Eddie Perez (politician)

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Eddie Pérez
Hartford mayor Eddie Pérez, May 12, 2008.jpg
Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut
In office
January 1, 2001 – June 25, 2010
Preceded by Michael P. Peters
Succeeded by Pedro Segarra
Personal details
Born 1957
Corozal, Puerto Rico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Maria Perez
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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

On July 14th, 2016 The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld [4] the December 9, 2013 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court overturning 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,[5] and vacated his sentence.[6]

Youth and early career[edit]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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,[9] as a national model for education and public/private cooperation.

Term as mayor[edit]

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.".[7]

Perez, a Democrat,was re-elected in 2003 in a landslide victory and again in 2007.[10] 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.[2]

After arrests in 2009 and a conviction (later overturned[11]) in 2010 on charges related to a failed development deal and work done by a city contractor on his house, Perez resigned from office.[12] Even after his conviction Perez claimed that he was innocent and vowed to appeal the conviction.[13] Some, at the time of the Perez investigation, wondered if there was a connection between the Governor's Chief of Staff, the Chief State's Attorney and the investigation of Perez, a political opponent of the Governor [14][15] On December 9, 2013 Perez's conviction was overturned by the Connecticut Appellate Court.[6] 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.[16]

Activities After Leaving Office[edit]

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.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/topics/?topic=Eddie+Perez
  2. ^ a b "Mr. Perez For Mayor". HartfordInfo.org. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  3. ^ Pazniokas, Mark (2014-05-14). "Improved graduation rates give Malloy a campaign talking point". The CT Mirror. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  4. ^ Cohen, Jeff. "State’s High Court Overturns Convictions of Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Appeals Court: Perez Should Get New Trials - tribunedigital-thecourant". Courant.com. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  7. ^ a b "Eddie Alberto Pérez: 1957—: Political Leader Biography - Hartford, Community, College, and City - JRank Articles". Biography.jrank.org. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ "SINA: The Learning Corridor and Beyond". HartfordInfo.org. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  10. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/nyregion/07conn.html?_r=0
  11. ^ Cohen, Jeff. "State’s High Court Overturns Convictions of Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  12. ^ "Statement of Mayor Eddie A. Perez" (PDF). City of Hartford. 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  13. ^ "Perez Gets Three Years - Courant Community". Courant.com. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  14. ^ "State's Top Prosecutor Stepped On Wrong Toes - tribunedigital-thecourant". Articles.courant.com. 2006-06-11. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  15. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/30/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/01ctweek.html?_r=0
  16. ^ "Court Orders Two New Trials For Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez | WNPR News". Wnpr.org. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  17. ^ Posted 10:36 PM, October 22, 2013, by msassofoxct (2013-10-22). "Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez To Open Insurance Company | FOX 61". Foxct.com. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 

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