Salman Hamid: Resident turned politician
By Owen Kingsley
“The only regret I have is I wish I had more time. I was far behind in money. I was far behind in days. While everyone was announcing their candidacy in January, I was still teaching school, and I had no idea this was coming.”
For Wintergreen Social Studies teacher Salman Hamid, running for mayor was a pipe dream. Hamid is someone who stays active in his community by doing charity work and maintaining his position on the cleaning green commission, so all he wanted was to see Hamden be the best it could be.
“I ran because I love my community, and I want the best for it,” Hamid said. “Mayor Leng and I had different visions of doing that but we both shared that ideal.”
A Hamden resident since childhood, Hamid grew up loving his town. He saw the opportunity to run for mayor as a way of continuing to grow his community.
“I just wanted to see the town that raised me become the best version of itself. I thought I had some good ideas in which to do that,” Hamid said.
His efforts, however, came up short as Mayor Curtis Leng was re-elected for his second term for the town of Hamden with 74 percent of the vote on November 7.
“At first, it was a bit of a shocker. Then you realize it’s fine, it was an uphill battle from day one no matter what,” Hamid said. “People tend to forget that everyone had started across Connecticut in January, and I had started in late July. So, here’s a guy who walked off the street running on a very unpopular ticket, because, unfortunately, people associate a Republican with being a Trump supporter.”
“By the time I was relaxing over the summer, my opponent already had $40,000 in the bank, and I was still relaxing. So I was completely behind the 8 ball. So of course I knew I was the underdog, but I played to win. I was aggressive as I possibly could be.”
After the results came out, Hamid mentioned he did speak with his opponent afterward.
“We talked briefly on election night. I congratulated him on a good run...on a well run campaign,” Hamid said. “I do plan on being actively involved in community events, and I’m sure I’ll see him there. And at the end of the day, we both live in town as we had spoken of, and we had different visions, but we both want the town to do well in our own ways.”
Hamid reflected on his campaign for a while, reiterating his only regret being his slow start. When asked about what was next for him, Hamid discussed his current job and the possibility of a future in politics.
“I love my job, It’s a great school and I have great colleagues to work with. Good kids, you know, and, like I said, I wouldn’t trade teaching for the world. I do enjoy it a lot,” Hamid said. “But no matter what I do next, I was told do not stop. Because people who were politically and non politically affiliated said I did very, very well given everything that went against me. You also have to understand there were no republicans running in districts one through eight. They went unopposed. So no one was out there either promoting my name, and I was still able to get that many votes.”
Through his Campaign, Hamid gained recognition and opportunities in ways he would have never expected. He is keeping his promise to work with the “Gimme Shelter” foundation that gives shelter to homeless pets. He has been asked to join the League of Women Voters to help assist groups of women who traditionally have not voted to participate.
“A lot of people from South-East Asia and muslim-affiliated women voted for the first time in their lives this past election, which was impressive.”
Hamid also continues to work with various elderly homes. He has even had a few businesses grab his attention.
“When I was campaigning, I had a lot of interesting opportunities - I won’t say the names yet - that I could venture into part-time because people liked how I spoke. They felt I was confident,” Hamid said. “So, some opportunities came up that I might be interested in doing while I’m still teaching. I’m actually really good at sales, but my passion is teaching.”
Considering everything that Hamid went up against, I asked him what his thoughts are about a potential future run at Mayor again. Of course preparedness was the key to any possibility of that.
“It’s going to be top secret until I know what’s going on with the playing field,” Hamid said. “I’ve learned how to become a political animal and so I’ll sit and watch and observe the environment, the culture, what’s going on, the economics and I’ll make a calculated decision come January 2019. So, I guess, hold tight onto your seats and wait for the ride and we’ll see come that time.”