Eyes Starting To Turn toward 2011 mayoral campaign
By Jeff Cohen
March 14, 2011
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra gave his state of the city speech Monday night.
A year ago, then Mayor Eddie Perez was preparing for a corruption trial as he described the city this way:
“We have come far. We have far to go.”
It’s been eight months since Perez resigned his office, and eight months since Pedro Segarra took his place. In a speech that began with Mahatma Ghandi and ended with Mother Teresa, Segarra jumped from public safety to parks, education to the budget, jobs to the arts to development.
But it’s hard to think about Segarra and not think about what came before him. Segarra didn’t have to name Perez to refer to him.
“With your help, my mission is to restore faith in government. To revitalize our community’s commitment to progress. To achieve this, we must change the way that things have traditionally been done in this city. We cannot – I repeat – we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past.”
The mayor caused a stir and was criticized a couple of weeks ago for asking the board of education to halt its selection process for a new school superintendent. His concern, he said, was process and transparency. The board did not heed his request and picked a new superintendent anyway. Last night, Segarra seemed to wish her well.
"The board of education reports three straight years of improved test scores. I welcome the new superintendent, Dr. Christina Kishimoto, and the new board of education chairman, David MacDonald."
At the end of the speech, Segarra said that Hartford is doing better than it was when he became mayor.
“The state of the City of Hartford has been lifted during my tenure, and with perseverance, we can reach new and greater heights. God bless you, god bless the city of Hartford, and thank you so much.”
Edwin Vargas was at city hall for the speech. The longtime teacher and teachers union representative running against Segarra in the 2011 race for mayor and had good words for Segarra’s speech, saying he hit on most of the relevant issues. His main criticism?
“I’m not sure that he’s provided the level of leadership that will address these issues over the long term. I think we need somebody much more dynamic and much more in contact with our grass roots neighborhoods.”
The city’s Democrats will choose their nominee for mayor this summer.