by Cindy Pena
New Britain’s mayor, Erin Stewart, plans to take her local government experience one step higher by exploring a run for Connecticut governor this upcoming election.
Stewart officially announced her candidacy during a Facebook Live a week ago on Monday.
“As I have watched the ever-expanding roster of candidates come forward, it has become clear that we can’t afford to waste yet another opportunity to take back our state and set it on a new and better course,” Stewart, Central Connecticut State University alumna, announced.
She was first elected at 25-years-old, becoming the youngest mayor in the United States. Stewart, a Republican, is now in her third term in a mainly Democratic city. She credits her success to her ability to connect with both political parties and her bipartisan efforts.
Furthermore, she also expressed that she does not necessarily fit into the “box” of Republican ideology.
“I win because Democrats and independents feel comfortable casting a ballot for me,” Stewart said. “I am fiscally conservative. I am pro-choice, I have a gun permit, I support responsible gun ownership [and] I support the civil rights of all individuals.”
Many critics express her young age and inexperience can hinder her opportunity to win. Further, some criticize her progressive social views can push conservative voters away.
“Wish you were not pro-abortion. I would fight for you if you were pro-life. Not helpful and sadly your position could put another useless Democrat back in office,” one Facebook user commented under her live.
CCSU Republican Club President Nathan Buyak holds similar values to Stewart, however, still says her pro-choice views can have an impact on her ability to win.
“The abortion issue is a complicated one. Among younger constituents, there is a large percentage of conservatives who either are pro-choice themselves, or who believe that while they themselves are pro-life, it’s not their business what other people do.” Buyak said. “Unfortunately, young people don’t vote, so the net gain of voters will probably be negative. That will be in large part due to older Christian conservatives who believe it is their moral obligation to save the lives of the millions of unborn babies who they believe are being murdered.”
On the other side, Stewart’s proponents argue that having a new and young governor can be the change Connecticut needs, especially with the high disapproval rate of current Democratic governor, Dannel Malloy. Malloy ranked second in least-popular governor in the country with a 68 percent disapproval rate on the job he has done for the state, according to Morning Consult.
Buyak says Stewart’s fiscal conservative views can also benefit Connecticut.
“Erin Stewart could be a very good opportunity to demonstrate that conservative fiscal policies can produce positive results,” Buyak said. “I am under the impression that Democratic fiscal policies are not helping. I’ve listened to our current governor attempting to lay the blame on others, but at the end of the day, he is responsible for the state of the state. Bringing in a fiscal conservative could reverse our annual deficit and bring prosperity back to the state.”