Eddie Perez (politician)
|Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut|
January 1, 2001 – June 25, 2010
|Preceded by||Michael P. Peters|
|Succeeded by||Pedro Segarra|
Corozal, Puerto Rico
|Alma mater||Capital Community-Technical College, Trinity College|
Eduardo Alberto "Eddie" Perez (born 1957) is a politician of Puerto Rican origin and served as mayor of Hartford, Connecticut from 2001-2010. Prior to entering politics, Perez worked as a community organizer. Perez served as the first Mayor who was also the CEO of the city and was widely credited with reducing crime, reforming the school system and sparking economic revitalization in the city. Perez's investment in educational reform and appointment of new leadership at the Board of Education led to significant increases in high school graduation rates in the city.
On December 9, 2013 the Connecticut Appellate Court overturned Perez's state court conviction on bribery, fabricating evidence, and conspiracy to fabricate evidence in connection with the failed development of a vacant site and improvements to his home by a city contractor, and vacated his sentence. That decision currently is under review by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Youth and early career
Eddie Alberto Pérez was born in 1957 in Corozal, Puerto Rico, where he spent most of his childhood. In 1969 the Pérez family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, which had a growing number of Puerto Rican immigrants already living there. Puerto Ricans had first come to central Connecticut in significant numbers in the 1940s to work in the region's tobacco fields. Eddie was also a high-ranking member of the Latin Kings in Hartford. Beginning in 1979 as a Vista volunteer, Perez founded O.N.E./C.H.A.N.E., a grassroots neighborhood organization dedicated to improving the housing and economic conditions in North Hartford. He then joined Make Something Happen as its director, in order to help the public housing residents in Hartford’s Stowe Village. In 1990, Perez became Trinity’s director of community and government relations. In 1999, Perez became the President of the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, an organization sponsored by Trinity College and Hartford Hospital. As SINA’s president, Perez was instrumental in the foundation and implementation of the $250 million Learning Corridor, as a national model for education and public/private cooperation.
Term as mayor
In his first run for political office in 2001, Eddie Pérez made history as the first Hispanic–American to become mayor of a New England capital. A native of Puerto Rico,Pérez also broke new political ground by forging a bipartisan coalition of community activists and corporate leaders that contributed to his landslide victory. Elected on a platform of administrative reform, educational improvement, and housing development, Pérez received seventy-five percent of the vote on election day. Pérez credited grassroots support for giving him the victory. He also pointed to the reinvigorated sense of citizenship that his campaign had generated in Hartford's Hispanic community. "There was no sense of building social, economic, and cultural capital as Americans,"he told the New York Times shortly after his election, "We have to begin to rebuild that foundation.".
Perez, a Democrat,was re-elected in 2003 in a landslide victory and again in 2007. During his tenure as Mayor, Perez was credited with reforming the Hartford public school system, reducing crime, increasing the city's historically low home ownership rate, increasing the number residents with access to high-speed internet and sparking economic development.
After arrests in 2009 and a conviction in 2010 on charges related to a failed development deal and work done by a city contractor on his house, Perez resigned from office. Even after his conviction Perez claimed that he was innocent and vowed to appeal the conviction. On December 9, 2013 Perez's conviction was overturned by the Connecticut Appellate Court. In its December 9, 2013 ruling the Connecticut Appellate Court vacated Perez's sentence. The Court found the trial judge abused her discretion by trying two unrelated cases at the same time which violated Perez's Constitutional right to a fair trial.
Activities After Leaving Office
Since leaving office Perez has served as a consultant for non-profits working with those living with H.I.V. and other groups engaged in neighborhood development. He also has opened an insurance firm in the City with two other partners on Park Street in Hartford.
- "Statement of Mayor Eddie A. Perez" (PDF). City of Hartford. 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- About Hartford's Mayor. Hartford city government. Retrieved 2009-01-29.