Robert J. Jackson; Key Hartford Democrat: Dies At 66
By STEVEN GOODE
August 18, 2011
Robert J. "Bob" Jackson, a longtime city Democratic political strategist who helped Mike Peters win his race for mayor, died Sunday at his home in Bloomfield. He was 66.
Jackson, who lost a Democratic primary to Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry in 1991, became the Democratic town chairman in 1993 after serving as treasurer for Peters' surprisingly successful mayoral campaign.
Born and raised in Alabama, Jackson marched during the civil rights protests in the South and served in Vietnam in the U.S. Army. After returning, a chance visit to Hartford to see a friend led Jackson to settle there and begin a lengthy career as a manager at Pratt & Whitney.
Jackson entered Hartford politics in the 1980s. In a 1997 interview with The Courant, Jackson, who lived in the North End, remembered initially not speaking to Peters, who lived in the South End, at town committee meetings.
"Once we sat down and started talking about the city, then we realized we had more things in common than we had against us," Jackson said at the time.
John Bazzano, who served as Peters' chief of staff before spending four years on the city council, said Tuesday that Jackson was instrumental in getting Peters elected and served the city well as town chairman.
"As the chairman he was very highly respected and very fair," said Bazzano, now Hartford's city clerk. "He was able to bring leadership and vision to the city at a time when it really needed it."
Jackson received harsh criticism from some for supporting Peters, who was white, against Perry, who was black. But Bazzano said race didn't matter to Jackson.
"What you brought to the table was more important than the color of your skin," Bazzano said.
The funeral is Friday at noon at Union Baptist Church, 1921 Main St., Hartford.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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