February 24, 2007
By DANIEL E. GOREN, Courant Staff Writer
Thirman L. Milner, who served as the city's first black mayor more than two decades ago, has filed papers with the city clerk to explore a run for his old title.
Milner, now 73, is still deciding whether he wants to enter the mayoral election in November as an independent and said he will not make a final choice until after the Democratic primary in September. That primary is expected to have a crowded field, including incumbent Eddie A. Perez.
"I'm just greatly concerned about my city," Milner said Friday. "I'm going to watch closely the candidates, watch closely the issues, and make a decision as it gets closer to November whether I will run or not."
Milner, an iconic figure for the city's black community, was a former state representative, state senator and the city's mayor from 1981 to 1987, long before the city adopted a new strong-mayor charter.
Throwing his name into the 2007 race marks the second time Milner has attempted to re-enter city politics since he left city hall. Milner initiated a similar independent run against Perez in 2003, but held back by concerns over his age and health, he dropped out of the race.
Milner filed papers with the city Thursday to form an exploratory committee, he said.
In a press release that explained his reasons for considering entering the race, Milner said a large number of city residents "are being left behind." While the city's downtown begins to show improvements, "many of our surrounding neighborhoods and public schools continue to decline," he said.
"Hartford must put its residents first," Milner said. "Hartford is a small city, but a city divided."
Milner, a registered Democrat, said he would not participate in the Democratic primary.
Several Democratic candidates have already filed papers to register as a candidate in the 2007 mayoral election, including Perez. Also in the Democratic field are former state Sen. Frank Barrows, state Rep. Art Feltman, former Deputy Mayor I. Charles Mathews and state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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