Complaining can’t change the high cost of housing, gas, or milk.
But voting can.
Eva Bermudez Zimmerman issued that democratic call to arms on Saturday night during her brief time on stage before 150 dancing, sweating concertgoers crammed into Bregamos Community Theater on Blatchley Avenue for the third Annual Festival Puertorriqueño de New Haven.
Bermudez Zimmerman, a 31-year-old Newtown labor organizer of Puerto Rican descent who is running an insurgent campaign for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, was one of four Democratic candidates for statewide office to address the reveling attendees at the city’s Puerto Rican festival.
Originally scheduled to take place midday on the Green, the festival was rescheduled and moved over to the Fair Haven community theater for an evening’s worth of concerts because of the day’s persistent rainstorms.
Taking the microphone in between the percussive, trombone-swinging Salsa and Merengue music of Orquestra Afinke, each candidate made a one-minute pitch to the attendees as to why he or she deserves their vote in this coming Tuesday’s statewide Democratic primary.
Lamont, Ganim and Mattei each earned polite applause and cheers of support. Only Bermudez Zimmerman managed to elicit a response that approximated the joyful enthusiasm with which audience members danced and sang along to Orquestra Afinke.
Delivering her speech first in Spanish and then translated into English, Bermudez Zimmerman told the crowd that Tuesday’s primary represents a historic opportunity for Connecticut’s working class to have its voice heard.
“When we’re talking about the cost of living and housing,” she said, “the cost of gas, the cost of milk, too many people start complaining. We get it. I’m with you. The struggle is real. But complaining doesn’t give you change. Voting gives you change.”
She called on everyone in the room to show up to the polls on Aug. 14 and to seize an opportunity not just to talking about wanting change, but to “represent that change, to own the change.”
If politicians want to earn the votes of all Connecticut residents and not just the wealthy few, she said, then “they better represent everyone.”
Bermudez Zimmerman faces Susan Bysiewicz, a former secretary of the state and state representative from Middletown, in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.
While Byseiwicz earned the state Democratic Party’s endorsement at the party’s convention in Hartford in May, Bermudez Zimmerman walked away with nearly 40 percent of delegate support at the convention after announcing her candidacy for lieutenant governor only several days beforehand.
Since then, she has promoted her candidacy as one committed to representing the interests of working class, minority, and city residents on the statewide ticket.
Working The Crowd
Both Lamont and Ganim worked the crowd before and after giving their brief campaign speeches onstage.
Led by New Haven State Rep. Juan Candelaria, Lamont circled the room, smiling and shaking hands with men, women and children alike. He told them that his mother was born and raised in Puerto Rico but, alas, never taught him a lick of Spanish.
“As long as he keeps it real, that’s my guy,” concert attendee Miguel Santiago said about Lamont.
Meanwhile, as the blaring sounds of music from onstage made conversation near impossible in the audience, Ganim decided to attend to his adoring public ...
.. by posing for a few pictures ...
... and even taking a selfie.
Click on the Facebook Live videos below to watch Lamont, Mattei, Bermudez Zimmerman, and Ganim speak at the festival on Saturday night.