Bill Finch was elected Mayor of Bridgeport in November 2007, after serving seven years in the State Senate representing the 22nd Senatorial District. As a result of innovative initiatives and policies under the Finch Administration, the City of Bridgeport has cut spending, brought numerous businesses to its downtown and is cleaner and greener than ever. Finch’s earliest goals as Mayor focused on professionalizing city government, stabilizing the city’s finances and making Bridgeport a more sustainable city.
Mayor Finch has long been a Conservationist, having participated in the first Earth Day celebration at only 14 years-old. Since then, he has been an advocate for programs, legislation and organizations that promote green living and green business in the state of Connecticut. In 2009, Mayor Finch signed an Executive Order to promote sustainability in the Park City. The Mayor then assembled a team of 100 volunteers who worked tirelessly for 18 months to compile the BGreen 2020 initiative, which serves as a “Greenprint” for the City’s overall vision for sustainability.
Among the programs included in the BGreen2020 Initiative are: Solar leasing of rooftops, a comprehensive energy plan and a Parks Master Plan. The City has seen increases in recycling rates, including a 70% increase in the East Side and East End neighborhoods.
Recently, these efforts have been recognized by the American Institute of Architects, which called Bridgeport a “City of Opportunity” in the field of Green expansion. The City of Bridgeport was also given the 2013 City Livability Award by U.S. Conference of Mayors for its accomplishments in Brownfield remediation. In 2011, Mayor Finch was hailed as “Green Mayor of the Year” and a “Green Coast Award Winner.” Most recently, Mayor Finch was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame and named a “Green Advocate” by Business New Haven. In 2013, Bridgeport was named “Tree City USA” for the fourth consecutive year by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Mayor Finch was awarded the Gabe Zimmerman Award for Public Service by the National Community Development Association in recognition of the “exemplary and innovative use of the Community Development Block Grant funds to address the needs of the low and moderate income families, homes and neighborhoods.”
In 2008, the Mayor was recognized for his tax reform efforts with the Regional Impact Award by the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. In April 2009, the Mayor’s dedication to the small business sector in the City of Bridgeport, earned him the prestigious Small Business Advocate Award presented by PartnerAmerica™, a public/private partnership of The United States Conference of Mayors and American Management Services.
A member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Finch was elected to its Advisory Board in June 2009, just 18 months into his term. The Board consists of 27 mayors from around the country who consult with the USCM Executive Committee on all matters related to police and program. The Mayor serves on its Nominating Committee, and was recently appointed as co-chair of the Climate Protection Task Force. In April 2010, he traveled to China as part of a small group of U.S. Mayors to discuss sustainability and green initiatives with their counterparts in China.
In 2013, Mayor Finch was elected President of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), the statewide association of towns and cities for the coming year. As president, Mayor Finch holds the top position in the CCM board of directors, which oversees legislative efforts and all other programs and services it provides to its member towns. Mayor Finch is the first mayor of Bridgeport to be named CCM president since Hugh Curran in 1970.
Mayor Finch has also been instrumental in gun reform efforts across the state. He is an active member of “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” and has worked tirelessly to remove illegal weapons from the streets of Bridgeport. As a part of this effort, he has instituted a successful Gun Buyback program, one of the largest in history, using $150,000 of donated funds to purchase weapons from willing citizens. He has also appeared on MSNBC to speak about gun control initiatives.
Bill Finch grew up in Trumbull and Bridgeport. After graduating from the University of Connecticut, he moved back to Bridgeport where he later became a City Council Member for nine and a half years. While on the City Council, Finch developed a strong record of helping to create new jobs and enhancing public safety by voting to add more police officers to the force and promoting programs such as gun safety lock distribution.
As a councilman Finch also worked hard to enhance Bridgeport’s infrastructure, helping to negotiate the construction of the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the Arena at Harbor Yard, Steel Point, and other key projects, Bill has served as member of the Grow Bridgeport Fund, the Connecticut Zoological Society, and the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation Board of Directors.
In 2000, Finch was elected State Senator for the 22nd district, representing Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Monroe. He served in the legislature as Senate Chairman of the Environment Committee and as Senate Vice Chairman of the Transportation Committee. He was also a member of the Education Committee and the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee.
As a Senator, Finch's legislative priorities included property tax reform, smart growth initiatives, education funding, expanding the Husky healthcare initiative, combating underage drinking, transportation issues, and gun control and crime prevention. Upon arriving at the Senate, Finch initiated the "Who Wants to Change the World?" Contest – an exciting, hands-on program to involve youth with government and inspire them to be active citizens. He also spearheaded an ongoing movement to recognize and preserve the works of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
Mayor Finch received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Connecticut, and while he was there served as the student representative to the University’s Board of Trustees and was elected President of the undergraduate student government. He and his wife, Sonya, have two boys, Atticus and Aiden who both currently attend Bridgeport public schools. His two older sons, Peter and Christopher, both grew up in Bridgeport and attended Bridgeport public schools.