Hearing news about election results in Bridgeport, Connecticut motivates one Washingtonian to never give up.
Harold Tomilson was excited to learn Joe Ganim was elected mayor of Bridgeport; Connecticut’s largest city. He declared victory in a race involving seven opponents, but he was the only one who is a returning citizen.
This was of special interest to Tomilson because he’s a returning citizen who calls Washington, D.C.’s Ward 5 neighborhood home. It’s a stark departure of a three year span of his life. Tomilson spent those years in a Georgia state prison for drugs and assault. After he did this time and completed his probation he decided to move to D.C. to live in a distant cousin’s basement. He’s been living there for the last year and half.
“Ive got a job working on cars part time,” he said, “but I want to find something more permanent. And having a payroll job is better than selling drugs or trying to beat up people.”
Tomilson believes hearing about Ganim’s victory on November 3, motivates him to not give up on his desire to stay out of jail and/or prison.
Joe Ganim was once the mayor of Bridgeport who later was convicted on 16 of 22 counts: one count each of racketeering, extortion, racketeering conspiracy and bribery; two counts of bribery conspiracy; eight counts of mail fraud, and two counts of filing a false tax return. The government believed he was steering city contracts in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in expensive wine, custom clothes, cash and home improvements. He was to sentenced to seven years in federal prison and released five years ago and has worked as a legal assistant at his family’s Bridgeport law firm.
Tomilson believes Ganim’s journey is like David and Goliath.
“I had heard about Ganim when somebody told me about this ex-con defeating an incumbent for mayor somewhere in New England,” Tomilson said. He’s referring to Ganim’s defeat of Bill Finch in Bridgeport’s democratic primary. Finch has held the job for the past eight years.
He added, “Not only did this guy defeat an incumbent, but he also sorta went against the odds and overcame the previous incarceration problem.” Tomilson also believes Ganim’s time behind bars could also help with the growing trend of more of a bipartisan approach to helping those who have been incarcerated. “When you’ve got someone out there in a real position to make serious change, and that person happens to have been incarcerated, then I see that as a real success for everybody; whether they’ve been to prison or not.”
Back when Ganim was convicted, a news outlet in Connecticut state, “But today’s conviction appeared to be a career-ending blow…” It looks more like his career was simply put on hold.