Despite her late entry into the race, Democrat Eva Bermudez Zimmerman quickly generated enough buzz around her candidacy for lieutenant governor to challenge political veteran Susan Bysiewicz for the party’s spot on the ticket.
Bermudez Zimmerman was able to garner support from 40 percent of delegates at the Democrats’ May 19 convention, despite only forming an exploratory committee in February and officially entering the race just days before the nominating convention.
Since then, she has racked up endorsements from several unions, the Working Families Party, and even San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.
“Voters are looking for change, voters are excited about trying to basically have a foundation of reality where the middle class has an opportunity,” Bermudez Zimmerman said Friday during a visit to the Record-Journal for an episode of the “Morning Record.”
Bermudez Zimmerman and Bysiewicz, the endorsed candidate, are vying for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in the Aug. 14 primary. The winner will be paired with the Democratic gubernatorial candidate — endorsed candidate Ned Lamont or Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim — against the GOP-nominated ticket in the November election.
Neither Gov. Dannel P. Malloy or Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman are seeking re-election.
If elected, Bermudez Zimmerman said she will be an advocate for working and middle class families. An organizer with the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU — she is currently on a leave of absence for the campaign.
She said the state can close its deficit — the next administration will inherit a projected shortfall of $4.5 billion — with “progressive taxing,” including a tax on big box retailers who provide no insurance coverage.
The legislature in recent years has considered taxes or fees aimed at collecting revenue for health insurance and other welfare benefits.
Bermudez Zimmerman thinks the state can grow its economy through support for jobs in clean energy and by doing more to prepare students for manufacturing jobs. She also thinks the state can do more to ensure businesses have access to high speed internet, pointing to efforts by New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and others in recent years to improve service.
She also said she supports the legalization of marijuana, expansions of gambling vetted through public hearing and approved by the legislature, and tolls if they are structured in a way that is not regressive.
As for President Donald Trump, Bermudez Zimmerman said executive branch leaders are elected to represent and defend their constituents. Her parents settled in Hartford from Puerto Rico, and she said her life story demonstrates this is especially true on issues like immigration.
For more from Bermudez Zimmerman, listen to the “Morning Record”, the Record-Journal’s daily podcast, at https://bit.ly/2O4XfM0