Violence, budget shortfall discussed during Hartford mayoral deb - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Violence, budget shortfall discussed during Hartford mayoral debate

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Six mayoral candidates faced off in Hartford Monday night. (WFSB photo) Six mayoral candidates faced off in Hartford Monday night. (WFSB photo)

Six candidates vying for the mayor’s seat in Hartford offered their plans on how they would manage the city’s challenges.

A debate was held Monday night where each candidate attempted to show their vision for Hartford.

The one topic that seemed to stick out was the recent spike in violence.

At one point inside the North End Senior Community Center, it was standing room only.

“There's not enough communication with our young people,” said Joel Cruz, an independent for the Working Families party. “When was the last time we actually took ‎an opportunity and went to our young people and said what is it that's going on?”

“We need more unity in our community,” said Democrat Giselle Jacobs. “We need to learn how to respect each other more.”

Over the weekend, six people were shot and one was killed. The death brought Hartford’s homicide number to 18 for the year, according to police.

There were 19 homicides in all of 2014.

Fixing the problem will be difficult, many of the candidates admitted.

“Crime is at the very least a large part a result of poverty ‎and unemployment,” said Theodore Cannon, a Republican. “We need more jobs in Hartford.”

“We need to stabilize our police force,” said Luke Bronin, a Democrat. “We are facing a police staffing crisis. We're down about 80 officers from over the last three years.”

“More cops means that you're going to have an opportunity to see ‎your policemen on the streets,” said Robert Killian, a Democrat.

Several of the candidates criticized incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra for waiting too long to request help from the state.

However, Segarra argued that it wasn’t true and he was fighting for additional money to help with the spike in violence.

Earlier on Monday, Segarra said he met with Gov. Dannel Malloy to request more money to fight it.

“The state withdrew a lot of support for the shooting task force so this meeting was specifically addressing the issue of getting back the resources the state took away,” Segarra said.

The debate not only covered the rise in violence, but each candidate offered their strategies on education, job creation, economic development and a budget shortfall.

The mayor will have to contend with an $8 million shortfall next year.

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