Mayce Torres

My name is Mayce Torres, Candidate for Mayor City of New Haven, first Puerto Rican woman candidate, from an under served community. 

Systemic Racism in our political systems have left us, black and brown communities underrepresented in public office.  

My candidature marks a historic milestone. What has taken so long to get voices like mine heard in the city?

The reason is systemic racism. As someone from my community, a Hispanic, a woman, inner city resident. I have grown up in the corner of isms and racism. Nothing has been handed to me on a silver platter. I have had to fight for everything that I have had all my life. 

As a migrant, we learned marked poverty. Was raised by a Vietnam veteran airborne, and after his death at the tender age of 8, I came to live here in New Haven where my mom raised my sister and I as a single parent home. My mom worked two jobs and baked cakes to make ends meet. At that time minimum wage was less than $8.00 per hour. 

I grew in the same community I stand for today.

I will confess, I do not fit into the typical profile of a political seat much less as a Mayor. I did not graduate from Ivy League university, I do not have a network of well to do friends, I do not have an average net income of a million dollars. My college degree is in Psychology. Today I service veterans for a living. But, what I do bring to the table is the wisdom of the experience. I know what it means to be poor, I know what it means to have food and housing insecurities. I know what it is to watch loved ones struggle with drug abuse, and mental health illness.

I bring the experience that most powerfully informs the seat I seek as a Mayor of my city, City of New Haven.

Poverty is the one determining factor on how active a group will be in politics. It will also determine their political power. Poverty and affordable housing are key in this movement because it will open doors not just to marginalized but all who live in this city.

Poverty is at the core of life in our city. Poverty poisons everything around us. In our city there is racially concentrated poverty. We have the worst outcomes in every arena of life when you come from poverty. More criminality, less public safety, worst housing maintenance, lower levels of civic and political engagement, less access to transit and healthy meals, and lack of health care.

Since the death of Mr. George Floyds and the many since, we now know and understand racism to be a health disparity. Our main goal should be to break the vicious cycle and empower communities economically and politically.

Poverty is something we are born into. I am certain we would not choose it for ourselves if we had that kind of power. It affects us very deeply, it affects our children. We see our kids not testing as well, not graduating, and not earning as much. Thus this affects the quality and longevity of our lives and it is a health disparity that must be consciously worked on in our city by creation of local jobs, support pay equity, support paid leave and sick days, affordable high quality day care and early education, and eradicate any form of racism.

I am proud to say my father fought for our rights. Today that affords me the opportunity to stand for our rights too. Being a Puerto Rican, inner city resident, a woman, many say I do not have a chance but I say that is not true because I am an American. The land of the free, the land of the brave. The land where we come to make our dreams come true. Persistence outweighs resistance. Perhaps you say she is not well connected, not an Ivy Leaguer, not rich, not a lawyer; what is her appeal? Simply put I care!

Against all odds, and expectations I am already triumphant. If I can run, so can you. That alone in a place where we are so underrepresented and fearful, it is my hope that seeing you in me is a victory, and I am sure many more where I came from will be less tempted to think “no, I can’t” but think Yes, I can!