Four of the candidates vying for mayor of Hartford participated in a forum at NBC Connecticut Tuesday night.
Incumbent Democrat Mayor Luke Bronin, petitioning candidates Giselle “Gigi” Jacobs, Dr. Aaron Lewis, and Republican-endorsed candidate J. Stan McCauley each had a chance to talk about their positions on issues that impact the city.
The forum began at 7 p.m. and ran online and on air through 8 p.m. There was an additional live Q+A session streamed on NBCConnecticut.com and the NBC Connecticut app.
All the candidates came away with a positive outlook on their performance.
There were differences, but also some similarities in each candidate’s approach.
Everyone spoke in favor of community policing and is optimistic about the city’s future.
During the forum, Bronin touted his work over the last four years, including tackling the city’s financial woes and supporting community policing.
“We have focused on the diversity of our force because we know that a police force that better reflects the diversity of our city will serve it better and will be stronger at community policing,” he said.
McCauley had a different take on the work that needs to be done with the city’s police department.
“You have to have a culture that is how shall we say not as toxic as the current culture that we have in the Hartford police Department,” McCauley said.
Both McCauley and Jacobs stressed the importance of working with and listening to the community, with Jacobs saying there should be a residency requirement for teachers and police officers.
“We need to have police officers who are familiar with the community,” she said.
When it comes to education, Lewis describes it as the most important but most overlooked issue.
“Hartford school system is horrible. It's absolutely one of the worst in the country,” Lewis said. “The teachers are doing an amazing job but it's the hierarchy in our school system that's not causing our kids to go forward,” he added.
Regarding revitalization of downtown Hartford, Bronin spoke of creating residential developments to get more feet on the street.
McCauley talked about making the city a destination spot.
Lewis discussed a need to rebuild the middle class.
But when looking at the future of the city, everyone saw a vibrant and united community, with all four saying they’ll be the one to lead Hartford to it.
NBC CONNECTICUT PRESENTS “DECISION 2019: THE RACE FOR HARTFORD MAYOR” FORUM ON TUESDAY, OCT. 29