Press Pool story
Bobby Berriault, a member of the Democratic Town Committee and a community activist, has announced that he is forming an exploratory committee to run for city office in New Britain.
“We as a city are facing serious challenges that our elected officials are ignoring,” said Berriault. “The New Britain Public School system is one of the worst funded and worst performing school systems in our state with a graduation rate of 63%. It is unacceptable that one out of three students enrolled in the New Britain Public School system does not graduate!”
An exploratory committee is a first step that is often used as part of forming a campaign for public office. A candidate forming an exploratory committee may raise money to explore running for office. An exploratory candidate must declare which election he or she seeks to run in, in this case the 2017 city elections, but does not need to determine which office he or she intends to seek. Offices up for election in 2017 include Mayor, Town Clerk, Tax Collector, City Council At-Large, City Council by district and Board of Education.
“6.2% of New Britain residents are currently unemployed which is a rate way above the state and national rates,” said Berriault. “Mayor Stewart raised taxes by 16% which members of the Council rubber stamped without any real debate or public input, and this is causing businesses and homeowners to flee. For example, Stanley Works recently announced that they are moving 200 jobs out of New Britain to neighboring Southington in response to the historic tax increases which are the largest tax increases in our city’s history.”
Berriault added, “There are more homeless persons than ever before. Violent crime has increased so much so that New Britain residents statistically now have a 1 out of 33 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. Infrastructure is crumbling. There is so much corruption at City Hall with alderman and administration officials acting not in the best interests of the city, but in their own personal financial interests instead.”
Berriault currently represents registered Democrats in the 11th voting district, Democrats who vote at the Holmes School, on the Democratic Town Committee. He was an active organizer and leader in the campaign for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries for President, and he worked for the election of Sec. Hillary Clinton as President in the general election. He has been a leader in organizing protests against voter suppression in the city and against plans by Mayor Erin Stewart and City Council Republicans to sell the Patton Brook Well and strip mine city watershed land.
“People are struggling more than ever and we need a leader in City Hall who will stand up for what is right and who will always put people first before politics,” said Berriault. “I plan on knocking on thousands of doors and calling thousands of residents over the course of the next 11 months. I will be a leader who listens, and I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and opinions on what we need to do as a city to make New Britain a better place for us all!”
Bobby Berriault is a former Board member and former President of the New Britain Independent Newspaper, Inc., which publishes the New Britain Progressive.