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Consider Mr. Bonafonte

Hartford Council Lawyer could step in and do the job

The Hartford Courant

December 04, 2010

Hartford Republicans, thought by some to be on the political endangered species list, may be stirring to life. The city council asked the GOP town committee to suggest names of possible replacements for Republican councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson, who has taken an early retirement offer and is leaving at the end of the year.

The town committee has induced several top candidates to step forward. The one we urge the committee to advance and the council to seat is Steven J. Bonafonte.

Mr. Bonafonte, a lawyer at Travelers, would provide a connection to the business community in a year when business development and retention must be a top priority. (As evidenced by Thursday's news that ING was moving 150 employees out of Hartford's State House Square to Windsor the latest in a number of corporations leaving the city.)

Mayor Pedro Segarra and the council must engage the city's corporate leaders in helping remove barriers that inhibit commerce in the city. Mr. Bonafonte could play a key role here.

Also, the council needs someone who can get up to speed quickly on a plethora of issues. Mr. Bonafonte's record of service argues strongly for him. He has served on the Hartford Parking Authority, Redevelopment Agency, Human Relations Commission, Police Review Board and Metropolitan District Commission. Mr. Bonafante would focus on the serious issues of budget, economic development, education and public safety.

The half-dozen prospective candidates also include former councilman John O'Connell, a budget hawk, and lawyer Corey Brinson, an up-and-comer who made an unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination for state treasurer. The 21-member town committee will vote on the candidates and submit the names of the top three vote-getters to the council, said town chairman Michael McGarry.

City Democrats also must replace a member, Matthew Ritter, who was elected to the General Assembly. If the Democrats can field a candidate with Mr. Bonafonte's ability and qualifications (or, for that matter, Mr. Ritter's), the city will be well served.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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