U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman celebrated his own heritage in his remarks commemorating June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month Friday at Hartford City Hall. Lieberman said his parents taught him that to be “a good American,” you don’t have to lose what makes you diverse because in America it’s out of that diversity “America gains its greatest strength.”

He then recalled his run for vice-president in 2000, which made him the first Jewish-American on a presidential ticket. “Every time a barrier falls for one group in this country it opens doors for other groups,” he said. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-California, introduced the legislation and President George Bush signed it earlier this month. Lieberman said told the crowd gathered at City Hall Friday that he was proud to be one of the original co-sponsors of the legislation. “We’re all Caribbean-Americans,” Lieberman said recalling former President John F. Kennedy’s speech in Germany, in which he said in German “I am a Berliner.” Dr. Harold Robertson, Consul General of Trinidad and Tobago, said the Caribbean people collaborated with the United States “even before the United States was the United States.” He said it was the wealth of the Caribbean that helped fund the American Revolution. While Trinity College Professor Millia Riggio noted that power does not depend on size. She said although small in size the 13 Caribbean islands play a large role in the global market and have some of the healthiest economies in the world. Will Joe Run As An Independent?Although the press conference was newsworthy on its own, it was also newsworthy because it was the first public opportunity the press had to ask Lieberman about Thursday’s Quinnipiac University poll which showed his challenger, Ned Lamont, closing the gap. Lieberman said he was not surprised that Lamont had narrowed the gap. The poll showed Lieberman ahead of Lamont 55 to 40 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, including undecided voters who are leaning towards a candidate. Among all Democrats, Lieberman leads 57 to 32 percent, compared to 65 to 19 percent in it’s May 2 poll.  While Lieberman has hinted at a run Independent of the Democratic Party in the past, this Friday he remained confident that he would beat Lamont in an August primary. “I’m focused on the Democratic primary August 8th,” Lieberman said. “The race is getting closer as I always thought it would.” He said he’s running on his record and believes it will beat the “one-issue, negative campaign” antics of his opponent.