NEW LONDON — With the Lt. Governor, members of the New London delegation and city council, and a former mayor of the city by his side, Mayor Michael Passero stood on the stage at the Social Bar & Kitchen Sunday afternoon to announce his run for a third term in office.
“I never really imagined being mayor, never imagined running for a third term, but I’m doing it for two reasons. Number one, because of everything we’ve accomplished, but most importantly, because of everything we still have to accomplish,” Passero told the applauding crowd.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz told the audience that if they had any doubts about Passero’s leadership, “all you have to do is take a look at all the construction – whether it’s the wind farms or State Pier, all the new housing, the brownfields that have been cleaned up.”
“The state of Connecticut has made record investments to the tune of 10s and 10s of millions of dollars in New London because we believe in the potential of the people and it’s because of your leadership and your advocacy, mayor,” said Bysiewicz.
She told the crowd that Passero calls her nearly every week and that he’s not shy about speaking truth to power.
“What I love about him, too, is you never have to wonder what’s on his mind. He’ll just say it, which saves time, but it makes him a very strong and effective leader for this great city,” she said.
Bysiewicz praised the work of the New London delegation members on the stage, including State Sen. Martha Marx, D-New London, State Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, and State Rep. Christine Conley, D- Groton, as well as Congressman Joe Courtney’s work in delivering two new submarines to Electric Boat and “more than $7 billion in federal funding.”
Marx told the audience that Passero is an example of the power of strong leadership.
“I think for the last eight years, it has been quite evident in New London that leadership matters. Michael has carried us over that almost finish line that we have all been dreaming of for so long. if you ever told all of us that they’d be building not one apartment building at market rate, but five, six seven, we all would have laughed at you, and it’s happening now,” she said, and quoted Passero’s 2023 campaign slogan, “New London. It’s happening!”
Nolan said that the New London community “is the best that it’s been for a long time,” and that Passero has pushed hard at the state level to make sure the city receives what it needs.
“I’m telling you Hartford always hears from him — if he’s not talking to us, he’s talking to the Governor. If he’s not talking to the Governor, he’s talking to the Lieutenant Governor,” Nolan said.
Other speakers included: Rep. Conley; Kevin Cavanaugh, former mayor of New London; Keith Brothers, President of the Conn. State Building and Construction Trades Council; Reona Dyess, City Council President; Elaine Maynard Adams, president of the city Board of Education; and Efraín Domínguez Jr., city councilor.
Passero also gave a shout-out to all of the former mayors in the crowd, including Jay Levin, Elizabeth Sabilia and Anthony Basilica, as well as the current mayor of Hartford, Luke Bronin.
After Passero thanked his family, staff and the citizens of the city, he pulled a sheet of paper from his blazer pocket and held it up.
“I brought a whole list with me, but I’m not gonna bore you. You can look around, you can see what’s been accomplished. We’ve come a long way. But you can also see the stuff we still haven’t finished,” he said.
Passero said the city has just broken ground for the new 62,000-square-foot community recreational center in Fort Trumbull.
“I’ve been mayor seven years, and we’re finally breaking ground but I’ve worked on that project for over 12 years,” he said.
Passero, a Democrat, was first elected as mayor in 2015, beating Republican Bill Vogel nearly 3 to 1. Passero previously worked as a labor lawyer and served three terms on the city council before running for mayor. He was reelected in 2019 with 54 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Marty Olsen and Green Party candidate Frida Berrigan.