He was raised in relative poverty in Poughkeepsie, New York. Today he is an Ivy League attorney, civil rights activist, and friend to Hollywood stars like Danny Glover. Henry Fernandez hopes his next big role will be as Mayor of New Haven.
“I think in many ways my life brings together a lot of the experiences, the range of people who live in the city,” Fernandez said.
In his twenties, Fernandez helped launch the youth agency LEAP and later served as New Haven’s Chief Economic Development Administrator under current Mayor John DeStefano. “I was able to lead the city’s efforts to bring IKEA to Long Wharf, to bring Gateway Community College downtown.”
The decision to run for mayor was made after careful consultation with Fernandez’s most trusted advisors, his wife Kika Matos and son, Henry, Jr.
Together, the family lives in the city’s Fair Haven section. “The simple fact that I have to explain to my child about crime that exists in our neighborhood things like drug dealing and prostitution, no one should have to talk to an 8-year-old about those things.”
As a candidate, Fernandez is stumping to transform the Elm City. “Our taxes are going through the roof, and our bond rating is collapsing. That has to be fixed. We also have to tackle crime in this city, its impacting every single family.”
Fernandez says he’s lives a life dedicated to making a difference. He hopes the next chapter involves moving New Haven to a new level.
“I got into this race because I believe we have a great opportunity to make big changes and we need big changes.”