Mayor Erin E. Stewart is the 40th Mayor of the City of New Britain, Connecticut. She was first elected at the age of 26 in 2013 then was reelected five times since. Mayor Stewart is the youngest Mayor, the only multiple term female Mayor, and the longest serving Republican Mayor in City history.
Mayor Stewart was born on May 4, 1987 in New Britain to Patricia (Badolato) and former New Britain Mayor Timothy Stewart, who served from 2003 to 2011. Her uncle, the late State Representative Dominic J. Badolato (D), represented New Britain in the Connecticut General Assembly for 22 years. Mayor Stewart’s entire family has a longstanding commitment to serving their neighbors in New Britain, and she is proud to continue that tradition.
Mayor Stewart has earned accolades for her leadership and results-driven style of governing. She closed a deficit of more than $30 million during her first term and has since increased the City’s Rainy Day fund to $22 million, bringing stability and responsibility back to the City’s finances. Under Mayor Stewart’s leadership, the City’s Standard and Poor’s bond rating has increased by four notches to “A+.” As a result of these efforts, Mayor Stewart and New Britain have been featured twice on the front cover of the Bond Buyer, the nation’s leading municipal finance newspaper as a model for other communities.
Under her leadership, New Britain is undergoing a dramatic economic turnaround. For nine years in a row the City’s grand list has increased. New businesses like Costco, Polamer Precision, Addaero, Connecticut Cabinetry, the Alvarium Beer Co., Mofongo, Frisbies Dairy Barn, Five Churches Brewing, and countless others have chosen to expand, relocate, or establish themselves in New Britain because of her business friendly acumen. Since Mayor Stewart’s election in 2013, there have been 1,470 new businesses opened in New Britain.
Mayor Stewart has leveraged the opportunities presented by the opening of CTfastrak in 2015 by creating a master Transit Oriented Development plan to transform vacant or underused parcels near the City’s three stations to create a community where people of all ages and economic backgrounds want to live, work, and play. Investments by the City have attracted numerous housing and development projects. One of these projects includes Columbus Commons, a $58 million mixed-use development featuring housing, retail, and office space at the site of the former New Britain Police Department, just steps from the City’s downtown CTfastrak terminal. Mayor Stewart’s commitment to transforming these neighborhoods has attracted other developments in the downtown area, including the historic renovation of 57 Court Street, the renovation of the thirty year vacant Burritt Bank, along with additional apartments on Main Street, West Main Street, and several other areas.
Under Mayor Stewart’s leadership, New Britain has invested significant resources to address the issues of homelessness, addiction and youth prevention in a holistic manner. The City’s Opioid Task force, Homelessness Plan, and Local Prevention Council have been brought under the umbrella of a new program called New Britain Recovers. New Britain Recovers is a consortium of the many individuals and community resources that provide services in these critical areas. These efforts lead by Mayor Stewart continue New Britain’s tradition of compassionate service and care for those who have encountered difficult struggles in their lives and that need a helping hand.
Mayor Stewart launched the SMART City Committee as a way to make New Britain a “SMART City.” The goal of the committee is to reduce the cost of government, harness new technologies, and make more efficient use of existing resources. Projects implemented include a redesigned City website, a large solar array at the Shuttle Meadow Water Treatment Plant, electric vehicle charging stations, a fuel cell at New Britain High School, LED lights in City buildings, free downtown wireless internet, downtown parking meter upgrades, and more. Other initiatives have included a mobile app called SeeClickFix that allows residents report a pothole or other issue directly to Public Works, upgrading downtown traffic lights so they can be realigned in real-time, and a free textile recycling program.
At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Mayor Stewart took action and established a plan to combat the virus head on. She invested significant sums of Federal CARES Act monies into City Safety Infrastructure upgrades, an education and marketing initiative designed to help support struggling small businesses, and direct investments to families struggling to make ends meet through food pantry support and remediation services. Additionally, Mayor Stewart won praise from her community for her social media “40 Live” video series where she relayed direct information to the public on safety measures, testing locations, and the statewide COVID-19 vaccination distribution roll out.
Mayor Stewart sets out to inspire other individuals—especially City youth and young women—to develop the confidence and leadership qualities they need to grow and give back to their community. A former volunteer New Britain High School softball coach, Mayor Stewart has been a keynote speaker at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s ‘When Women Lead’ conference, a repeat speaker at Central Connecticut State University’s ‘Elect-Her’ series, and a frequent visitor to area schools where she is proud to instill a lifelong pursuit of learning and community service.
Mayor Stewart continues to be humbled by the recognition she has received for her service and leadership. She was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s Power 50 list in 2022, and Connecticut Magazine named her one of their “40 Under 40”. The Greater New Britain Arts Alliance has also awarded Mayor Stewart “Public Servant of the Year”, and she has been the subject of in-depth profiles by national media outlets like the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Time Magazine, and Newsmax. Hartford Magazine readers also named Mayor Stewart Best Politician in Connecticut in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, as well as Best Community Leader in Connecticut in 2021, 2022, and 2023.