Bridgeport democrats debate in race for mayor - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bridgeport democrats debate in race for mayor

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With less than one month before voters in Bridgeport head to the polls, three democratic candidates said they are trying to shore up some last minute votes.

On Wednesday, all three candidates offered voters what their visions are for the city.

They offered very different views on education, crime and taxes.

Current Mayor Bill Finch is facing a challenge from former mayor Joe Ganim, and Co-Founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish Mary-Jane Foster.

Ganim is asking voters for a second chance after serving time in prison for accepting bribes while in office.

He said if he is elected, he’d focus on reducing property taxes, which are some of the highest in the state.

“I know it’s a touchy subject but people can’t afford it anymore,” Ganim said.

However, Foster argued that there is no need for Ganim to have a second chance.

“We have a reputation in Bridgeport as a corrupt city. And it’s one title we have earned unfortunately,” Foster said.

When the topic of safety came up, all three agreed that police need body cameras.

Finch said crime was going down, thanks in part to his push for community policing.

“Violent crimes are down about 13 percent, and car thefts are down about 40 percent,” Finch said.

His challengers disagreed and said more officers need to be on the street.

“We have had a dramatic increase in gun violence over the last couple of months. No matter how you slice and dice the statistics and people are frightened,” Foster said.

Both called Finch’s assertion that he was transparent into question.

“A hallmark of this administration has been lack of transparency. More transparency is always better,” Foster said.

Several months ago, Finch was accused of trying to suppress crime statistics and failing to release information on certain crimes.

“I hope all of us would pledge that is something we wouldn’t see intentionally happen under any of our administrations,” Ganim said.

However, Finch said he disputes those claims and said “I never gave any orders to restrict information and we give information out whenever it’s requested.”

There are several other debates happening. The next one is on Sept. 3. Voters will head to the polls on Sept. 16 for the primary.

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