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Lamont promotes local entrepreneurs of color on campaign trail

Lamont promotes …

The governor, who is up for reelection next month against Republican Bob Stefanowski, encouraged voter turnout at a networking event for Black and brown local business owners on Friday.

Casey Lewis 12:18 am, Oct 12, 2022

Contributing Reporter

Casey Lewis, Contributing Photographer

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont swung through New Haven on Friday in a bid to highlight his economic policies and boost support among core constituencies. 

With just weeks before the midterm elections, Lamont’s campaign hosted a networking event for around 100 Black and brown entrepreneurs at the Artspace New Haven’s downtown gallery. The Democrat — who hopes to fend off Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski on Nov. 8 — is leading in recent polls and likely to capture deep-blue New Haven.

“There’s nothing better than being your own boss, nothing better than seeing your dream become reality,” Lamont said “Look at the people in this room, look at the energy, look at the ideas and at the new businesses that are going to get going now.”

Lamont, who founded a cable television business in his early career, touted his business background at the event. He also highlighted his administration’s initiatives geared towards business owners in predominately marginalized and low-income areas, including the $150 million Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund.

Attendees mingled with both the governor and fellow business owners. Entrepreneurs in attendance hailed from a wide range of industries, from landscaping to apparel. Many swapped business cards and phone numbers while sharing business ideas and drawing attention to shared struggles.

“It is important to create a network of Black and brown businesses because we have to stick together,”  said Kevnesha Boyd, owner of Quality Counseling, an organization that is focused on addressing mental health disparity among Connecticut’s Black residents. “America has historically been harmful to communities of color. Black people have been oppressed, and we need safe spaces for ourselves.”

Around one-quarter of the state’s residents are people of color, but less than 13 percent of businesses are minority-owned, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA.

New Haven is a majority-minority city, and Black and brown businesses form a large part of the local economy’s backbone. Beauty Plus, located on Chapel Street, is a Black-owned beauty store that many students from various backgrounds have shopped at over the years. 

“Beauty Plus is a store that many students of color enjoy on campus,” said Aiden Wright ’26. “Whenever I go into the store, I feel safe and extremely welcomed. I feel great knowing that I am helping to empower a group that has been marginalized throughout history.”

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