WATERBURY, CT – Tyler McElrath, a repossession driver and political newcomer who can’t recall the last time he voted, says he’s running for mayor of the city to re-engage residents with the political process.
McElrath, 31, of 29 Calumet St., is the fifth entry into Waterbury’s mayoral race, but his name won’t appear on the ballot. He’s filed paperwork to qualify as a write-in.
That’s a long-shot for an unaffiliated candidate without party backing or any tangible political experience. According to McElrath’s campaign finance paperwork, he doesn’t intend to raise or spend more than $1,000.
McElrath says he’s running because of a recent realization that nothing is improving for the better in the city. He said he’s aiming to awaken others to the political process, mostly through face-to-face encounters and social media.
“Citizens have been cut out of a lot of conversations when it comes to crime, education, the budget, when it comes to how our money is spent,” McElrath said.
There are many chances for the public to address city officials on the budget and other matters, but few use these opportunities. The aldermen list their email and phone contacts on the city’s website. Most include their cellphone numbers. The public is allowed to address the board at every one of its meetings, which are generally held every other week. Aldermen have two hearings yearly solely to get feedback on the budget. Nobody spoke up at the last one, in March, concerning Mayor Neil M. O’Leary’s $415.4 million budget proposal.