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Elicker Courts Latino Vote
by Thomas MacMillan | Oct 24, 2013 12:47 pm
Posted to: Fair Haven, Campaign 2013
In a Fair Haven bar, supporters of mayoral candidate Justin Elicker dug into plates of beans and rice, chicken, and salad. They didn’t need to worry about running out of food.
There was plenty to go around at the meet-and-greet Wednesday evening. The crowd comprised about a dozen Elicker supporters, and few new converts.
The event was held at Wilson’s Cafe at the corner of Grand and Blatchley avenues, in the heart of Spanish-speaking Fair Haven. The Elicker campaign had advertised the evening with bilingual flyers offering the promise of “a conversation in Spanish and English about the future of your community.”
Elicker is a petitioning candidate for mayor, running against Democrat Toni Harp. With less than two weeks until the Nov. 5 election, Elicker, who received little support in the Democratic primary from voters of color, is looking to win over Latino voters in Fair Haven.
Harp has captured the endorsement of a number of Latino leaders, including Aldermen Migdalia Castro, Jorge Perez, Sergio Rodriguez, and state Rep. Juan Candelaria.
Among the Fair Haveners on his side, Elicker (pictured) has neighborhood activist Lee Cruz, who helped organize Wednesday’s event.
“We’re canvassing every week, twice a week,” Cruz said. “The numbers are looking pretty good. We’re on target.”
Cruz said he’s seeing supporters of former mayoral candidate Henry Fernandez breaking toward Elicker in “significant numbers.” Fernandez captured about 19 percent of the Democratic votes in the primary.
So why didn’t more people show up for the meet-and-greet?
“It’s a combination of things,” Cruz said. Some people are working two or three jobs, or otherwise have obligations and responsibilities, he said.
Elio Cruz (no relation), a Westville neighbor who has been helping Elicker in Fair Haven, said it’s difficult to engage the Latino immigrant community in the election.
“They don’t really care about it,” he said. Those who can vote often choose not to, said Elio Cruz, who’s originally from Ecuador.
“Politicians in our country, you can’t really trust them,” Elio said. That’s one reason why Ecuadorians often choose not to vote, Elio said.
For another, in Ecuador, voting is mandatory, Elio said. “In Ecuador, if you don’t vote, you get a fine.” As new citizens, Ecuadorian-Americans may relish the freedom to not vote.
“It’s tough to get the Latino immigrants, to get them out to vote,” Elio said. “Maybe that’s why there’s not many people here.” Or maybe it’s just too early, he added. It was about 6 p.m.
Kenny Chitacapa, a 23-year-old Fair Havener, agreed with Elio’s assessment of the challenge of rallying Latino voters. “I mean, there’s not a lot of people here,” he said, looking around the room.
Chitacapa said the problem is compounded among young voters, many of whom are just not tuned in to local politics.
Lee Cruz disagreed with Elio Cruz’s hypothesis that Latino immigrants aren’t politically engaged. “Among people we’ve talked to, it hasn’t been my experience.” Lee Cruz said, however, that he’s been talking mostly to people who have voted in the past, not brand new voters.
Susana Cando, Chitacapa’s mom, said Elicker (pictured) has plenty of support in Fair Haven. People didn’t show up to the meet-and-greet because they have jobs and kids, she said.
“Many people support him here,” she said. “Muchisima gente.”
“It’s difficult to get people out,” Elicker said on Thursday morning. “It’s difficult to get people interested in politics. There’s generally a feeling in the public that politics doesn’t make a difference. I’ve been working hard to get people engaged.”
“I always like having more people at events because I want to hear from people,” he said. “I want to share my vision for the city.”
Elicker also released a campaign commercial Thursday. Click on the video to watch.
Tags: Justin Elicker, Lee Cruz, Elio Cruz
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“They don’t really care about it,” he said. Those who can vote often choose not to, said Elio Cruz, who’s originally from Ecuador.”
If I recall the turnout maps posted during the primary from the last general election, this is entirely true. The 2 wards that cover mostly Fair Haven had very low turnout. It’s a possible bonanza of votes for Elicker or Harp.
Elicker waits to late in the “game” to get out and try to get the “minority” vote..shame on him!
Talk about old school politicos, Lee Cruz ranks right up there with Town Clerk Ron Smith. Looks like Elicker has solved the problem of how to court black and hispanic votes. Too bad it only started last week. It would be better if he could display an authentic record of honest concern for minority interests—not just 2 weeks before voting day.
Elmcityresident: I was out canvassing with Elicker, his wife, Lee Cruz and a dozen others in mid-August. To my knowledge, he and his supporters have been making the rounds every week since.
If you just ignore the fact Elicker has had teams canvassing in Fair Haven since early in his campaign.
@BlueHaven not sure what area you live in but i don’t know much about Elicker even though my Son interviewed in the past still not a fan
@TheMadCap i don’t live in Fair Haven anymore thank god..but i haven’t seen him in the westville area at all OH but he did send out his canvassers that looked at the addresses and walked by some neighbors that were on their porches, i remember that! Oh i did see him on Dixwell ave in front of the famous Visel’s pharmacy…lol trying to get the black vote
Oh, so you agree, you have seen him trying to court the minority community.
One of the many unfortunate consequences of machine politics is that Latinos in neighborhoods like Fair Haven feel they have been used as pawns and not benefitted—and, in many cases, seen their circumstances decline. Justin offers precisely the new approach to government that these communities need, that will finally give everyone a seat at the table.
elmcityresident, Justin Elicker has been out constantly and consistently in every single neighborhood at least twice and is still pounding the concrete. He doesn’t just do photo ops like his opponent.
posted by: LeeCruz on October 25, 2013 9:24am
Not sure how you know me or even if you do. Just to set the record straight: I do not work nor have I ever worked for the City of New Haven or for any government official other than the President of the United States when I was a Marine. I met Justin Elicker a half dozen years ago when I participated in a clean up of East Rock Park that he organized. We share an appreciation of New Haven’s Parks and believe that residents who use our parks should help take care of them. Justin Elicker approached me to support his candidacy before he announced and before Mayor DeStefano let us all know that he would not be seeking another term in office. On another occasion I worked with Justin on the use of motorbikes and other illegal vehicles on New Haven’s streets. In that coalition we worked with black, white and Latino people across the city concerned about their own safety, as well as that of their children and pets. I also worked with Senator Harp and Senator Looney on environmental justice issues that impact Farnam Court. If you have any questions or if you would like to work on any of these issues, you can reach me via social media.
Elm City resident
I can tell you from my own personal knowledge that Justin has been in Westville at least 3 times in the past 2 weeks. Too bad you missed him ;)
maybe he did “certain"areas i’m guessing just like a “certain” area in the black community.
For the record, Mr. Elicker’s ward includes a couple of mostly-minority neighborhoods, and he’s been actively present in them over the years. He’s also been all over town during the entire campaign. Unlike his opponent, he was not surprised by how bad things were in the ‘hood; he’s tuned in to the state of the city.