Two Democratic candidates for Ward 1 alderman have officially come forward to seek the party’s nomination.
Daniel Weeks ’06 and Rebecca Livengood ’07, who both attended the first meeting of the newly selected Ward 1 Democratic Committee, announced their candidacy yesterday. Though they are the only candidates who have declared that they are seeking the party’s nomination at this time, others can come forward until March 23, when the committee will convene to decide on a nominee.
As the founder of Students for Clean Elections and director of the Democracy Fund PAC, Weeks said he became interested in New Haven politics through direct involvement, working personally with aldermen, the mayor’s office and Hartford legislators to push for public financing of local elections.
Livengood said she has been involved with New Haven politics through the Undergraduate Organizing Committee, the Fair Share Coalition and the Community Organized for Responsible Development. She said she has worked on issues like pushing a bill that was passed in the state legislature on climate change and promoting the expansion of the Homebuyer Program.
Weeks, who is also actively involved in the Yale College Democrats and the Progressive Coalition, said he is focused on the issues of public election financing, increasing Yale’s voluntary financial commitment to the city, instituting progressive environmental measures and dealing with neighborhood concerns like poverty and community-benefit agreements.
“Over the past three years, having gotten really involved in local politics here, I feel really invested in this city even though I’m not from here,” Weeks said. “New Haven is an amazing city. It’s much more progressive than you typically see, and I think it offers us — if we’re willing to get involved — a remarkable laboratory to experiment with progressive ideas.”
If elected alderwoman, Livengood said she would be interested in working on homelessness and affordable housing initiatives, pressuring the state to pass domestic partnership legislation, pushing for community benefits surrounding hospital development, and environmental issues — particularly the city’s commitment to increasing its use of renewable energy sources.
“I’m really excited about mobilizing students on Yale’s campus to work on New Haven issues,” Livengood said.
Roughly 30 members of the Ward 1 Democratic Committee gathered in the Dwight Hall Chapel during yesterday’s meeting to hear the committee chairs describe the committee’s role and the aldermanic nomination process. In addition, New Haven Democratic Town Committee chairwoman Susan Voigt and Ward 1 Alderman Ben Healey ’04 spoke about the importance of being involved in local politics.
At the March 23 endorsement meeting, candidates will have the opportunity to address the committee for several minutes and answer questions posed by committee members. In the meantime, Ward 1 Democratic Committee co-chair Amia Srinivasan ’07 said she expects candidates for the party’s endorsement will have conversations with individual committee members to present their platforms.
“We hope to create an environment such that all the important conversations can occur between the different candidates and the committee members,” she said.
Srinivasan said she and fellow committee co-chair Nazneen Mehta ’06 will supply candidates with a list of Ward 1 Democratic Committee members and encourage them to speak with Healey to learn more about the position and about New Haven politics.