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Activist group says State Sen. Marylin Moore can 'Unrig Bridgeport' in mayoral bid against Joe Ganim

Wearing an "Unrig Bridgeport" t-shirt, State Senator Marilyn Moore speaks Saturday, June 03, 2023 in Bridgeport, Ct.
Eddy Martinez
Connecticut Public
Wearing an "Unrig Bridgeport" t-shirt, State Senator Marilyn Moore speaks Saturday, June 03, 2023 in Bridgeport, Ct.

A coalition of Bridgeport activists and political groups is banking State Senator Marilyn Moore will be successful in her second shot at beating Mayor Joe Ganim.

Moore ran unsuccessfully against Ganim after losing the Democratic primary for mayor in 2019.

Now, a coalition of grassroots organizations in the Park City called “Unrig Bridgeport” said Moore is the candidate to help them achieve their stated goal of fixing the city’s “broken democracy.” The group endorsed Moore on Saturday at the Broad Street Steps in a festive event complete with an all-women brass brand from New York.

Moore is doubling down on her previous campaign messaging that Ganim’s policies have not benefited working class people in the city.

Moore got the endorsement unanimously and has pledged to all parts of a so-called "People’s Platform" that would call for an end to nepotism, cronyism and would explore racial reparations.

Moore's campaign will soon get a boost from outreach efforts in an attempt to match Ganim’s fundraising advantage. She said increasing inclusivity in the mayor’s office is crucial.

“We live here, we care about Bridgeport, we're going to stand up for what we believe is right. And we're going to fight and take down that door, and we're going to walk in there,” Moore said.

The endorsement also comes with practical benefits. Moore can now rely on the canvassing efforts of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, which is focused on increasing voter turnout in the city.,

“We're going to be engaging thousands of Bridgeport voters throughout the summer, through things like door knocking, canvassing phone, banking, social media, digital ads, through text banking and emailing, as well as paid advertising, through billboards and digital ads,” said the group's co-director, Callie Gale Heilmann.

The organization hosts civic engagement workshops and Heilmann said she’s noticed more people are becoming politically engaged. As a result, she said most of the candidates have now issued public campaign platforms.

She credits that to her group’s grassroots pressure on candidates. The organization also released their so-called “People’s Platform” earlier this year, calling on candidates to reject political cronyism within the city.

Ganim previously served time in prison during the 2000s after being convicted on corruption charges. He later mounted an improbable comeback, being elected once again as mayor in 2015.

Ganim faced criticism due to the wealth he’s amassed over the years since He has also admitting to lying about a drug problem in an attempt to end his prison sentence early.

Heilmann previously criticized Ganim’s State of the City address and said his policies benefited the wealthy at the expense of poor and working class residents.

The platform has also called on the city, which is a majority-minority city, to enact a racial equity study and to explore racial reparations to Black residents.

Joe Ganim and fellow candidate Lamond Daniels did not complete the questionnaire and John Gomes completed the form. But Heilmann declined to state how much of the platform Gomes agreed to.

But Moore has pledged to all of it, Heilmann said.

The Greater Bridgeport NAACP is a member of Unrig Bridgeport. The regional NAACP president, Lesly Valbrun, spoke at the event and implored the crowd to help residents with voter registration.

“We want you to exercise your vote. If you know individuals who are unregistered to vote, today's the day to get them registered to vote,” Valbrun said. “If you want to see a change in the city, you exercise your voice.”

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