Eric Stewart-Alicea

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Eric Stewart-Alicea
Eric Stewart-Alicea.jpg
Former candidate for
Bridgeport Board of Education, At-large
PartyWorking Families
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sPost University
ProfessionSales professional
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Eric Stewart-Alicea was a Working Families Party candidate for an at-large seat on the Bridgeport Board of Education. He lost election to the board against seven other candidates on November 5, 2013.


Stewart-Alicea earned an undergraduate degree in Finance from Post University in 2011. He worked as a limo driver and AT&T technician before his current position in sales with LegalShield. Stewart-Alicea currently serves as a member of the Park City Youth & Athletics Association and president of the Parent Advisory Council at Classical Studies Academy. He has three children who are currently attending district schools.[1]



See also: Bridgeport Public Schools elections (2013)


Stewart-Alicea lost election to the board against seven other candidates for five available seats on November 5, 2013. He received the endorsement of the Working Families Party along with Andre Baker, Jr. and Sauda Baraka in August 2013.


Bridgeport Public Schools, General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDave Hennessey 20.1% 940
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngHoward Gardner 15.7% 731
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Larcheveque 15.1% 706
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngAndre Baker, Jr. 15.3% 714
     Republican Steve Best 11.8% 550
     Republican John Weldon 10.3% 482
     Working Families Eric Stewart-Alicea 4.2% 194
     Working Families Green check mark transparent.pngSauda Baraka Incumbent 4% 186
     Working Families Andre Baker, Jr. 3.6% 167
Total Votes 4,670
Source: Connecticut Secretary of State, "Municipal Elections - November 5, 2013," accessed December 16, 2013

Campaign themes


Stewart-Alicea explained his reasons for running for a board seat on his campaign's Facebook page:[2]

"Parents are the most important people in a community. I am a parent leader, and I am fighting for the parents.

Recent events convinced me to throw my name into the hat to be considered for a seat on the Board of Education. The first event was an attempt to disenfranchise the citizens of Bridgeport by taking away their right to vote, and the other was the idea that corporate reformers were going to come and save us from ourselves by swooping in and over-testing our children.

I came to the realization that NO BILLIONAIRE is going to come to Bridgeport and save us.

I came to realize that it starts right here, with me, a concerned parent of my kids, all of them...all 21,000 of them that go to a Bridgeport Public School.

I know that potential greatness walks the halls of our schools. It is time for us to support, encourage, and respect our students."

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

Democratic incumbents Leticia Colon, Thomas Mulligan, Jr. and Bobby Simmons did not file for re-election in 2013. The Democratic primary yielded a slate including Andre Baker, Jr., Dave Hennessey and Howard Gardner. Although the candidates were not endorsed by the party's town committee, all three won election to the board.[3] The Bridgeport Republican Town Committee selected Steve Best, John Weldon and Joe Larcheveque as their candidates for the board. Weldon was the only Republican pick to not win election to the board.[4] The Working Families Party sought to retain two seats and pick up a Democratic seat by endorsing incumbent Stewart-Alicea and Sauda Baraka, as well as Democratic candidate Baker. Neither Baraka nor Stewart-Alicea won election to the board.[5]


Board relations with Mayor Finch

The main issue during the Bridgeport Board of Education elections in 2013 was the relationship between the board, Democratic Mayor Bill Finch and Superintendent Paul Vallas. Finch has been criticized for his efforts to orchestrate a state takeover of the school board by the state in July 2011. The mayor argued that conflict on the board prevented reforms necessary to improve test scores and reduce budget deficits.[6] This effort allowed the state to appoint new board members and appoint education reformer Paul Vallas as superintendent. In February 2012, the Connecticut State Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the state takeover was unconstitutional and resumed local control over schools. Five members of the board who were replaced by state appointees were reinstated after the ruling and four new members were elected during a special election in spring 2012. The Democratic and Working Families candidates in the 2013 election had hoped to take all five available seats to counter reform efforts by Finch, Vallas and current board members. However, two seats were picked up by Republican candidates Joe Larcheveque and Steve Best.

Board relations with Superintendent Vallas

Paul Vallas was appointed by the state as Superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools in January 2012. Vallas, a former school administrator in New Orleans and Chicago, has been criticized for budget cuts as well as excessive testing. Critics like board member Sauda Baraka have focused on the use of standardized testing every six weeks and resource deprivation in the classroom as reasons to oust Vallas. Supporters, including Mayor Finch, note that the district has closed a budget deficit and placed local schools on the right path. The Democratic and Working Families candidates in the 2013 election were vocal opponents of Vallas.[7] Vallas is currently serving under a three-year contract approved by a majority of board members in 2013 which opponents are challenging in state court.[8]

About the district

See also: Bridgeport Public Schools, Connecticut
Bridgeport Public Schools is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Bridgeport Public Schools is located in Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut and the county seat for Fairfield County. Bridgeport is located along the Long Island Sound with the Pequonnock River cutting through the downtown district. The population of Bridgeport was 60,477 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[9]


Bridgeport lags behind the rest of Connecticut based on median income and higher education achievement while outperforming the state poverty rate. The 2010 U.S. Census found the median income in Bridgeport was $60,032 while the state median income was $69,243. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (21.7%) was lower than the state average (35.7%). The city's poverty rate was 8.2% compared to the state's 9.5% poverty rate.[9]

Racial Demographics, 2010[9]
Race Bridgeport (%) Connecticut (%)
White 87.7 77.6
Black or African American 3.8 10.1
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.2 0.3
Asian 1.9 3.8
Two or More Races 2.5 2.6
Hispanic or Latino 9.6 13.4

Presidential Voting Pattern[10]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 85.7 13.8
2008 83.5 16
2004 70.7 27.8
2000 72.7 22.1

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[11][12]

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