Torres Tapped As GOP Mayoral Candidate: ‘City Depleted By A Hungry, Ruthless Political Machine’

Rick Torres
Rick Torres, former Bridgeport GOP chair.

Rick Torres, the 2003 Republican candidate for mayor, was endorsed by the party Tuesday night to be the GOP mayoral candidate in November. Torres was also a candidate for Connecticut’s 4th District U.S. House seat last year.

Rick is conservative as Connecticut Republicans go, with a fiery verbal edge. Rick set off a firestorm within his own ranks when as Bridgeport GOP chair he endorsed Democrat Chris Caruso for mayor in 2007, saying he wanted to break the Democratic political machine’s grip on the city. In response, Bridgeport GOP officials removed Torres as party leader.

In 2003 Republicans were positioned to wage a competitive battle for the mayoralty as Joe Ganim’s resignation following his conviction on corruption charges became a flashpoint. City Council President John Fabrizi stepped in to fill out Ganim’s mayoralty in April and sought his own four-year term. Fabrizi survived a hard-fought six-way primary with State Rep. Chris Caruso finishing a close second. Fabrizi was the beneficiary of a large field that split the anti-establishment vote. As the general election progressed both Democratic and GOP polls showed the race close. Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, although not charged in the federal investigation, was seen as a lightning rod for what was wrong in the city. Testa had close relationships with both Ganim and Fabrizi and party operatives persuaded Mario to step down to take heat off Fabrizi who wanted to be seen as his own person.

Fabs won his own four-year term 11,816 to 8,255 for Torres. Fabs was tracking to seek another four years in 2007 when he walked into a courtroom in the spring of that year and asked for leniency on behalf of a sexual offender who was friends with his son. Voters went batshit and party regulars threw Fabs under the bus for Bill Finch who defeated Caruso in a close primary before an easy general election win.

Testa staged his comeback as Democratic party leader in 2008.

No matter who emerges as the Democratic candidate in November–Finch faces a primary challenge–Torres is not short on quotes. He’ll have plenty to say about the direction he’d take the city. He owns the popular Harborview Market in Black Rock. Torres’ acceptance speech:

It is my pleasure today to accept the Republican nomination for the position of mayor for the great city of Bridgeport, Connecticut. I consider it a great honor to be drafted to run by my fellow Republicans and I am honored that they have the confidence in me to run for this position.

I love Bridgeport. I have been in love with my city for fifty years. I have been an advocate for Bridgeport everywhere I have ever had the privilege to speak. Bridgeport is a part of my personality and am always proud to say I live in Bridgeport. But our city has been in a state of distress for over 30 years. In that time our city has gone from being a part of the answer in Connecticut to being its biggest problem.

Today, Bridgeport stands as the state’s orphan child–incapable of standing on her own two feet. Our city has been depleted of its strength by a hungry and ruthless political machine. This machine has callously siphoned off the incredible vitality of this once great city.

Bridgeport is stigmatized by a widely held perception that it is incapable of operating on its own–that it requires assistance from the state and federal government to exist. This defeatist outlook has converted a once great economic engine into the state’s largest panhandler. To add insult to injury our politicians are responsible for one of the worst school system in the state. Our future generation will not be prepared to help our city recover from the economic mess created by our leaders.

With this backdrop why would anyone want to be mayor? I want to be mayor because I recognize the relative ease with which we can change Bridgeport around. First we must exile the political machine. Secondly we must choose to go into recovery mode. This must consist of developing two tax rates: The first–20 mils–will be available to all new businesses and construction in the city. This new rate will ensure Bridgeport is competitive once again. The second rate (the existing rate about 40 mils) stays where it is, however every bit of reduction in spending and additional revenue that comes into the city from the first rate will be used exclusively to lower the existing rate of every taxpayer in the city. I predict–with good management–we can reduce the existing rate to 20 mils within five years.

This type of answer is an example of what our city needs. To stop the economic malaise that has spread across our city, we must have drastic change. We cannot allow another shade of the same color to simply redirect our city’s deterioration. We must turn things around. Now. Both the Federal and State governments are in jeopardy of default. The Democrat answers have been to increase dependency on both the Feds and the state. This is a losing proposition. Bridgeport must regain its economic strength and once again stand on her own two feet.

To this end Bridgeport will only spend what is absolutely necessary. We will institute a hiring freeze. We will look into management audits to make the city more efficient. We will no longer exploit our residents with the social experiments of the past. Every Bridgeporter will become a necessary cog in the wheel of our economic resurgence.



  1. I am amazed the Republicans didn’t do something spectacular–like cross over to support Foster. Torres? Just another retread we don’t need.

  2. Fabs won his own four-year term 11,816 to 8,255 for Torres. Looks like lots of people liked Torres when he was a new tire. Welcome to the race, Rick!

  3. Bullsh*t, Torres is the only person with intestinal fortitude to fight AND change the corrupt political culture that pervades the city. No deals. Just results.

  4. To all the people who cry out “Anyone but Finch” (and it seems like most of OIB), let’s just speculate Finch wins the nomination and the primary. The “Anyone but Finch” group now has a choice. Retread or another dummy, at least there is an option. Torres can’t be any worse than Finch. But I’m still liking Foster along with Gomes as her CAO.

  5. This guy tries to run for every office there is. If the Repubs were smart they would have endorsed either MJF or Gomes. Perhaps these two could have could have gotten the vote out.

  6. It just goes to show you what an empty shirt the Bridgeport Republican Party is. Torres crossed lines last time and supported Caruso. He was chastised by his party and banished. Now he is their fair-haired boy.

    In actuality, Rick Torres is the only Republican to ask the RTC for the nomination. Hence, a candidate.

    Just maybe … he will turn again and support Foster.

    It’s sad. Rick Torres is a nice guy who makes one hell of a double egg with bacon on a toasted Portuguese roll. But alas, he could run against himself and lose.

    1. Ron, I knew that. I was trying to learn more about CPAT, that’s all. I knew you knew a lot more about it than I do. I think what little I know shows me it places city residents at a disadvantage.

  7. Ron, I am going to go out on a limb and guess you feel the CPAT test is somehow discriminatory. Please enlighten us to how … on second thought don’t even bother. You are pathetic.

  8. Ron–please enlighten me as to how this test is discriminatory. It has become the standard all fire departments are using. It has been challenged on many levels and in each case the test was found to be fair. If we continue to keep lowering the bar to appease certain special-interest groups we just might trip over it! Perhaps the Firebirds would be better off helping some of the city resident candidates prepare for the CPAT. Give them a hand up not a handout.

  9. park city fan, once again, if CPAT is so great then why is it the entire Bridgeport Fire Department has never taken it and passed it? Perhaps you could also tell me why Hartford CT got rid of CPAT?

    park city fan, get your facts straight, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has entered a conciliation agreement with the IAFF to resolve a charge of discrimination brought against the IAFF in alleging that the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) discriminated against female candidates. Under this agreement, the EEOC will not take any further action against the IAFF with respect to the charge itself, and will not file a lawsuit against the IAFF based on any similar charge during the agreement’s five-year term.

  10. I have been unable thus far to find any backing science or scientific correlation to the task- and tool-specific drills the CPAT requires to be any more indicative of job success predictability than any other basic agility tests such as a single bench press or pushup or vertical jump or mile run.

    The standard police tests are a series of recognized physical tests in various forms that have a scientific/proven correlation to an accepted “essential function” of the job description. In essence based on recognized testing simple milestones in tests such as a vertical jump, single bench press, mile run, timed sit-ups, or even stretching to toes can predict the relative success the same candidate has in performing essential job functions such as dragging a victim, rushing to a vehicle accident, extracting a person from a vehicle, etc.

    In no instance has a police agility test required a candidate need to shoot a gun on target to prove their ability to continue to test for candidacy as shooting with accuracy should be a skill that is taught in training not required during a preliminary test and masked by a claim of needed fitness.

    There is no reason a Fire candidate should be required to complete skilled events with specific tools to simply prove they are physically fit to be considered a qualified candidate to be TAUGHT the skills of the job. The CPAT organizers have no science to back their claim this is the only and best indicator of future job success however statistics clearly show the same test has a disparate impact on minorities and women for a number of reasons.

  11. You, and people like you, represent all that is wrong with the fire service. You may have been an employee of the fire department but you were not a firefighter. You took full advantage of every benefit provided to you by the union and then, in a stunning display of stupidity, withdraw from the union. You have been, and continue to be, a divisive force and a detriment to the job. If you really care about this city and its residents, you should want the bar set as high as possible and encourage the city to try and attract the best candidates possible. This job isn’t a game. This job isn’t an entitlement program. Fire does NOT discriminate. It won’t burn any less hot or intense and it won’t behave any differently based on who is coming to fight it.
    Just curious … are you still watching a black and white television or are you actually capable of seeing other colors?

    1. park city fan, it’s obvious you canNOT answer anything I asked you, instead you hide behind a fake name and start using names. Tell you what, park city fan, be a real man and tell us all who you are or try answering the questions above, NOT.

  12. park city fan, perhaps you might take the word of a white female and a white male concerning CPAT.

    FDNY Lt. Brenda Berkman, an attorney and former president of the Women in the Fire Service board of directors, tracks women’s pass/fail statistics closely. Based on initial observations and analysis, Berkman offers three primary conclusions about CPAT and women candidates:
    · Women are passing CPAT in lower numbers than men, which may be evidence that CPAT has an adverse impact on women applicants.
    · The ICHIEFS and the IAFF are not monitoring test administrators from non-task force departments who are ignoring the CPAT document’s requirements regarding transportability studies, environmental conditions and restriction of the CPAT to entry-level applicants.
    · CPAT’s documentation does not sufficiently advocate pre-test programs, as there are no included model programs or best practices for pre-test training, specificity training and regular access to the actual test course before the test.

    Berkman says even the few administrations of the CPAT test so far seem to indicate an adverse effect on women. “The discrepancies in terms of pass rates vary tremendously,” Berkman says. “In some instances, up to 44% of the women taking the exam have passed the test. In other case, it’s much, much lower — one out of 10 was one department’s experience.”

    Dr. Paul C. DiVico is an occupational physiologist and the COO of Health Metrics Inc., one of several private companies offering CPAT some competition in the arena of job-based physical performance testing.

    “I think CPAT is an outstanding representation of the fundamental physical challenges a structural firefighter has to face,” DiVico says. “But I think it’s disappointing that its format isn’t significantly modifiable to reflect each agency’s unique demands. He believes that CPAT’s expense and logistics may make it burdensome for smaller agencies.

    The other primary argument DiVico has about CPAT is that it takes a one-size-fits-all approach and doesn’t require a department to gather data and create a test that addresses its particular missions. For example, CPAT doesn’t research average patient weight or differentiate between a city full of high-rises and a community where the tallest building is only three stories.

  13. park city fan, you are a joke. I take it you are in support of CPAT being use in Bridgeport, well give us something beside what you feel and give us some facts to support your position if you can. I take it you are employed by Bridgeport, so have you paid the $150 to take the CPAT exam and did you pass? Let’s say CPAT is great, I’m sure you will be pushing to have all of the current Bridgeport fire department employees to have to pass CPAT, right park city fan? Let’s bring this level of merit to ALL Bridgeport firefighters NOW.

  14. I’m not trying to start a FIREfight, but I do believe the Fire & Police Depts. should require physical agility tests. For initial qualifications & every 2-3 years to maintain good conditions of our emergency responders. Let’s be realistic here, some cops & firemen get winded walking to the outhouse. It is well documented hypertension and arterial disease often contribute adversely to their overall well being. I would also like to see mandatory yearly physicals. We should protect those who protect us.

  15. Antitesto, I am in agreement with your comment, I would change your timeframe but you are in the right area. There was nothing wrong with the physical agility test that was given to firefighters before, nothing. The City is not doing the mandatory yearly physicals for the firefighters with doctors. The fire department needs a wellness program. The question that needs to be asked is, are firefighters having trouble doing their job? If the answer is yes, then what is the City doing to correct that problem with the firefighters?


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