Between September 2006 and December 2010, I had the privilege of working for then-Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. At that time we were adopting the new optical scanner voting technology and stricter voting security standards. Susan was at the forefront of that effort. I would soon learn why she gained the respect of Registrars of Voters, state legislators, town leaders, voter rights advocates, and constituents; she engaged everyone to ensure that the new equipment and standards were carefully vetted and successful. It was not an easy job, mind you; certainly not a very popular one! But Susan was not in it for popularity! She took it on with courage, vision, and great leadership. She stood with them!
One of Susan's favorite programs was the "Safe at Home" Address Confidentiality Program, which her office created and implemented successfully. That program saved the lives of women and their children who were victims of domestic violence. Susan stood with them!
Susan cared about the environment. In 2007 Broadwater Energy sought to build a liquefied natural gas plant in the Long Island Sound. Susan joined then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, our Congressional delegation, town leaders, advocacy groups, and shoreline residents to show federal authorities the adverse security, environmental, and economic risks and impact the plant would pose. In April 2008 the plan to build the plant was scratched! Susan stood with them!
Susan has the highest respect for our veterans and the sacrifices they have made. So she worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs and local officials to honor World War II veterans--our Greatest Generation. I attended many of those award ceremonies and was struck by the admiration, respect, and appreciation these courageous men and women showed her. She stood with them!
Being Puerto Rican, I have a deep commitment to ensuring that Latinos in Connecticut have opportunities, a voice, and participate in decisions that impact their lives. I soon found out that Susan shares that same commitment. Susan established the Small and Minority Business Unit in her office, which provided information, technical assistance, and resources. She wanted more Latinos to benefit from those services, so she asked me to organize "showcases" with Latino business entrepreneurs. She and I worked with the SBA, local Chambers of Commerce, and others to create more opportunities for Latino businesses. The result: during her tenure, Connecticut experienced a surge in small business creation, many owned by Latinos. Susan stood
That commitment was also evident when, in the spring of 2008, a group of Latino leaders and I approached Susan to seek her assistance in launching a Latino voter registration campaign. Latinos had launched voter outreach campaigns in the past, but rarely with the full support of past Secretaries of the State. That changed! Susan committed her office and asked me to work with them on !Tu voto sí cuenta! (Your Vote Does Count!), which registered over 20,000 new Latino voters. Susan stood with them!
So when you hear her name or see her on television, remember that this outstanding candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut will also stand with you--she will listen to you, find ways to work with you, fight for you, and ensure that your voice is heard. !Vamos juntos con Susan para un mejor futuro!
Valeriano Ramos Jr. is a resident of Hamden, Connecticut, and an activist, organizer, and advocate for Latino issues in Connecticut.