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Latinos Rally Behind Rodriguez

by Paul Bass | Jun 27, 2013 4:15 pm

(6) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Campaign 2013

Paul Bass Photo Two dozen Latino leaders cheered on Sergio Rodriguez’s campaign for city/town clerk Thursday, chanting “Split the vote!”

Rodriguez is one of three Democrats running for the part-time $46,597-a-year clerk’s job. The clerk oversees the office that handles land records, campaign filings, record-keeping for the Board of Aldermen, and licensing that ranges from new enterprises to dog licenses. You rarely hear about the position. New Haven rarely has contested elections for the position. But this is New Haven Spring, a season of a flowering of political ambitions and newly contested races—including a three-way primary for clerk. On Thursday prominent Latino leaders gathered on the steps of the 200 Orange St. municipal building to endorse Rodriguez’s candidacy, pointing out he is the first Latino running for citywide political office. Elected officials present included state Rep. Juan Candelaria (at front in photo), and Fair Haven Aldermen Santiago Berrios-Bones and Migdalia Castro, pictured surrounding the candidate.

The reason for the “split the vote!” chant: Rodriguez’s crowd included supporters of three separate mayoral candidates, Toni Harp, Henry Fernandez and Kermit Carolina. Engineer Edwin A. Martinez (at right in photo), who works at Space-Craft Manufacturing on East Street and co-chairs the Flechas Latino cultural organization, supports Carolina, for instance. Former Alderman Joey Rodriguez (at left in photo), chairs the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus. “It’s good to have a Latino on a citywide ticket. The Latino community in New Haven is a growing community. To have a Latino who is qualified and can do the work means a lot,” he said.

Immigrant rights organizer John Lugo (right foreground), a Fernandez supporter, addressed the crowd. After several supporters spoke, Sergio Rodriguez quoted Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy about thinking big in the cause of justice, and he promised to bring “value, integrity, accessibility and leadership” to the clerk’s office. He promised to help connect small-business owners, including the city’s growing core of Latino merchants, to other branches of local government; business owners often interact first with the clerk’s office to file incorporation papers. He said he intends to commit himself “fully” to the officially part-time clerk’s position: “At this point there’s no other job in the future for me.” The current clerk, five-term incumbent Ron Smith, has another full-time job.

Click here to read about Smith’s reelection campaign and here to read about the campaign of Michael Smart. The Democratic Party nominating convention takes place July 23; the primary takes place Sept. 10. Click here for previous coverage of Rodriguez’s candidacy.

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posted by: Curious on June 27, 2013  4:33pm

Thank you thank thank you for addressing the position!

It needs to be full-time to ask for any kind of salary like that.

Most city clerk jobs in a similar-sized city pay $60k.

It would be nice if there was a requirement for the city clerk to speak Spanish, but I can’t see how that is possible with an elected position.

posted by: Threefifths on June 27, 2013  7:08pm

This looks more like so call latino leaders.

Former Alderman Joey Rodriguez (at left in photo), chairs the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus. “It’s good to have a Latino on a citywide ticket. The Latino community in New Haven is a growing community. To have a Latino who is qualified and can do the work means a lot,” he said.

Have you forgot there are afro Latinos.

posted by: Taylor Anderson on June 27, 2013  8:49pm

Incorporation papers in Connecticut are filed with the Connecticut Secretary of State, not with the City Clerk’s office. Most business owners never see the City Clerk’s office unless they buy and sell real estate. How can you run that office if you don’t know what it’s supposed to do?

posted by: Noteworthy on June 27, 2013  9:25pm

Who are the white people supporting?

posted by: Curious on June 28, 2013  9:26am

Noteworthy, excellent question!  I can not wait to see who the NHI declares the white people will support, so I know who to vote for :)
Maybe NHI could say something like, “Latino group rallies….” in the future.

@ Taylor, from what I hear,this position does almost nothing, and the deputy clerk is who really runs this office.

Is there an actual JOB DESCRIPTION that the city can share with us?

posted by: Chris500 on June 28, 2013  11:42am

I agree that there is something wrong when dicrimination by certain segments of society is tolerated and sometimes even applauded. It is offensive to the people so classified and is certainly of no benefit.  I am a minority but I vote and act in society based on the person and the issues.  I am offended when I am classified at work or publicly based on my skin color or country of origin. We all have cultural origins, beginning with the very individualized culture of our birth family, but we are all far more than that.

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