While the decision to go into Nov. 7 as a write-in candidate was settling in, the two former Democratic Party opponents continued their war of words this week.
Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, who decided to put his name into the mix on Election Day, accused the Rossi campaign of being “condescending” in a recent press statement said by the now-endorsed candidate.
The focus of this week’s intramural battle is a statement made by Rossi in the wake of her Sept. 12 win. O’Brien took umbrage at the remark.
“Last week Nancy Rossi remarked to the press, ‘Do they want a jewelry store owner…or do they want a certified public accountant to take care of their finances?’” said O’Brien. “Whether it’s a jeweler, a baker, or a restaurant owner, small business owners are the backbone of West Haven’s economy. For Nancy Rossi to imply that these individuals are not qualified leaders is disrespectful and absurd, and she owes every small business owner in our city an apology.”
Rossi said her criticism was not of small business, but one particular business owner.
“I have nothing but respect and admiration for all of our West Haven business owners. My issue is that Mayor O’Brien has yet to balance a budget and under his two terms in office has put West Haven at the brink of insolvency. West Haven now has the second lowest bond rating behind Hartford and is the only municipality in the state with a negative budget reserve ($16 million). If our business owners ran their businesses like Mayor O’Brien runs the City of West Haven they would not be in business long,” she said.
As far as her relationship with the city’s business community, she expects it to be a forthright approach.
“I want to work with our small business owners and all of our West Haven businesses to help them improve and expand to create more local job opportunities. This issue has nothing to do with local business and everything to do with Mayor O’Brien being an incompetent mayor,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Rossi campaign has announced it will not run any candidates on the third-party line that was established earlier in the campaign. Rossi’s campaign petitioned for a third-party line under the name, “A Better Choice” last month.
According to Rossi campaign Chairman Michael Last the necessity for it no longer exists.
“The independent option was a contingency plan. If there were problems with the petition certification process, we would have a backup plan. We respect the result of the primary and want to unify the party. We have invited the successful candidates from the O’Brien camp to join our endorsed Democrats headed by Nancy Rossi for Mayor. The bottom line is that we need to bring the party together and move West Haven forward,” said Last.
Rossi said the primary is over, and the task ahead is to unite the party.
“The Democratic voters came out to vote in the primary last week and made their choice. Now they expect us to work together and improve our city,” said Rossi.