A Gomes Administration Threatens to Reverse Years of Progress

Mayor Joe Ganim stands outside Central High School in Bridgeport during the Democratic primary redo on Jan. 23, 2024 (CT Examiner).

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Last year, Bridgeport experienced more legislative victories in Hartford than it has in a long time. These victories included millions more in state aid, the largest increase in school funding in decades, $15 million in bonding for the Arena, a significant commitment of bonding money for flood-control projects, funding for a new Winthrop Elementary School, and much more. These successes were the result of Bridgeport voters sending the strongest state delegation to Hartford that we have seen in a long time, and the fact that the delegation fostered an extremely collaborative relationship with my administration to aggressively pursue the city’s legislative priorities. Together, we demonstrated an unprecedented level of unity and strength that earned the respect of our state’s leaders, and the people of Bridgeport saw great results.

So, would this positive momentum continue if John Gomes were elected Mayor? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Last week, John Gomes came up to the State Capitol for the opening day of the legislative session. On his social media pages, Gomes claimed that he was in Hartford to advocate for legislative reforms regarding elections. Yet, in his entire time at the Capitol, he didn’t engage a single member of the delegation on this issue or any other. Perhaps John Gomes’ avoidance of the Bridgeport delegation reflects his lack of tangible relationships with state officials and the fact that none of them support his campaign for Mayor.

More importantly, it is no secret that the almost nonexistent relationship between John Gomes and Governor Lamont has now been irreparably strained after Gomes’s campaign has blasted and criticized the Governor over and over again in press releases, news conferences, print publications, and social media. Then, in an act contradicting all of those criticisms, Gomes while at the Capitol wasted no time running up to ambush the Governor in the hallway for a surprise picture in front of the television cameras–a picture which Gomes later publicized on Facebook and in emails to supporters.

This flip-flop leaves us all wondering how Gomes really feels about the Governor and what the picture was meant to accomplish. Nevertheless, even a disingenuous attempt to cozy up at this point is too little, too late. And I should note that immediately following the picture, Gomes didn’t even have the courtesy to come into the House chamber to hear the Governor’s address.

Ultimately, while Gomes’s attacks on Governor Lamont might be politically convenient in the context of this campaign, it is short-sighted and ignores the realities of effective governing. While I have a great working relationship with the Governor that has yielded great results for you and the needs of our city, we can be assured that a Gomes administration will not fare as well.

And to make matters worse, in a move that has us all scratching our heads, John Gomes supported Republican candidate Jayme Stevenson over Democrat incumbent Jim Himes for U.S. Congress in the 2022 federal election just as he was launching his campaign for Mayor. It’s unclear whether this was an “I’ll help you if you help me” arrangement, or if Gomes genuinely prefers the Republican agenda in Congress.

Needless to say, this is a mortal sin for a supposed “Democrat” who wants to be Mayor of Connecticut’s largest city that won’t be easy to forgive and forget.

These are just a few examples of the bridges Gomes has burned recently. I could dedicate an entire op-ed on his lack of relationships with most members of the City Council, or the damage that was done when one of his chief surrogates Maria Pereira called Chief Porter a “Pig” and the honorable men and women of our police department “piglets.”

So, what will happen to Bridgeport under a Mayor John Gomes? Let’s be honest. A Gomes administration would set Bridgeport back big time after years of progress and would really weaken the city’s ability to get the state and federal investments that we need to get Bridgeport to the next level of development and economic prosperity. Under John Gomes, city hall would be on the outs with everyone.

Campaigns, by their nature, sometimes cause candidates to make some waves. Unfortunately, Gomes has chosen to make waves with the very people who have partnered with our administration to move Bridgeport forward. I am proud of the work that we have done to bring home resources to Bridgeport and build relationships with local, state, and federal leaders who truly care about Bridgeport residents and the future of our great city. Elections have consequences. Let’s keep the momentum going, because too much is at stake.