Hartford's Republican mayoral candidate says it's a shame his best-known name isn't on the ballot.
"If I could put `Pastor Stan' on the ballot, I'd win hands down," said J. Stan McCauley, who started an evangelical church here years ago. "But I can't. That's not my name."
McCauley is a self-described "talkaholic" who for 20 years has held a live, nightly, "long-form," public-access talk show. Each year, there are roughly 240 episodes of "Pastor Stan" and Light Source Victory Television, which can trace its roots to the church he founded.
And now McCauley wants to be mayor. He's one of five people challenging incumbent Mayor Eddie A. Perez.
Because he says that while Perez brought power to city hall when city hall needed it, now it needs something different.
"Eddie brought power to the mayor's office, but he's not brought leadership to the office," McCauley said. "I know how to lead and inspire. And that's what Hartford does not have. Leadership."
Plus, McCauley said, Perez has passed his prime.
"His drug of choice is power," McCauley said, "and he's OD'd on it."
McCauley, 47, a native of Hilltown, Pa., has worked for 20 years at Hartford Public Access Television - seven years as its executive director - and is on unpaid leave since September while running for mayor. He was endorsed by the party and leads its slate of candidates.
This is his first time seeking public office. He has three children from a first marriage and has since remarried.
McCauley is a man to whom words come easily, like the ones he uses to describe Perez and decades of Democrat-controlled city politics. "It's dysfunctional, and it's a machine. A machine that's broken," he said.
Or like the ones he uses to describe his approach to budget management.
"You don't spend what you don't have, you live within your means, and you hold people accountable for what they get," he said.
Or the ones he uses to chastise Perez's decision to hire a city friend and contractor to do $20,000 worth of work at his home, work that is under state criminal investigation.
"He knows it's not a mistake," McCauley said. "It's wrong. Period."
He's not raising a lot of money - just under $3,000 so far - nor is he trying to. Instead, McCauley wants to get his votes retail, hoping to ride the path to victory atop his bicycle, meeting the more than 4,000 voters he says he'll get to beat Perez and the rest of the field. To meet folks, he pedals to all sections of the city, talking to people he sees.
On the issues, McCauley is direct. First, the city needs economic development, from which other progress flows. And it's not getting it, he said.
"I don't think Eddie's done anything for economic development," he said. "At best, he's a real estate agent leasing out empty space downtown."
On education, the problem is one of focus, he said.
"We don't give them a good product," McCauley said. "Hartford public schools do everything but teach. It feeds kids, psychoanalyzes kids, gives kids birth control, physical exams. But it doesn't educate them."
Much of the rest is about leadership, he said. And motivation, which, as far as this campaign goes, came to him in the middle of the night.
"It was a Sunday morning in late January, I woke up at 4 a.m., and had one of those epiphany moments," McCauley said. "Either do something about the problem, or don't ever talk about it again."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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