EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- From the taco turmoil, to the East Haven Police profiling investigation, it's been a pretty tough year for Mayor Joe Maturo. However, now he's making headlines for receiving a prestigious award.
It's fair to say Mayor Maturo has had a rocky start since getting back in office, but now he's getting an award.
"That honors him for what he has done for the town of East Haven," said Carl Ruggerio, Vice Chair of the Republican Town Committee.
The local Republican Town Committee created the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Service Award, naming it after the GOP icon.
The first recipient: Mayor Maturo, despite his controversial taco comment this January, uttered in response to a question about the investigation of police profiling Latinos.
"I think I''l have tacos," he said.
The statement brought international criticism.
Maturo did apologize. However, one local republican blogger questions him receiving a Reagan-inspired award writing, "I am certain Ronald Reagan wouldn't want his name associated with Joe Maturo."
"Some people might think he wasn't a good choice," asked News 8's Erin Cox.
"I don't think so, the only people thinking he wasn't a good choice are coming from the Democratic party," Ruggerio said.
Ruggerio, who was on the committee selecting Maturo for the award, defends the choice
"Why Mayor Maturo," asked Cox.
"Ok, what he did the past 10 years," said Ruggerio. "Forget the slight of his mouth this year, but for past 10 years, the 10 years he was Mayor he did a lot for this town."
The local republicans say this award isn't meant to be political, rather a recognition of community service, adding democrats will be there with them for the ceremony.
"It's a non partisan dinner next year," Ruggerio said, "we might have someone else on, you never know."
As for Mayor Maturo, he tells News 8 he is "flattered" and "honored" to receive the award.
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