NORWALK — With a tough primary challenge ahead, Susan Bysiewicz is relying on her resume to appeal to voters in her bid for lieutenant governor.
“Literally the lieutenant governor position is a heartbeat away from the governor position, so I will be talking about my experience, which I think is really important for voters in our primary to take a look at,” Bysiewicz said during a campaign stop at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk Monday afternoon.
Talking up her experience sets Bysiewicz apart from her primary competitor, 30-year-old union organizer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, who has no prior experience in elected office but drew a lively response at the Democratic State Convention on Saturday. Bysiewicz is a former state Rep. and three-term secretary of the state.
Bermudez Zimmerman recieved 40 percent of delegate votes among an enthusiastic convention crowd.
Just days after the party endorsed Ned Lamont for governor and Bysiewicz for lieutenant governor, the pair took a break from fundraising and phone calls to get out and talk to potential voters at the diner.
The Lamont-Bysiewicz team will have to appeal to the state’s urban voters as the issues facing Connecticut’s largest cities promise to be some of the most talked about on the campaign trail.
“People also like to know who you are and that you care,” Lamont said. “For me, maybe I grew up and live in a suburb, but I also was a volunteer teacher at Harding High School in Bridgeport and I got to know those kids and those families really well, I’ve stayed involved there over the last 20 years.”
In a conversation with Patrick Vingo, vice president of the advocacy group Parents and Friends of Lower Fairfield Respite Center, a home for people with severe physical and developmental disabilities, Lamont shared the story of his friend diagnosed with ALS and listened to Vingo’s concerns about the impact of the state’s budget cuts on people with disabilities.
“I met (Lamont) eight years ago when he was campaigning and talked about the same issues,” Vingo said. “He was receptive both times and I’m hopeful that if he is the governor he’ll do something about it ... but the test is in the performance. I hope any candidate, left or right, is able to address this problem.”
Though they have claimed each other as running mates, their candidacies are separate. A vote for Lamont doesn’t mean a guaranteed vote for Bysiewicz and vice versa. Lamont is still waiting to see if challengers like Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim will collect enough signatures to force a primary in August.