NEW BRITAIN - City voters have more than two choices for mayor in Tuesdayâ€™s election, as Al Mayo is, once again, a petitioning candidate for the office now held by Republican Erin Stewart.
Mayo, who ran unsuccessfully in 2015, said this election will be different.
Finding his way to New Britain
Mayo was born at a military facility in St. Louis before his family relocated to Connecticut.
His father, Johnny Mayo, served in the Army, inspiring his son to join the Army shortly after he graduated from Groton High School.
Mayo spent two years of his Army stint in Germany, where he fell in love with the countryâ€™s culture.
â€śI liked the diversity of the people and I liked a lot of things going on in the country,â€ť the 62-year-old Mayo said.
After his service, Mayo took advantage of the GI Bill to attend colleges, including the University of New Haven, Tunxis Community College and Manchester Community College. Mayo said he eventually earned a paralegal certification.
Mayo moved to New Britain in 1988, originally entering into a one-year lease because he wasnâ€™t sure how long heâ€™d stay. But he soon grew to call the Hardware City his home.
â€śI got here, I loved it, and I havenâ€™t left ever since,â€ť Mayo told The Herald. â€śNew Britain reminded me of Germany so much, with its diversity.â€ť
Involvement in politics
Mayo said he was a community activist in New London before moving to New Britain. His main focus there was improving housing conditions.
â€śI found discrimination still existed through housing,â€ť Mayo said. â€śIn order for us to change anything, you have to basically be part of the solution.â€ť
This would remain one of his focuses after moving to New Britain.
â€śMy idol was always Martin Luther King. I fight for the people, with the people,â€ť Mayo said.
Mayoâ€™s reason for running is simple: He believes that for the past 12 years, New Britain has not had good choices in its mayoral elections.
â€śWe keep going backward instead of forward,â€ť Mayo said.
Mayo said he would support businesses in hopes of making the cityâ€™s economic growth stronger. The candidate also said he would push to reduce taxes and balance the budget.
Mayo also said his lack of experience in politics is attractive to voters, who he says are fed up with career politicians and professionals.
â€śIf I am elected, we will get the job done,â€ť Mayo said.
2015 vs. 2017
Mayo was a petitioning candidate for mayor in July 2015 when he was charged with breach of peace and third-degree assault the day after he allegedly grabbed Mayor Erin Stewart and used profanity during the annual â€śPencil Huntâ€ť at Walnut Hill Park. He was asked by a Stewart aide to leave the event, which had drawn more than 400 area children.
Mayo was arrested again on Oct. 19, 2015, on a charge that he had falsely reported racially inflammatory incidents after filing a police complaint that a local businessman had used a racial slur against him. Police said Mayoâ€™s allegation was untrue.
Last week, Mayo appeared in court to ask for an immediate dismissal of his criminal cases. A judge denied Mayoâ€™s motion to remove his stand-by attorney last week and told him heâ€™d have to wait until Dec. 14 to have the motion to dismiss heard.
Mayo said that he believes this yearâ€™s election will be much different than 2015â€™s, in which he got only 112 votes.
â€śIt was a smear campaign,â€ť Mayo said both of 2015 and his pending legal cases. â€śI think people have begun to see beyond that.â€ť
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.