Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates chased the Latino and Hispanic vote again Tuesday in a debate organized by the Latino and Puerto Rican Toastmasters Club. Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy touted Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez’s endorsement, and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano bragged about the number of Latino’s and Hispanics he’s hired to work in his administration and throughout the city.
“I don’t have to talk about other people because I can talk about what I’ve done,” DeStefano said Tuesday. He referenced the bilingual and dual language programs in New Haven schools. While on the topic of early childhood education, Malloy boasted he recently increased the funding for youth job programs in his city’s recent budget. In response DeStefano said New Haven “can’t say it’s a city of financial privilege,” like his opponent. DeStefano said the success of his administration has been the result of a team of people who “deeply care about New Haven.” To which Malloy replied, “it’s not the size of the problem we face, but our ability to solve it.” “I don’t bemoan people of poverty,” Malloy said. “I bring them together.“In his closing remarks, DeStefano asked the crowd to “Judge people for what they’ve done and not for what they say.“Latino and Hispanic residents represent 10.5 percent of the state’s population and both DeStefano and Malloy have tried to woo them. But the support of the candidates is divided. A group called “Amigos de DeStefano” has formed to support the Elm City mayor. While the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus have united behind, Malloy, in response to DeStefano supporting a white candidate against a Latino incumbent for New Haven Board of Aldermen president. Click here and read more about the political payback.The organizers of Tuesday’s event said Gov. M. Jodi Rell declined an invitation to the debate, but accepted an invitation to another one once Democrats decide which one will face her in the November election.