Former Bridgeport Board of Education member Maria Pereira, a controversial presence in her battle against the political establishment, has thrown the Connecticut Working Families Party under the bus announcing her resignation as local party chair” because the Working Families Party has indicated its intention to support the re-election of Governor Dannel Malloy, I cannot be a part of or associated with any such effort.”

Pereira has been critical of Malloy’s education agenda as well as his support for the state takeover of Bridgeport schools in 2011 that was overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court. Malloy was endorsed by the WFP in 2010. Tom Foley received more votes on the Republican line than Malloy received on the Democratic line. The WFP votes made the difference. Running on the WFP line, Pereira was elected to the school board in 2009 and served one four-year term. She had also served as the Bridgeport WFP chair.

Pereira was a lightning on the school board, even accusing local Democrats of a “plantation” mentality. Hey, what’s party politics without a few slaves?

Excerpt from Maria Pereira’s resignation letter:

However, because the Working Families Party has indicated its intention to support the re-election of Governor Dannel Malloy, I cannot be a part of or associated with any such effort.

I believed that with a Democrat in the Governor’s Office, for the first time in two decades, those of us who were working for better educational outcomes for public school students in our urban centers would find a supportive and encouraging governor.

How wrong I was!

One of Governor Malloy’s first efforts was to disenfranchise the voters of Bridgeport by installing a corporate Board of Education. By trampling upon the democratic process, Governor Malloy exhibited his disdain and contempt for the people of the City of Bridgeport and proved that he is a willing accomplice of the corporate educational establishment.

I had hoped for a governor who would work with the elected Board of Education. Instead, we were subjected to a hostile takeover, the arrogance of a corporate board, and contempt for the Rule of Law.

I believe that the hard working men and women of the City of Bridgeport are as fully capable as their counterparts in Fairfield and Stratford, of electing their own leaders. Governor Malloy has demonstrated that he does not share this belief.

Therefore, in light of your support of the re-election of Governor Malloy, I cannot be associated with or be a part of the Working Families Party in any way.

Please consider this letter my formal resignation from the Connecticut Working Families State Committee effective immediately.

News release from WFP responding to Pereira’s resignation:

On Sunday, March 30th, former Bridgeport Board of Education Member Maria Pereira resigned from the Connecticut Working Families Party State Committee. Maria has been a tireless champion for students and parents in Bridgeport since 2009, and we wish her success organizing parents to advocate for strong public schools for all children. We have been proud to work with her on these issues over the years, and are optimistic we will find each other as partners again in the future as we all work for quality public education.

Maria cites the upcoming gubernatorial election as a reason for her break with the party. The Working Families Party has a rigorous and democratic process for choosing our nominees, and there is lively debate within the Working Families Party about the best choice for us this year. But the party has not made any endorsement yet and any speculation that we have a candidate selected in advance is simply false.

The Working Families Party looks at the records of all the candidates, regardless of political party, and endorses the one who will stand up for working-class, middle-class and poor families. The process starts with an extensive questionnaire on topics ranging from the right to organize a union in the workplace, to fair wages and benefits, to protecting public education. This year, the Working Families Party will also hold a candidates’ forum for our members to hear from and publicly question candidates seeking our endorsement. Our leadership and members will also hold interviews with interested candidates. Only after all of this will the state committee officially decide whether or not to endorse a candidate for Governor, and which.

As has always been the case, the Working Families Party will endorse the candidate who will be the most effective advocate for policies that benefit hardworking families across the state. We’ve always been clear about our values. On some issues, like education, we have disagreed with the Governor. On others, like paid sick days, organizing rights, and the minimum wage, we have aligned with him. There will be extensive discussion and debate as the Working Families Party decides how to proceed with our endorsements.

A vote on the Working Families line counts for the best candidate, but also sends a message to Democrats and Republicans that it’s time to put working families first. It is a vote for an economy that works for all of us, not just the rich and powerful. Voting on the Working Families line lets people support for the values they believe in and still impact the election. It is a protest vote that actually counts.

(Photo: Ned Gerard | CTPost)

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