At Large City Council Candidates Discuss Education, Economy and Water

Democrat Manny Sanchez.

Current Democratic Ald. Manny Sanchez (D-3) is joined by fellow Democrats, Eva Magnuszewski, Yvonne Muniz, Katie Breslin and Richard Reyes as the Democratic candidates for At-Large City Council members, facing Republican Desiree Costa and incumbent Republicans Tremell Collins (R-AL), Jim Sanders, Jr. (R-AL) and Daniel Davis (R-AL) and the Republican Council Leader Daniel Salerno (R-AL).

Five of the fifteen members of the City Council are elected citywide, and are referred to as “At-Large” Council members. Voters may vote for up to five At-Large Coucil candidates and top five are elected. Currently, all five At-Large seats are held by Republicans.

Democrat Eva Magnuszewski. Frank Gerratana photo.

Democrat Manny Sanchez is a two-term veteran Council member, currently representing Ward 3. This year, he is running for an At-Large City Council. He serves on the Planning, Zoning and Housing Committee and the Consolidated Subcommittee. He also serves as Council Liaison to the Board of Education, Civil Service Commission, Fair Rent Commission, Housing Authority, Municipal Development, and Board of Police Commissioners.

Sanchez strongly advocated against the sale of New Britain’s Patton Brook Well.  He and fellow Alderman Carlo Carlozzi fought against the plan on the Planning Zoning and Housing Committee. Though the Republican-dominated Council approved Republican Mayor Erin Stewart’s plan to sell the well, Sanchez continued to advocate against it until pubic pressure forced Republicans to black away from the plan.

Democrat Richard Reyes. Frank Gerratana photo.

Sanchez says he believes in working hard in his capacity on the Council. Saying he believes strongly that, “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person,” he says he believes it is important to study in advance, the substantive details of an issue before the Council and balance official reports with reports and opinions that constituents and peers bring to his attention.

Sanchez says that he is on guard against wasteful city expenditures, particularly those that can result in tax increases. He says that he argued against a 2017 proposed increase in water rates because he believed it was actually a disguised tax hike. He pointed out that other parts of the budget should have been reduced so the water rate increase would not have been necessary.

Democrat Yvonne Muniz. Frank Gerratana photo.

In running to represent the entire city as an At-Large Council member, Sanchez says that his priorities will likely focus on the city’s school system and a higher level of educational achievement and working to increase the city’s economic and commercial viability.

Speaking about Democratic Mayoral Candidate, Merrill Gay, Sanchez says, “I admire his temperament and his ability to work with all people.”

Former Ald. Eva Magnuszewski is running, once again, for a seat on the City Council. She had previously served as an Alderwoman for eight years.

Magnuszewski is running this year on a platform of creating growth in economic development, improving education and defending New Britain’s water supply. She says that she is very committed to protecting New Britain’s water sources, saying that while, “There are alternatives to heat and electricity, there is no alternative to water.”

Democrat Katie Breslin. Frank Gerratana photo.

A first generation Polish immigrant, Magnuszewski reads and speaks fluently in Polish. A political volunteer for 12 years, she first became involved with the New Britain Democrats during Democrat Jason Jakubowski’s campaign 2005 campaign for Mayor.

Magnuszewski is an Account Executive at a Bristol based manufacturing company where she recently celebrated working for 12 years. A Vegan, she is a passionate advocate for animal rights and regularly testifies at the State Capitol on animal legislation.

Republican Desiree Costa. Frank Gerratana photo.

Democrat Richard Reyes, a retired principal at Slade Middle School, says that he wants to put his financial and educational leadership acumen to work in helping to better advance and use city finances so that the city does not have to raise taxes, and perhaps even provide some tax relief.

Reyes says that he would like to bring his professional career as a middle school principal and his continuing interest in training and education to add a deep and useful knowledge base to the Council’s decision-making. He says that he would like to bring his skill at planning and adhering to budgets to help ensure personal and public accountability and a better return-on-investment for city taxpayers.

Republican Dan Davis

Reyes taught grades 5 to 12 during his 35-year career as an educator. He says that he wants to help achieve better outcomes for New Britain’s students, including meaningful job-training and apprenticeship experiences that will help young people pursue and succeed in good jobs that pay a living wage.

Reyes sees multiple priorities to address as Alderman-At-Large, including examining the tax increases implemented during the past four years. He believes that the city’s high taxes call for more honest reporting about spending, and more research into finding new sources of revenue. He also says that he plans to work for job creation for the city and its citizens, especially its young people.

Reyes serves as Chairman of the Education Committee of the New Britain Latino Coalition and as treasurer of the New Britain School Administrators Union Local 51. He says that he lives by his philosophy of giving back to the community, and says he is proud to be on the Democratic slate led by Merrill Gay, who he sees as a candidate of high integrity, demonstrating good judgment and a long record of successfully partnering with individual and groups to make New Britain’s future brighter and more secure.

Republican Danny Salerno. Frank Gerratana photo.

Reyes’ favorite quote from Abraham Lincoln’s regarding city leadership is that, “If you want to learn about a person’s character, give him or her power.”

Democrat Yvonne Muniz is running a platform focusing on education, after attending New Britain schools from elementary to high school and having her two daughters attend local schools as well.

Holding a Bachelor Degree in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Muniz has spent over 18 years working in the fields of Social work, Social Services, Mental Health Therapy and Educational Consulting. Currently serving as the DDS Transition Advisor for the State of Connecticut, and coming from humble roots of a single parent household with three siblings in New Britain, Muniz believes great success stories can come out of our city. She says that she believes her two daughters will be able to say the same.

Republican Tremell Collins

Muniz has been involved with the local Democratic Party and Town Committee, serving as an Associate of the Town Committee and working on campaigns including those of Merrill Gay and Terry Gerratana, and says that she, “feels honored to serve with loyal members all working on the same mission to provide the best advocacy for people’s rights.”

Democrat Katie Breslin says that she plans to work on the Council to prioritize education and create more business development in New Britain. She says that she wants to improve our city without making things tougher on the homeowners taxes. She says that she plans on, “Reforming the tax structure of the city so that costs do not overwhelmingly get shifted to taxpayers.”

Republican James Sanders, Jr.

Breslin has been active on the New Britain Democratic Town Committee since 2009 and involved in state politics since 2007. She works as a Communications and Membership specialist at the CT Community Non-Profit Alliance. She graduated St. Joseph’s with a Bachelors of the Arts in Sociology and volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Editor’s Note: City Republicans were asked for candidate profiles on their candidates and did not respond by the publication of this article.