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Student Exploring Run For City Office

Kristina Vakhman, News Editor

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You can bet on encountering Central Connecticut senior Victor Constanza at any local civic event. But for him, that’s not enough – he’s announced an exploratory committee for a citywide position in New Britain’s government.

“New Britain needs a new jumpstart. It needs motivation and hope and actually someone to bring in new ideas and not just the same old rhetoric. It needs new fresh people to be in office,” Constanza said. 

You’ll find Constanza everywhere. The 2019 Hartford Women’s March? He was there. Protesting the former New Britain mayor’s controversial Facebook comments at City Hall? You can see him in the crowd on newscasts. Welcoming home the New Britain couple who spent seven months in asylum? The 22-year-old was not only present, but a major reason for the couple’s return.

“I support him running,” friend Roshanay Tahir, who accompanied Constanza to the interview, said; she’s also the niece of the aforementioned New Britain couple who came home after being confined in an Old Lyme church for seven months while facing deportation. “He’s done a lot for my community and my family and I can definitely vouch for that. He’s the connection between people and political leaders.”

Constanza has made a name for himself both on and off campus through his excessive involvement in university and community issues. The New Britain city council knows him and his name has appeared in the local paper multiple times, mostly as the organizer of rallies. And that type of participation and communication is what he thinks New Britain needs now more than ever.

“I believe that [New Britain] leadership, in general, is not working together. It’s very petty politics and New Britain is failing. It’s in such a stagnation that, from the conversations I’ve had with plenty of people in New Britain, they’re losing hope in the system in general,” Constanza said. “New Britain is going to face major crisis soon. We can’t be playing these games anymore. We need to be united and work together.”

Constanza’s platform revolves heavily around aiding New Britain’s working poor and working class. As of last December, New Britain’s unemployment rate is 4.6 percent, according to the Connecticut Department and Labor, with the United States Census Bureau finding a median income of around $43,000 from 2013 to 2017. Moreover, Data USA charts the city’s poverty rate to be at 22.9 percent.

Constanza blames multiple administrations for New Britain’s shortcomings, such as in low education funding, citing the example of Mayor Erin Stewart vetoing $400,000 in additional money to the district last year, according to the New Britain Herald.

“If I decide to run, I’d cut taxes and make sure more funding goes toward the Board of Education ‘cause it’s in dire need right now. The current administration had a chance to do that and it didn’t,” Constanza said, adding that, if elected, he’d also push to reduce taxes, reign in mill rates placed on tenants by landlords and work on problems statewide that would benefit locally.

“We have to pressure our state government to redo all the tax structure and push for the $15 minimum, paid medical leave and so many issues statewide that will help New Britain,” he furthered.

Additionally, Constanza wants to ensure that New Britain’s government becomes more inviting to increase voter turnout in municipal elections.

“I criticized [Stewart] and [she] blocked me,” Constanza stated. “That’s not a good leadership quality. I want to make New Britain politics as open as possible to the people because a lot of people are not involved. My goal if I run is to unite the working poor and the working class to be more involved. This is their city.”

Constanza is conscious that he’s a rookie in the political realm. He became the deputy vice president of communications of the Connecticut Young Democrats just last December. He’s also been on CCSU’s Student Government Association – as chair of two different committees, no less – and is president of the non-profit CHANGE-CT. But that minimal experience, he said, shouldn’t matter.

“I bring ideas that are not talked about more,” he explained. “My experience in organizing is what is needed in addressing these policies because you need to connect everyone and know what’s going on, which is not being done right now. I’m not a professional. I know what’s the problem and I want to address these issues and push for them.”

Constanza emphasized that drive to help. Though he hails from Stanford, New Britain has been his home for the past five years and he wants to stay to fix it. It’s a time capsule of when he was a kid. 

“I grew up in poverty. My mom was a fast food worker and my dad cut down trees. He’d come home late. New Britain’s a blue-collar town and it reminds me of my childhood. This is home to me,” Constanza said. 

About the Contributor
Kristina Vakhman, News Editor

Kristina Vakhman can be reached at news@centralrecorder.com.

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