Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura is a five-term incumbent, and after switching to the Republican Party in June, Jarjura is seeking a record sixth consecutive term in office. Last night while accepting the GOP nomination Jarjura was animated, engaged and fired up. For much of the past ten years his public speeches amounted to singling out local and state dignitaries in the crowd for acknowledgement. Last night, Mayor Jarjura uncorked a blistering speech that he wrote late Monday night after the Board of Aldermen meeting.
The Republican Party in Waterbury was devastated in July 2001 when Waterbury Mayor Phil Giordano (R) was arrested and sentenced to 37 years in federal prison. Ironically, last night's convention was held on the ten-year anniversary of Giordano's arrest. It has taken a decade for the Republican Party to regain it's political footing in Waterbury, and with Mayor Jarjura heading the slate in November, there is vigor and excitement again in the GOP.
Waterbury Republican Town Chairman Bill Harris has done an excellent job making the GOP relevant again in the city. Harris , a small business owner, said he got involved to try and bring the GOP factions to together. He appears to have succeeded.
The GOP is offering plenty of new candidates to the voters this November. From left to right in the front row are George Noujaim, JoAnne D'Amelio, Lysa Margiotta, BetteJane Wesson and Steve Giacomi. In the back row is Carlo Pallidino, Sundae Black and Frank Burgio.
State Rep. Tony D'Amelio nominated Mike Jarjura to lead the Republican ticket. D'Amelio said Jarjura took over the city when it was in moral and financial crisis and has balanced the books and restored integrity to City Hall. D'Amelio likened Jarjura to a NFL quarterback who takes an 0-11 team and leads it to Super Bowl. "Do you think it's smart to change quarterbacks after winning the championship?" D'Amelio asked. The answer from the crowd was a resounding "no".
State Rep. Selim Noujaim seconded the nomination of Jarjura for mayor, and gave a lively and hilarious speech. At one point Noujaim said how proud he was of the diverse GOP ticket and turned around to face the candidates. He said "we have Irish, and Lebanese, and African-American. and holy shit we have Frank Burgio on the ticket." The room exploded in laughter. Burgio is an incumbent Independent Party alderman, and after unsuccessfully trying to get on the Democrat ticket, landed with the GOP.
Three-year-old Elizabeth Gambini provided a light moment at the convention when she frolicked in front of the stage during Selim Noujaim's speech.
GOP Town Committee member Jeff Santopietro keenly watched the proceedings.
The GOP ticket will present three incumbent aldermen to the voters in November. They are from left to right, Steve Giacomi, Frank Burgio and Jerry Padula. They are pictured above posing for Nick Coscia.
After listening to two rousing nominating speeches, and sitting through a roll call vote of the Town Committee, Mayor Jarjura was called forward to accept the nomination. The roll call was interesting in the various ways committee members chose to answer, which ranged from "absolutely" to "aye" to "you betcha ya".
Two GOP newcomers, Frank Burgio and Mike Jarjura, shared a celebratory moment at the end of the mayor's speech.
(The following is the prepared speech of Mayor Jarjura that he delivered at the Republican Convention July 26th, 2011)
Mr. Chairman, Bill Harris, members of the Town Committee; Elected Officials, fellow Waterburians; family and friends: It is with an enthusiastic YES that I accept your nomination to continue my work as Mayor of this great city. I want to thank Rep. D’Amelio and Rep. Noujaim for their gracious nominating words. It has been my pleasure to work with these gentlemen for many years and they are truly dedicated public servants.
As I was thinking about tonight and my tenure as Mayor over the last ten years, I couldn’t help but think what a crazy time it was back then. A good and decent person, Senator Sam Caligiuri took charge of our city during one of its darkest hours. I was in the midst of a tough and divisive primary battle which ended up taking place on September 11, 2001, a day of infamy in which our country was cowardly attacked by radical terrorists.
When I finally took office, we had a fractured political government - five Republicans, five Jarjura-crats and five DePillo-crats. It would have been easy for Joe Pisani, Lisa Mason, Bill Pizzuto and Atty. Mongelluzzo to play politics, but they didn’t. They put the interest of the city before their own political survival and paid dearly in the next election. For their courage and dedication to the city, I have always been grateful and is just one reason why you should all be proud. Sam had already started the city’s turn-around by declaring that patronage would no longer rule the day by changing how towing work was to be distributed in the city.
Working first with the Oversight Board and my dept. heads, we began the long painstaking job of modernizing every aspect of city operations. Because of this work, our city is financially stable; has had ten balanced budgets in a row, now has over $400 million in pension trust fund assets and has raised its bond rating from junk status to A plus level. Sounds like pretty good leadership to me!
Leadership isn’t about talk and rhetoric, it is about real tangible results.
Leadership is about being a consensus builder and not barking at or belittling people for having a different opinion.
Leadership is about infrastructure.
Leadership is about making the dream of four (4) brand new pre-K through 8th grade neighborhood schools a reality and a new career high school for our kids who can’t get into Kaynor Tech because of overcrowding.
Leadership is about our parks. Have you seen the many improvements at East Mountain Park, Fairlawn Park, Washington Park, Municipal Stadium, City Mills, Town Plot, and Fulton Park?
Leadership is about ethics. Pushing for and adopting one of the most competitive Ethics and Conflict of Interest Codes in the country here in Waterbury.
Leadership is about integrity. In my 10 years as Mayor, not a whisper of impropriety in the management of our city.
Besides leadership the other code word you have to be careful to watch out for is “change.” Change? From what to what? Again not a whisper of impropriety in the Mayor’s Office in 10 years.
*Ten balanced budgets;
*$400 million in pension trust fund;
*Elevated bond rating level;
*Great customer service by 3000 dedicated city employees;
You know, there were a couple of fellows who, in recent campaigns, talked about “change” You know who they are, we don’t have to say their names. One gave us the highest tax increase in the history of our state. Is that the type of “change” you want?
He pushed for and supported the early release from prison of sex offenders, rapists and arsonists. Is that the type of “change” you want?
He pushed for the so called Bathroom Bill. Men in the ladies room, ladies in the men’s room- What’s that about? Is that the type of “change” you want?
The other passed a so-called Stimulus Bill with $800 billion of your money that was supposed to help working families but ended up bailing out bankers and Wall Street tycoons and speculators – the very people that got us into this mess in the first place. What did we get? The highest unemployment rates in decades and what is now called “The Great Recession.” Is that the type of “change” you want?
So let’s be careful with this type of “change” stuff.
As you can see, you have a great team here. They’re ready to do great things for you, your family and this city. But we need your help. Over the next 90 days,we need you to get your address books out, your Christmas list and ask people to support this team.
*Give us a few hours on election day;
*Give someone a ride to the polls;
*If you know someone will be away at college, or will be out of town on Election Day, remind them to vote absentee:
*Put up a sign on your lawn;
*Host a meet and greet in your neighborhood;
Ladies and gentlemen – This is a fight for the soul of this city and the stakes are high. Let’s not fail the people of this great city. God bless you, your families, the City of Waterbury and the United States of America.
The Republican Ticket
Mayor - Michael Jarjura
City Clerk - Lynette Piombo
Town Clerk - Chick Spinella (cross-endorsement)
Board of Education - Jason Van Stone, JoAnne D'Amelio and Sundae Black
Board of Aldermen - Jerry Padula, Steve Giacomi, Fred Luedke, BetteJane Wesson, Lysa Margiotta, Carlo Palladino, Frank Burgio, Valter Merolli and George Noujaim