Two Newhallville state legislators hopped on the Bernie Sanders presidential bandwagon Wednesday, defying the popular image of ironclad support for Hillary Clinton among black elected officials.
Sanders and Clinton are battling for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Well, compared to the all-out Republican brawl for the same nomination, they’re not exactly “battling,” but they are engaged in a hotly contested race.
The two Newhallvaille legislators — State Sen. Gary Winfield and State Rep. Robyn Porter — announced their support as part of a broader group of nine elected officials associated with the Working Families Party. The other seven who endorsed Sanders are State Representative Jack Hennessy from Bridgeport, Bridgeport Board of Education members Sauda Baraka and Dennis Bradley, State Representative Edwin Vargas from Hartford, State Representative Peter Tercyak from New Britain, and Hartford City Councilor members Larry Deutsch and Wildaliz Bermudez.
Winfield said he backed Sanders because of his longstanding championing of positions that Winfield himself has championed.
Winfield, for instance, credits public financing with enabling him to win office and has advocated nationally for clean elections. Sanders has sworn off Super PAC (political action committee) donations and made clean-elections central to his campaign message, Winfield noted in an interview. “If you look at the debates, Hillary will talk about a lot of issues. Bernie will say, ‘This is simple. We have to go back and deal with campaign finance to deal with those issues. People’s voices are enhanced when you have a clean election system.’”
Winfield also noted that Sanders participated in the March on Washington and heard Martin Luther King’s famous address there, which he considered a pivotal moment in his political career. Since then Sanders has established a strong civil rights record, said Winfield, who has been a leading advocate of criminal-justice reform and opponent of the death penalty at the state Capitol. Winfield cited Sanders’ environmental record as well.
Porter cited her longstanding affiliation with the Communications Workers of America to explain her support for Sanders.
The candidate zeroes in on income inequality, on raising capital gains taxes, on making college tuition free, on re-instituting the Glass Steagall Act’s firewalls between commercial lenders and investment banks, Porter said—all issues important to “working men and women.” Sanders also calls for a national $15 hourly minimum wage.
Like Winfield, Porter cited campaign finance reform as a main reason for her support.
“That’s one of the big problems I have with Hillary’s campaign. She has too much Super PAC money,” Porter said. “Money talks. [If Clinton] gets into office, she would would have a lot of favors owed.” Sanders, on the other hand, “is doing it grassroots,” Porter said.
Bringing The Message Home
Clinton enjoys a double-digit lead among black voters nationwide, according to polls. She also has attracted the support of black elected officials across the country, including New Haven Mayor Toni Harp. Click here to read about Harp’s endorsement along with 57 other black mayors of Clinton’s campaign.
Winfield attributed Clinton’s lead among black voters to her superior name recognition as not just a senator, but a secretary of state, as well as “the wife of one of the most beloved political figures in history in the black community.”
“People like myself have to do some work in making sure that Bernie Sanders is better known” in the black community, Winfield said. “We have to go out and talk to people and say, ‘This is a guy who has talked about climate change. He says his life changed from being at King’s speech.’”
Porter made a similar vow.
“A lot of people in the black community ... don’t even know who he is, let alone what he stands for,” Porter said of Sanders. “My job is to educate people. He’s having those courageous conversations. He’s talking about racism in America and racial justice and how black youth are looked at as thugs just because of the color of their skin.”
Winfield called Sanders and Clinton both “great candidates.”
“If Bernie Sanders doesn’t make it all the way, that doesn’t mean you don’t have success,” he added. “If you can make speaking to our issues in an informed way [a central part of the campaign], that’s success as well.”
While I too “feel the Bern”, there are points of reality to consider in making a choice of Bernie’s candidacy at this point in time. New Haven residents would think that when choosing to support a grass root candidate like Bernie or Hillary, both the Mayor Winfield and Porter, all of whom call themselves “Working people’s party” would first poll a segment of their constituency in order to receive a feel for the preference of their constituency. All three, between elections, have a habit of hiding from their constituents; however, during election season they lead the endorsement parade then request/persuade the people to follow their lead. That’s just plain backwards.
While the difference in policy between the two leading candidates is minuscule, ‘Winfield called Sanders and Clinton both “great candidates.”
I believe that Bernie’s policies, if elected, will NOT even remotely be considered by the Republican Party. He will NOT be able to legislate by executive order.
“Porter made a similar vow.
“A lot of people in the black community ... don’t even know who he is, let alone what he stands for,” Porter said of Sanders. “My job is to educate people. He’s having those courageous conversations. He’s talking about racism in America and racial justice and how black youth are looked at as thugs just because of the color of their skin.””
Sounds like a Palin-ism, a rabble that only Sarah Palin would concoct.
posted by: KateW on January 20, 2016 8:17pm
Thank you for this State Sen. Gary Winfield, I feel the same way.
posted by: TheMadcap on January 20, 2016 9:59pm
I first donated to Bernie the day after he officially announced his candidacy. Since that point I’m still shocked at how we’ll be has done.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 20, 2016 11:30pm
Gary, thank you for your political courage, leadership, and personal integrity.
I hope you’ll throw your hat in the race when Rosa DeLauro ultimately retires, as you are the type of person that would do New Haven proud in Washington D.C.!
posted by: cedarhillresident! on January 21, 2016 8:30am
Right there with you guys. GO BERNIE!!!
posted by: charscot on January 21, 2016 11:57am
Connecticut is one of 27 states which has a “closed primary.” This means people are not allowed to vote in the primary unless they are registered as a Republican or Democrat. Voters who are unaffiliated or “independent” can re-register up until 5 days before the April primary. But, Republicans, Greens and members of other political parties (like Working Family Party which endorsed Bernie in November), who want to vote for a Bernie must complete their re-registration as a Democrat by January 26th. Fortunately, people are allowed to check their registration and change it, online: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/welcome.do
posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on January 21, 2016 2:14pm
Bernie is pie in the sky. If you want change you need to start by holding local official accountable. A well oiled Democrat machine that matches any opposition’s campaign funds 15:1 is exactly the “establishment” Bernie claims to want to oust; interesting to see him get so much support from that same machine.
posted by: cedarhillresident! on January 21, 2016 2:39pm
charscot - wow never knew that.
Wikus van de Merwe??? Machine? Hilary is getting the money from the machine funneled to her? Yes Gary and Robin are part of the Dem. machine and working families but as noted in the story they are not in the majority (at least publicly) in supporting Bernie. And in this state that takes courage. I clap my hands to them for having the chops. And local government is crazy here and every where and most will agree that something needs to be done. As 3/5th says…you keep voting them in. Anywho, I am not sure what your point is.
posted by: charscot on January 21, 2016 2:53pm
Wikus van de Merwe I think many voters in Connecticut were put off by the Democratic establishment choosing Hillary Clinton as its candidate with no regard to what the voters wanted. This could be one reason why 43% of voters no longer belong to the Republican or Democratic Party. The party’s have become disconnected from their members. The “well oiled” machine you refer to operates for those it controls. Bernie Sanders has proven that we, the people have power. We have raised $73,000,000 for Bernie and now know for a fact we don’t need candidates who are bought and paid for. To State Sen.Gary Winfield and State Rep. Robyn Porter and the others thank you for supporting Bernie and thanks for standing up for your beliefs. We’ll stand with you.
posted by: Elizabethaiken on January 21, 2016 4:17pm
As always, Thank you Gary and Robyn for standing up for what you believe. @webblog Do you know that Gary and Robyn did not poll a segment of their constituency before they endorsed Bernie Sanders? I feel that far from hiding from their constituents between elections, Gary and Robyn are engaged and present. @Wilkus Van de Merwe Bernie is not getting support from the Democratic machine. Across the country Governors, Senators and Congressional Reps endorsed Hillary early. It takes courage for elected officials to endorse Bernie when the message coming down from the top of the party is to support Hillary. I am grateful to Gary and Robyn for supporting Bernie.
posted by: webblog on January 21, 2016 4:56pm
@Elizabethaiken on January 21, 2016 4:17pm
Your question: @webblog Do you know that Gary and Robyn did not poll a segment of their constituency before they endorsed Bernie Sanders?
Yes I do know that they did not poll their constituency, the story line above, as follows, clearly demonstrates this fact. “The two Newhallvaille legislators — State Sen. Gary Winfield and State Rep. Robyn Porter — announced their support as part of a broader group of nine elected officials associated with the Working Families Party. The key reference words being “as a broader group of nine elected officials”.
Secondly, had they done so, they would have shown over enjoyment in sharing their polling results with the public.
You feel that are not hiding from their constituents and are always engaged. The only way I could agree with you is if you are hiding with them!
posted by: Dwightstreeter on January 22, 2016 7:34am
Of course the “establishment” will line up with Hillary, as will the well-funded PACS and Wall St. donors. Give me people of the quality of Porter and Winfield any day and Bernie can make a revolution. I’ve watched the debates and, while I respect Hillary’s experience, Bernie voted against invading Iraq, believes in a $15 minimum wage and is willing to take on income inequality. This stealth campaign is about to go on the radar in Iowa and New Hampshire. Only those invested in the conventional wisdom that predicted Hilary’s nomination as once again inevitable will be surprised. the Grassroots are alive and well.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 22, 2016 10:36am
posted by: Dwightstreeter on January 22, 2016 7:34am
Of course the “establishment” will line up with Hillary, as will the well-funded PACS and Wall St. donors. Give me people of the quality of Porter and Winfield any day and Bernie can make a revolution
Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016
Clinton leads Trump by eight points among registered voters (48 percent to 40 percent), but Sanders is ahead of him by 13 (51 percent to 38 percent); Cruz tops Clinton by four points (47 percent to 43 percent), but Sanders beats him by five (47 percent to 42 percent); And up Rubio is up by five points over Clinton (47 percent to 42 percent), while he’s tied with Sanders (44 percent to 44 percent).
In New Hampshire:
Clinton is ahead of Trump by just one point (45 percent to 44 percent), but Sanders tops him by 19 points (56 percent to 37 percent); Cruz beats Clinton by four points (48 percent to 44 percent), but Sanders leads him by another 19 points (55 percent to 36 percent); And Rubio bests Clinton by 12 points (52 percent to 40 percent), while Sanders leads him by nine points (50 percent to 41 percent).
The primary reason why Sanders tests better in these general-election matchups is due to his stronger performance with independent voters.
Socialism is NOT communism, although some old timers may think it is.
The Pope has criticized Capitalism as putting profits ahead of people. Sanders puts people first. Share the wealth is good for everyone. Or do we want a French Revolution where heads roll?