For Immediate Release: August 23, 2021

Contact: Lenny H. Speiller | | 203-516-7184


 A robust voter education and mobilization campaign also launched in support of the endorsed slate of seven candidates running for the City Council and Board of Education, all of whom have pledged to fight political corruption, help fix Bridgeport’s broken democracy, and advance justice and equity.

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut, August 23, 2021 | Today the Unrig Bridgeport Coalition announced its first-ever slate of political endorsements in support of seven outstanding candidates running for the Bridgeport City Council and Board of Education, all of whom will be on the ballot in the city’s primary elections on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021.

The endorsed slate of candidates are a diverse mix of individuals and include both challengers and incumbents. Each of them have pledged to fight the political corruption that has plagued Bridgeport; help to fix the city’s broken democracy; and advance proposals that support good governance, and justice and equity. The #UnrigBridgeport slate of endorsed candidates includes:

  • Tyler Mack | City Council | 131st District  | Democrat
  • Jorge Cruz  | City Council  | 131st District | Democrat
  • Dasha Spell | City Council | 132nd District | Democrat
  • Aikeem Boyd | City Council | 133rd District | Democrat
  • Aidee Nieves | City Council | 137th District | Democrat
  • Maria Valle | City Council | 137th District | Democrat
  • Joseph Sokolovic | Board of Education | Republican

(More about each of the candidates, including a short biography and an endorsement statement can be found here.)

“The Unrig Bridgeport Coalition is proud to support this slate of candidates who are committed to help Unrig Bridgeport, fight systemic corruption, and provide Brideporters with the city government and critical services they need and deserve,” said Gemeem Davis, President and Co-Director of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes. “Bridgeporters are fed up and ready for change. We want better schools, safer streets, and a stronger city, and each of these candidates stand ready, willing, and able to help make that happen.” 

All candidates running for Bridgeport City Council and the Board of Education were invited to participate in the Unrig Bridgeport endorsement process by completing a candidate questionnaire, participating in a candidate interview, and taking The People’s Pledge in support of The People’s Platform – a transformative vision of a “Beloved Bridgeport” and comprehensive 30-point plan that offers a positive vision of justice and equity initiatives, good government proposals, pro-democracy measures, and takes on Bridgeport’s culture of systemic corruption. The People’s Platform, which was officially rolled out last month, was informed by hundreds of conversations with city residents at community events and meetings throughout the city. An endorsement committee made up of organizational leaders from the Unrig Bridgeport Coalition reviewed, evaluated, and interviewed all participating candidates and made endorsement decisions accordingly.

“We reviewed, evaluated, and met with each of these candidates, and we are excited by this group of individuals who have stepped up to serve the people of Bridgeport,” said Nichola Hall of the Greater Bridgeport Ed Gomes Black Democratic Club. “Our coalition is strong, deep, and diverse, and once these candidates are elected, we are committed to collectively working together to help bring about the changes that our city so desperately needs.” 

In addition, today the Unrig Bridgeport Coalition also launched an accompanying voter education, engagement, and mobilization effort in support of the endorsed slate of candidates. The effort will engage thousands of Bridgeport voters, and with total voter turnout projected to be extremely low in the primary election, stands to have a significant impact. Voter engagement activities will include, but not limited to: traditional grassroots organizing initiatives (like door knocking, street canvassing, and phone banking); modern online and digital organizing initiatives (like social media, digital ads, and text/email engagement); and other forms of paid advertising initiatives like billboards and signage. (A sample of some of the initial campaign materials can be found here.)

The voter engagement effort – paid for by Bridgeport Generation Now Votes – is an independent expenditure campaign and not authorized by or done in coordination with any candidate or candidate’s committee.  

“Every day between now and the primary election on September 14th, we are going to be talking with voters about our shared vision for positive change,” said Callie Gale Heilmann, Co-Director of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes.

UNRIG BRIDGEPORT 2021: The Campaign to Fix Bridgeport’s Democracy” was launched in March 2021 by Bridgeport Generation Now Votes (the 501c4 affiliate of Bridgeport Generation Now) and the Unrig Bridgeport Coalition. Today’s announcement follows a series of recent initiatives and victories by the Unrig Bridgeport Coalition and Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, including: the appointment of an independent election monitor for Bridgeport (2020 and 2021), the exposure of widespread absentee ballot abuses in the 2019 mayoral election in the Lazar v. Ganim et al lawsuit (2019), the successful passage of the Bridgeport Anti-Corruption Resolution (2018), and led the fight for a transparent search for Bridgport’s police chief (2018).


About the Unrig Bridgeport Coalition and Bridgeport Generation Now Votes:

The UNRIG BRIDGEPORT COALITION is made of the following partner organizations, community leaders, and Bridgeport residents: Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, Bridgeport Strong, Connecticut Citizen Action Group, The Greater Bridgeport NAACP, Greater Bridgeport Ed Gomes Black Democratic Club, Make The Road CT Action, PT Partners, SEIU 1199 New England, The Working Families Party – Bridgeport, The Working Families Party – CT, Kelvin Ayala (Bridgeport Resident), Ron Bailey (Retired Bridgeport Police Officer), Donna Curran (Former Democratic Town Committee member), David Daniels (Bridgeport Resident), Joe Luciano (Bridgeport Resident), Pete Spain (Former City Council Representative), among others.

BRIDGEPORT GENERATION NOW VOTES is on a mission to increase voter turnout in Bridgeport elections. Key to that work is strengthening democracy, fighting corruption, and expanding and protecting voting rights for the people of Bridgeport. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)4 affiliate of Bridgeport Generation Now, working on legislation, litigation, and grassroots organizing. For more information, go to and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.