Segarra Challenger Says Hartford Needs New Leadership

For a Yale Law School graduate, Rhodes Scholar and former adviser to Connecticut's governor, Luke Bronin certainly looked the part as he stood in front of Hartford City Hall to address his candidacy for Hartford mayor.

Dressed in a red-and-blue spotted tie and a light blue suit, Bronin laid out part of his vision for Hartford in an interview Thursday afternoon.

“We need a city hall that works better," Bronin said with a firm but quiet tone. "We need city government that’s more responsive, that’s held accountable and that’s a little more focused on getting things done.”

Bronin is the first official challenger to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, who announced last week that he would seek a re-election.

Just last month, Bronin ended his tenure with Gov. Dannel Malloy's administration, where he served as chief legal adviser, opting to become a partner in a Hartford law firm instead.

Bronin said he wouldn't be a micro-manager in any sense, but added that he thinks Hartford needs a mayor who will be very hands-on in making sure things get done properly.

"I would have every intention of assembling a team that’s trustworthy, that works hard every single day, and I would hold their feet to the fire," he said. "And if things aren’t moving fast enough, they will be held accountable.”

Bronin used the development of a $60-million minor league baseball stadium as an example of a project that hasn't gone as smoothly as it should have.

"I would have handled the project differently. It's going better now, and that credit goes to Shawn Wooden and the city council," he said. "Hartford has to make sure it's getting what it's supposed to get."

“We need to make sure that we don’t end up with another situation like we had at Adriaen’s Landing, where there was a convention center built, with so much other land that remained vacant for so many years,” Bronin added.

The candidate also has plans to improve education. He said that while some schools like magnet and charter facilities have being doing better than in the past, a "two-tiered system" remains in place and the city has to focus on investing in neighborhood schools.

Hartford's voting population consists of predominantly minorities, and Bronin, who is white, said he has faith in Hartford voters and believes they're in favor of fresh and innovative ideas, not just someone who looks like them.

“I think one of the beautiful things about this city is that it is a culturally diverse, ethnically diverse city, and I think the people of Hartford are going to vote for the next mayor of this city who can fulfill the promise this city holds,” Bronin said.

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