He said that his administration has dealt effectively with fiscal and policy challenges the city was facing when he took office, including flat funding of education, an undermanned police force, insufficient street repairs and an indifference to blight problems in neighborhoods.
On economic development O’Brien cited progress in creating a favorable climate for job growth. Polamer Precision, an aerospace manufacturer, is constructing a new “lean manufacturing” plant in the Pinnacle Business Park at Osgood Avenue and Alton Brooks Way in a decision announced in May 2012. The former public housing site has additional parcels for attracting new industry. For years O’Brien has called for restoring manufacturing jobs to the “hardware city.” He told the Town Committee that a key to economic growth is helping working people get the training and support they will need to move into high-tech jobs that Polamer and other employers offer.
O’Brien’s agenda and that of Council Democrats is to take advantage of transit-oriented projects that will emerge in the next two years as the state’s rapid transit system –CT Fastraks — between New Britain and Hartford comes on line.
In his first budget and again this year O’Brien increased school funding, reversing past city administrations’ stances of giving education the least amount possible under the law. “There is nothing more important than investments in education,” said O’Brien. “My administration and Democrats have done that.”
O’Brien also pledged support for festivals such as “Little Poland” Day that make the city a destination, showcase the city’s cultural and ethnic diversity and build optimism for the city’s future.
“We are doing the things that are necessary to have a good quality of life for all residents,” O’Brien said, stressing the importance of going out there, talking to voters and listening to their concerns in his campaign for re-election.
The Democratic Endorsed Slate
Joining O’Brien for election to city office are longtime Alderman Larry Hermanowski for Town and City Clerk, former Ward 1 Alderman Greg Gerratana for Tax Collector and Teresa Sapieha-Yanchak for Treasurer.
Endorsed for Alderman at Large were five incumbents Suzanne Bielinski, Rhasheen Brown, David DeFronzo, Eva Magnuszewski and Mike Trueworthy. For Ward aldermanic seats Democrats chose Matt Dabrowski and Sharon Rodrigue-Baretta in Ward 1; Tonilynn Collins and Adam Platosz in Ward 2; Shirley Black and Manny Sanchez in Ward 3; Atty. Adrian Baron and Tobias Freeman in Ward 4 and Carlo Carlozzi, Jr. and Roy Centeno in Ward 5.
The Board of Education endorsed candidates include Board President Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, Judith Greco and newcomer Daisy Sanchez.
For Board of Assessment Appeal DTC member Mario Santos and newcomer Hunter Mathena were selected. Endorsed for Constable were Plummer Carroll, Rose Samuel-Hodge, Peter Spano and Asiana Walton.
DTC Chair John McNamara praised the work of the nominations committee who included Isabelita Cancel, Peter Kochol, Susan McKinley and Emma Pierce. “The 11 women and 17 men endorsed by the DTC reflect the city’s diversity. Their perspectives and experiences as retirees, neighborhood and union activists, business professionals and educators will give the city the leadership it needs over the next two years.”
DTC Recommends Nicole Rodriguez For BOE Vacancy
Nicole Rodriguez, a high school graduation specialist in the Hartford School system and parent, is the choice of the Democratic Town Committee to fill the seat left vacant by Dr. Nicole Sanders who recently resigned from the Board of Education.
Ms. Rodriguez, who holds a master’s degree in school counseling, volunteers as Alton F. Brooks Youth Basketball Commissioner and coach. She also coaches for the CT Heat AAU Girls Basketball Club. She serves on the board of directors of the New Britain-Berlin YMCA and was a recipient of WMCA’s Ron Brooks Youth Development Award.
Rodriguez was among five candidates seeking endorsement for three BOE seats up for election this year. In seeking a board seat she told the DTC of her interest in being a member of the Board of Education: I am a stakeholder, educator and I am committed to quality education. As a parent and educator I am concerned and determined that our children receive the best education possible. I have over 12 years’ experience as an educator. Many of them include working to reduce the dropout rate for at risk students.
If appointed by the New Britain Common Council, Rodriguez will serve for the remainder of a term that ends in 2015. The appointment could come at the August meeting of the Common Council.
Access For All: New Britain Will Celebrate 23rd Anniversary of ADA Wednesday, July 24th
New Britain will observe the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — on Wednesday, July 24th, with a “Walk and Roll” event around Walnut Hill Park beginning a 5:30 p.m.
Persons who rely on wheel chairs and scooters to get around will participate to celebrate the civil rights law that “prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”
The ADA became law in July 1990 with adoption of legislation sponsored by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. In 2010, on the 20th anniversary of the ADA, Harkin said:
“The Americans with Disabilities Act — signed into law on July 26, 1990 — has been described as the Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities. It sets four goals for people with disabilities: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. But at its heart, the ADA is simple. In the words of one activist, this landmark law is about securing for people with disabilities the most fundamental of rights: “the right to live in the world.” It ensures they can go places and do things that other Americans take for granted. I will always remember a young Iowan named Danette Crawford. In 1990, she was just 14. She used a wheelchair and lived with great pain. But she campaigned hard for the ADA. When I told her that the ADA would mean better educational opportunities and prevent workplace discrimination, Danette said: “Those things are very important. But, you know, what I really want to do is just be able to go out and buy a pair of shoes like anybody else.”
The ADA will be an enduring part of Senator Harkin’s legacy. He will not be seeking re-election in 2014.
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