In Hartford Relationships Matter To Bolster Municipal Budget

It used to be Bridgeport’s state legislative delegation was looked upon with cringe-worthy laughter.

Why do you people keep electing chuckleheads? is a paraphrase of how leadership in Hartford looked upon locally elected lawmakers.

Not anymore.

Bridgeport’s nine-member delegation is the largest in Connecticut. But the quality of decision makers sent to Hartford following Wednesday’s legislative session conclusion is showing tangible evidence of how relationships matter with people in power

For example State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, House chair of the lawmaking Judiciary Committee, who holds sway over courts, gun control reforms, judicial nominations.

Others have also built prestige with House Speaker Matt Ritter.

Chris Rosario, Antonio Felipe, Andre Baker, Fred Gee, Marcus Brown and Cristin McCarthy Vahey round out the House configuration.

As a unit the delegation jawboned an extra $17 million in state dough to help keep the local tax rate steady, boost education spending, wrangle $15 million to modernize the city’s 10,000-seat arena that will help keep the Bridgeport Islanders hockey team the anchor tenant.

Crafting local municipal budgets for any mayor is a leap of faith because the city’s budget process is finalized prior to the state financial conclusion. Sometimes breath-holding numbers are plugged in hoping the state support fills the gap.

The windfall gives Mayor Joe Ganim in an election year and city bean counters breathing room against the alternative budget gap.

“In my entire time in the legislature, this is one of the best budgets we put forward for Bridgeport,” says Rosario, who has served for nearly 10 years.

The delegation serves as a bridge between City Hall and the state capitol so communication between the delegation and mayor’s office to prioritize needs is also key, adds Felipe.







  1. Is it your opinion that the CT legislature has had a negative opinion on the whole about the elected legislative delegation from Bridgeport, Lennie? And what, again in your opinion, is it about this delegation that has stopped the chuckling?
    Could problems of getting money for the benefit of residents for education, housing, youth programs, etc. in the past more dependent on impressions of what happens to funds without full outcomes after the bacon gets to the kitchen? Has City process changed?
    When a feel good article like this is presented to the public, is it an accident that details are missing at this time, and may account for an underwhelming reader response? A pledge by you to report all the details of the funding, with specific directions as to which budgets in the City will be enhanced, and the expected outcomes would increase the journalistic creds of OIB, and also responses? Time will tell.

  2. Two winners:
    Bridgeport’s state delegation grabs beaucoup bucks from Hartford, putting dollars where needed most.
    Can’t get too much of that!
    Yesterday, Lennie spent time on WICC and The Lisa Wexler.Show. He corrected a wayward voter in a way that showed his own mastery of communications. He lit up their phone bank.
    I would’ve called-in but I was on my way to a meeting. .


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