break and learn the facts. Angel, there are no hook and ladders in the fire service.

    1. Angel doesn’t know how to leave things alone. These are the tactics he used in Success. He started strong but slowly you see fewer people buy into his BS. He makes huge claims, 25 years a marine now 18 years a firefighter. Makes accusations with nothing to back them up and when called on them throws a temper tantrum and attacks.

  13. Don’t be so sensitive. You’ve got nothing to hide, right? I understand where your anger comes from. Now that I know about the years of abuse you endured I see why you lash out at everyone. I can understand why you are so angry and why you hide your past. You don’t have to lie, though. It’s become pretty obvious to everyone you have anger issues and you can’t handle criticism. I want you to know I have no hard feelings. I forgive you. God bless.

  14. My life, lol. Just to let you know I had a wonderful life, I don’t know where you get your info, but it’s okay I understand now. Superman has Lex Luther, Spiderman has Dr. Oct, Batman has the Joker and Angel has the mole man, lol. Okay now me being angry, lol. Where do you get this stuff, it’s priceless, and thank you for your blessings, God bless you back.

    1. I think you’ve got it all wrong. You’re the liar and accuser spreading false information to everyone. You are the definition of a bad guy. I don’t post anything unless I have the facts to back it up. It’s more like you’re a roach and I’m the Raid.

  15. Right off your Facebook page. Unless it was corruption that led me to a fake page belonging to Angel L Figueroa. I guess it was your evil twin. I can post the screen shot of it on Facebook since you obviously watch mine and my neighbor’s pages. You can’t say and post things that are untrue. It all catches up to you in the end.


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