Why Steve Stafstrom Is More Focused Than Joe Ganim–Priorities

Steve Stafstrom
Steve Stafstrom took the time to explain why, Joe Ganim did not.

The first thing Mayor Joe Ganim should have done at the end of the state legislative session is explain what it means to the state’s largest city. How did the city benefit, if any? If it did not benefit explain why? Nope, Joe just assumed everyone will figure it out, right? That’s not how it works. Always market your product, is how it works. And stay focused. Don’t mail it in. Considering the financial madness in Hartford, the city came out okay, maybe because of Joe, maybe because of the city’s legislative delegation or a combination of both. Either way, communicate to the people who put you in office. Or is Joe more focused on his next plane ticket overseas?

Here’s what State Rep. Steve Stafstrom shared that Ganim is too preoccupied to do:

Last week, the General Assembly’s regular session came to a close, and many bills now await the governor’s signature. I’d like to highlight a few of the bills the Bridgeport legislative delegation worked on together that passed that will have a positive impact on the city and its residents:

Refinancing some of the city’s debt
Bridgeport’s high property taxes are driven in large measure by its debt obligations. This year, we passed legislation allowing the city to restructure a portion of its unfunded pension liabilities, saving Bridgeport taxpayers an estimated $2.8 million per year–the rough equivalent of half a mil in taxes. This savings is achieved by borrowing at a lower interest rate, meaning the payoff schedule is not extended. Through this, taxpayers are estimated to save more than $70 million over the term of the payoff period. This is a small, but important step forward in improving the city’s fiscal health.

Recovering medical benefit payments
The city is also expected to achieve significant savings from legislation I helped write which will allow municipalities, like Bridgeport, with self-insured health plans to recover the cost of certain medical payments made to employees or their dependents in the event of a non-work related personal injury or wrongful death caused by a third party.

Becoming an entertainment destination
Bridgeport also stands to benefit from legislation that will create a statewide entertainment council that will work to secure more concerts and events at Webster Bank Arena and the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Related legislation will also make it more attractive for boxing and mixed-martial arts events to come to Connecticut. These large-scale events at the arena and ballpark will not only bring more visitors to Bridgeport and patrons to our shops and restaurants, but it will also help the city’s bottom line. Last year, we passed legislation that allows the city to collect a 5 percent service fee on all tickets sold at each venue.

Leading the renewable energy movement
Bridgeport is poised to become a national leader for the reuse of waste heat under legislation seeking to establish a pilot program in the city to test-drive thermal district heating technology. This pilot program will allow the city to build a Combined Heat and Power Plant that will support the Bridgeport Heating District. This cutting-edge technology is the most cost-effective way to heat cities while minimizing environmental impact. Providing cheaper, more reliable heat to downtown buildings allows Bridgeport a competitive advantage it can market in recruiting new development and jobs to our Central Business District.

Fostering transparency in law enforcement
At a time of increased sensitivity surrounding relations between law enforcement and communities, I am proud to have worked to pass legislation that will allow Bridgeport to tap into a $9 million reserve of state funding to for police cruisers. This legislation is intended to improve relations between law enforcement and communities by increasing transparency.

These are just a few of the bills we passed this session that I believe will make Bridgeport an even better place to live, work and raise a family.



  1. Not a single reference to what he has accomplished regarding our 21,199 public school students and the BPS.

    Sometimes what isn’t said is more important than what is said.

    1. I agree totally with Maria Pereira, Steve Stafstrom convenietly leaves out the name of the City’s Bond Council and how profitable the Refinancing of the debt will be for his uncle John. How about Fostering transparency in elected officials? Why are you and the rest of the gang unwilling to wear body cameras?

  2. Proud to have worked to pass legislation to tap into State reserves to buy body cameras for police. Spoken like a true democrat.

    Did Rep Stafstrom do anything to correct MERS pension calculation to exclude overtime earnings? No, democrats dared not bite the hand that feeds them.

  3. And Maria is so right. All this talk and the one area that can bring more money into Bridgeport is redefining state aid to education and not a single peep.
    I guess that’s on THEM

  4. A few other mindless thoughts…
    Speaking of transparencies, I am sure Mr. Stafstrom had no problem shepherding that bill on bonding through the legislative session and voting on it.
    Spoken like a true lawyer, recoveries from from legal actions based on medical malpractice.
    People are making way too much out of this MMA. How many show can we really be expected to host?
    And last but not least, where the hell is this $9,000,000 reserve? Nothing personal but the sate is trying to squeeze every last dime out of the taxpayers and yet we have a $9.000,000 reserve just for things like this.

  5. Lennie, Focus and Priorities….great words….good concepts for politicians….but shouldn’t we be “focusing on the priorities” as several OIB readers have alerted?? What’s the word on State money for education? What is our ‘fair share’ Steve? With the ‘hot air’ of politics that shows up in Hartford debates, aren’t the words of veterans with experience from Bridgeport worth anything for City youths?
    (Actually with the heat readings today, schools have early dismissal, even a new school with supposed air conditioning?)
    But aside from school funding, Steve Stafstrom shares the pension bonding as a high priority.
    I have sent Steve an email earlier today on that subject about which the Mayor is most enthusiastic. Multiple comments from the Mayor on how to save $2-3 Million per year by bonding rather than pay as you go funding. But a number of questions about pension developments in recent years with police and fire getting overtime credit and outside overtime employers blocked from additional contributions by negotiation of the Police union? If I do not have it correct 100%, am I close enough to cause indigestion when people discover that a big chunk of that $80 Million has been provided to us by DTC mayors, untransparent professionals in City financial and labor relations positions, and the public servants who gained a contract of immense value to them and expense to the City, though most live outside the City, leaving taxpayers with a bag that Mayor Ganim2 and State Rep Steve put in first place? Before education of City youth? Hope that my sentiments are merely misgivings from administrations with little Honest, Open, Accountable, and Transparent communication and governance. I can and will apologize if I have this one wrong. Time will tell.

  6. It is nice to see Bridgeport’s State Representatives actually working for Bridgeport. Thank you for taking action to lower the tax burden. That is more than can be said for the Mayor and the City Council.

    1. Michael,
      Thank you for weighing in with your applause for “lowering the tax burden”. The tax burden in question is the amount of $80 Million of pension obligation that grows each year that the pension plan assumption of 8% earnings goes unmet. So the idea is to borrow today at a low interest rate and repay the borrowed $80 Million plus more interest for 28 years. And then you call it a saving of $2.8 Million per year?? Now when Bridgeport pays the $80 Million to the State and the State does not get 8% earnings what is the position of our City? When the State earns more than 8% will we receive a dividend for putting up our required contribution in 2017? More info required? By the way is this the way that Ganim would solve the pension problems for the State of CT? Time will tell.

  7. My PC and OIB seem to have a major problem integrating. I try to post long and learned postings and I just get a spinning connection. I have a lot of questions. This article seems to have TWO parts. One is wrtten by Lennie Grimaldi. The second part seems to be one of many communications that Steve Stafstrom sends out to his constituents. Steve Stafstrom is not the only member of the Bridgeport GA representation. Why are we looking at one of Stafstom’s messages and not seeing all the other messages from the Bridgeport GA delegation.I will remind ALL OIB posters and journalists of the entire Bridgeport GA delegation. We have two State Senators; Marilyn Moore from the 22nd,Edwin Gomes from the 23rd. We also have the following in the State House of Representatives;Andre Baker(124th),Charles Stallworth(126th),Jack Hennessy(127th),Christopher Rosario(128th),Ezeqiuel Santiago(130th) There was no analysis about constituent communication from these other Bridgeport representatives.Why is that?????? Is Stafstrom communicating with his constituents and the others are not or did OIB just decide to focus on one communication from one of the EIGHT Representatives from Bridgeport? As to the issues of Stafstorm(or the other BPT reps)saying anything that state funding for BPT schools is sufficient, can anyone here provide documentation that Stafstrom and BPT REPS ever said that they felt that State of Connecticut support for the Bridgeport School System is sufficient and no more needs to be done. I will wait for any responses.


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