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Democrat Scott Rosado’s campaign emphasizes more money for police, support for small businesses

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By DON STACOM | Hartford Courant
March 23, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

In his campaign to become Bristol’s mayor, Democrat Scott Rosado insists that his views can’t be pigeonholed as either left wing or right wing: He supports both social justice initiatives and more money for police.

“You can feel the vibe from the federal level on down, but personally I’m very bipartisan. Social justice issues I’m passionate about, and I’m conservative in a lot of ways,” said Rosado, a former city council member who recently announced his mayoral campaign.

“Having a small business, I know what it’s like to work with all types of people,” said Rosado, who predicted he could work successfully if voters elect him and a GOP-dominated council. “I believe that regardless of the (party affiliation) letter behind the name, we can all work together. That’s what I’m looking for in our slate.”

Although the Democratic Town Committee won’t endorse candidates until the summer, the mayoral race so far appears likely to have Republican incumbent Jeff Caggiano running against Rosado.

Both men have watched dramatic turnarounds in the past few election cycles. Following sex harassment scandals, voters soundly threw Republican Mayor Ken Cockayne out of office in 2017 and gave Republicans just one of the six city council seats. Two years later, the GOP lost that, too, as Democratic Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu swept to reelection accompanied by an all-Democratic council.

But 2021 was a startling turnaround: The entire Democratic ticket went down to defeat as Caggiano and a team of freshmen GOP candidates won the mayor’s office and every council seat.

Former Democratic town Chairman Morris “Rippy” Patton is hoping that his longtime friend Rosado can provide a better result this November.

“It would be hard for Bristol to claim a better candidate to represent the community. I’ve known Scott since he was 13, I know his personal life and his business life. We hit a jackpot with him as the candidate, and the city will hit Powerball if he gets elected,” Patton said Wednesday.

Rosado, 48, first served on the council when Zoppo-Sassu appointed him in early 2019 to fill out an unexpired term. That fall, he won election to a full term, and garnered more votes than any other Democrat on the council ballot. He was again the top Democratic council votegetter in 2021, but this time that brought no success: Republicans won across the board.

As the owner of a small Bristol business for more than 30 years, Rosado is confident that he can effectively represent a segment of the community that is usually viewed as Republican-leaning. Rosado is also intent on presenting a platform on law enforcement that’s different from those of many Democrats.

“One of our most important issues is public safety. Defund the police? Absolutely not,” Rosado said.

“Our (police) recruitment and retention are low, we have to do better with that. We’re always running under the allotted (police) strength, we have to get back to where we’re up to the full number — and we need a higher number, too,” Rosado said. ‘I’d love to have sign-up bonuses. More incentives have to be given.”

Rosado said he’d support bigger police recruitment drives to reach throughout the city. At the same time, he wants to continue the police department’s ongoing community outreach work.

“During the protests about George Floyd, Bristol was an example of how to address protests. And I think my presence on the council as one of the only minorities helped relate with a lot of the community,” said Rosado, who served on both the police commission and the mayor’s diversity council.

Rosado is a Bristol Central High School graduate and for more than 30 years has run M.R. Home Care. His son runs the local Primo Press embroidery and screen printing company, and Rosado is co-owner of Quality Home Care, a medical home care business serving Waterbury and Danbury.

Rosado said that after growing up in low-income sections of the city, he is able to see the viewpoints of a wide range of Bristol residents.

“I can see this community through all the demographics, I know what each sector needs. I take pride in understanding that,” he said. “You really have to address everybody. And when you pinpoint a person to just a party, it becomes unrelatable. I’m very supportive of our veterans, our seniors, our youth: Everything intersects.”

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