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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bridgeport welcomes President (thanks for the traffic)

Seems like the President will receive a big Bridgeport welcome today (especially from the commuters on I-95).
Union leaders, Democratic politicians and other activists on Tuesday blasted the president's policies and vowed to create a vocal presence today, starting with a 9 a.m. rally outside the Middle Street office of U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4.


A Democratic response to Bush and Shays' "out-of-touch policies for Connecticut and the nation" will be led by Diane Farrell, the former Westport first selectwoman who is challenging Shays, at about 11:30 in the first-floor lobby of the annex.

Mayor John M. Fabrizi, a Democrat who leads the state's largest city, said Tuesday that he would be polite to the president, but wonders why the White House chose a city where Bush's policies are failing.

"I will be extremely cordial and respectful," Fabrizi said. "When a president comes to your town, the town should be honored, and we certainly are. But I'll be very quick to say that Bush's policies don't work for the city of Bridgeport."

Fabrizi said that federal policies shortchange the state on the No Child Left Behind education mandate, funding for port security and a health-care policy that doesn't help most of Bridgeport's residents.

"If I have that opportunity, I'm going to tell him that," Fabrizi said, adding that he expects to greet demonstrators as well. "We welcome everybody to the city of Bridgeport."

Given the chance, Fabrizi said he would show Bush the commemorative plaque on McLevy Hall, across from the Playhouse on the Green, where another Republican — Abraham Lincoln — visited the city in 1860, while he was campaigning. "If I have an opportunity to point something out other than the president's policies not working for Bridgeport & the second thing I want to do is point out the plaque," Fabrizi said.