Ex-Congressman Returns To Town To Endorse Elicker

Allan Appel PhotoBruce Morrison stood across the street from where he helped turn an old housing project into an attractive new development—and endorsed Justin Elicker as a politician who could pursue similar goals.

Morrison, who represented New Haven in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s, returned to town Saturday to endorse Elicker’s independent run for mayor.

He did so at a press conference at Dixwell Plaza, across from the old crime-plagued Elm Haven projects. New Haven tore down those projects and, thanks to a law Morrison passed, had to build an equal number of replacement homes in town as a result. In Elm Haven’s wake came the Monterey Homes housing complex.

At Saturday’s press conference, Morrison praised Elicker as the candidate of a “different future” whose ideas will enable New Haven to effectively compete with the suburbs.

Morrison noted that he worked in a legal-aid office right nearby on Dixwell Avenue after graduating from Yale Law School in the 1970s, cutting his teeth on urban issues, including an incident where he walked in on some burglars who proceeded to rough him up. Morrison’s son Drew, a Yale undergraduate (at left in photo), serves as chief organizer of the Yale for Elicker group.

“Justin is committed to public safety. Not just talking about it, but [advancing] community policing,” Morrison said.

The campaign announced that former mayoral candidate Kermit Carolina, who has since endorsed Elicker, is helping to organizing an upcoming forum to talk directly to young people about urban violence.

As a phalanx of supporters surrounded him in front of the Stetson Branch Library, Morrison said that while policies are important, character and integrity count a lot for him, and that Elicker scored high marks in that area.

“Just ask the people he represents,” he said.

Morrison represented New Haven in Congress form 1983 through 1990. Then he ran an unsuccessful campaign as the Democratic candidate for governor. He moved to the D.C. area, where he established a national reputation as an expert on immigration reform, a cause he championed in Congress.

This isn’t Morrison’s first endorsement in a contested New Haven mayoral race. In 1989, he made an influential endorsement of John Daniels, who went on to become the city’s first African-American mayor. Morrison returned to New Haven in 2010 to endorse Democrat Roland Lemar’s successful run in a primary for state representative.

Rosa DeLauro has held Morrison’s seat since he left it in 1990. DeLauro endorsed Democrat Toni Harp’s candidacy on Sept. 23.

In his endorsement-acceptance remarks Saturday, Elicker praised Morrison’s leadership in refereeing factions and helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

“How’d he do it? He listened to the people who’d been marginalized. I hope to continue your legacy fighting for the under-represented as we go forward,” Elicker said.

“Just as Bruce helped Elm Haven, I’ll help with affordable housing. While downtown is important, we should not forget the neighborhoods like Dixwell. Good housing and jobs and safety. I’m the candidate to deliver. If you don’t have credibility on housing, you don’t have credibility on social justice issues [either].”

“Bad landlords, take notice,” Elicker warned.

Meanwhile a few blocks away over at Scantlebury Park, the Democratic mayoral campaign of Toni Harp was putting in the infrastructure for a noon-to-evening “fall harvest fundraiser.”

That meant 16 35-bottle cases of drinking water and 250 box lunches from Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits

Campaign events coordinator Maya Welfare said each box contained two pieces of bird, one biscuit, and corn, paid for by the campaign.

At one of the six tables arrayed with festive Harp balloons and signs sat Jackie Johnson. A longtime New Havener, she returned from Kentucky, where she is now living, to visit and help for the next month on the campaign.

Her task Saturday was to register new voters. The campaign’s self-described “super volunteer,” and former Edgewood Alderman Marcus Paca, said the campaign has registered several hundred, with a focus on young people.

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posted by: Burbel on October 5, 2013  11:54pm

Bruce has been a great public servant. He’s made a real difference, as this article suggests.

Funny story. Bruce hired a pollster who told him that he could win the governor’s mansion in 1990. The rest is history.

posted by: anonymous on October 6, 2013  1:09pm

Wikipedia: “Morrison received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1973. Among his classmates were future President Bill Clinton, future First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, future Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton, future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and future U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.”

He should use these connections to leverage Federal and Clinton Foundation money for New Haven.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on October 6, 2013  7:51pm

Anonymous: Stop looking for charity. Tax the wealthy non-profits, here and everywhere, and paying their fair share will help everyone. The solution is not out there; it’s right here.

posted by: accountability on October 7, 2013  4:02pm

Two amusing questions raised by this endorsement:

1. Can the Elicker campaign possibly sink any deeper into self parody?

Here we’ve been subjected to tiresome lecture after tiresome lecture about the need to abandon politics as usual and how awful it is that Toni Harp receives support from political leaders who don’t live in New Haven.

So where are the howls from the Justinians when he receives the endorsement of a tired hack ex-congressman who hasn’t lived in this town for 22 years? (for those of you who are counting, that’s an absence of more than three times the length of Justin’s residency).

And before said Justinians and Paul and company bristle at my characterization of the late great Congressman from our district, let’s ask the second amusing question:

2. Could Allan Appel possibly be more in the tank for Justin?

Here’s his characterization of Morrison:

“He moved to the D.C. area, where he established a national reputation as an expert on immigration reform, a cause he championed in Congress.”

Wow! What a lovely guy Mr. Morrison must be! Allow me to append the appropriate dependent clause that Appel in either his sloppiness or bias—let NHI readers decide—neglected to add:

“....and a well-paid shill for Goldman Sachs.”

Bruce Morrison is a DC corporate lobbyist. Big money, inside-the-Beltway, trough-feeding influence peddler for Wall Street.

In the five years of the existence of Morrison’s lobbying firm, he’s “earned” $1.17 million in income representing Essent US Holdings Group, Inc.

Essent’s registration audit by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance shows that “[t]he ultimate controlling persons in the holding company are Howard H. Newman and The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.”

New Headline: “Justin endorsed by Wall Street Hack.”

I’m waiting for anonymous, cedarhillresident!, robn and crew to vigorously denounce big money politics and the pernicious influence of big money lobbyists on our politics.

the silence is deafening.

posted by: accountability on October 7, 2013  4:22pm

Correction and links:

Morrison Public Affairs Group was founded in 2000, not 2009. The numbers for his Essent income are for the past 5 years.

Go here to search:


I can’t be bothered to add it all up—that’s the NHI’s job if they’re willing to do it—but he’s snorted up a pile of cash from the hospital industry too.

Go here and search “Essent” to find the report that tells you ultimately who it is that Bruce has been doing “good work” for in DC:


posted by: New Haven Nuisance on October 8, 2013  11:50am

accountability, if you are worried about large corporate donations influencing politics, may I ask you how much money Mr. Morrison donated to Justin Elicker’s campaign?

posted by: accountability on October 8, 2013  4:41pm

Actually, nuisance, Justin’s supporters have also criticized Toni’s endorsements by Governor Malloy [he should stay out of New Haven politics!!!!] and Rosa DeLauro, and the overwhelming majority of Justin’s colleagues on the Board of Aldermen, and pretty much any other leader who endorsed Toni, all “evidence” of corrupt politics as usual.

Now, when Justin is endorsed by a hack Wall Street lobbyist who has earned over a million dollars shilling for Goldman Sachs, we’re supposed to swoon because “Bruce has been a great public servant?”

Spare us. The silence is deafening and the hypocrisy nauseating.

posted by: New Haven Nuisance on October 8, 2013  9:55pm

Accountability, the problem and difference between the endorsement from Congressman Morrison and the one from someone like Dan Malloy is the reason each person chose to endorse a candidate.
Malloy actually has something tangible to gain though his endorsement, namely votes. He is very clearly playing the old political game of ‘I’ll do you a favor if you do me a favor and get me elected’.
You have to ask yourself why Dan Malloy chose to endorse Toni Harp in New Haven. Why not endorse a candidate for Mayor of West Haven, or a candidate in any of the other 168 cities and towns in Connecticut? The reason is votes, he knows he won his election by a slim margin thanks mostly to the efforts of one or two powerful groups in New Haven.
Malloy wants to appease these groups and do them political favors so they will win him his reelection bid. Trading political favors only helps the politician personally and makes it so they become more and more indebted to a only few powerful voices and no longer listen to or work for the people they are supposed to represent.

Your silence is deafening, you did not answer my question.
The difference in Congressman Morrison’s endorsement is that he has NOTHING to gain. Congressman Morrison is no longer running for office, and will not make financial gains from his endorsement of Justin Elicker.
He sees in Justin Elicker a person similar to himself when he represented New Haven. He sees someone who cares about the City of New Haven, who has its people’s best interests at heart, and has the passion, knowledge, and tenacity to improve their lives. Congressman Morrison chose to endorse Justin Elicker for Mayor because they both care about New Haven’s future, rather than their own personal political future.

posted by: accountability on October 9, 2013  1:59pm

Nuisance: The marvelous Glenn Greenwald defines political tribalism as cheering something when your favored faction does it, and cursing it when another faction does it. What better example than the response to this endorsement?

Toni: endorsed by corporate hacks and it’s horrible!!!!

Justin: endorsed by corporate hacks and it’s not really a corporate hack! It’s just a disinterested good guy who really loves the community he bailed out on 22 years ago so he could scarf up corporate cash in DC…

Not sure whether that’s pathetically hypocritical, or hypocritically pathetic.

Bruce Morrison is a Wall Street lobbyist. More than a million bucks from a Goldman Sachs joint venture in five years.

Wall Street has ginned up a national municipal pension scare to generate investment fees and ultimately eliminate defined benefit pensions so that all retirement will be invested by wall street firms all the time.

Justin: New Haven = Detroit
Toni: New Haven does not = Detroit

Hack Wall Street Lobbyist: “Justin is wonderful and I love New Haven!!!!!”

and by the way, where are all your silent Justinian buddies?

posted by: Burbel on October 12, 2013  6:30pm

New Haven Nuisance - Malloy also endorsed Tong - in the face of overwhelming support for his opponent and the current nominee, Martin. He did it because he felt Tong the better candidate and Mayor. Tong lost by just 300 votes, and Malloy took a lot of heat, and then both stepped up and endorsed Martin two weeks later. So we can take Malloy at his word as to why he is supporting Harp.

Justin, in contrast, said at the outset that he fully intended to run as an independent candidate if he lost the democratic primary.

Now he accepts the endorsement of Morrison, who - everything else aside - left New Haven two decades ago. Can you explain that? It actually doesn’t make any sense.

If Malloy and Harp are log-rolling career politicians, it seems like Justin has been determined from the get to become just like them.