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Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim touts economic growth during election year

Eddy Martinez
Connecticut Public
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim was met with a mixed response after delivering his State of the City address, May 31, 2023.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim delivered the annual State of the City address Wednesday. Ganim painted a rosy picture of the city’s economic future and said the city is doing better than ever.

“I am proud to report today that the state of our city is strong, that Bridgeport continues to experience a resurgence and that Bridgeport’s best days are yet to come,” Ganim said.

Ganim listed the city’s economic progress in front of members of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC).

The city’s economic rebound has been guided by three pillars according to Ganim: growth and development, better quality of life and financial stability.

He mentioned several projects including Windward Commons and the Sound on Sound Music Festival, which started last year. The city is doing so well, Fitch and Moody's raised the city’s bond rating last year, the first instance of its kind in a decade.

While Ganim’s address was greeted with applause from business owners and developers, not everyone was pleased.

Callie Heilmann, the co-director of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, a nonprofit civic engagement organization, said the state of the city isn’t all that great.

“He doubled down on his vision and strategy that has been clear since he came back in 2015, which is to use the power of his office to benefit himself and a select group of friends and cronies,” Heilmann said.

Heilmann listed several issues, from what she characterized as a lack of funding for the city’s schools keeping pace with inflation, to high turnover within Ganim’s administration, and the city’s blocking of affordable housing at Steele Point.

Ganim said during his speech the city is working with state lawmakers to increase education funding and is taking a step further.

“For the first time, we're looking to invest in the post secondary education of our Bridgeport students by creating a merit college scholarship program called Bridgeport Promise,” Ganim said.

Ganim is now facing off against several primary challengers, including incumbent State Senator Marilyn Moore, his former aide John Gomes and Lamond Daniels. Bridgeport Generation Now is expected to endorse a mayoral candidate this Saturday.

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