Livengood gets Dems’ backing

The Yale College Democrats voted Monday night to endorse Ward 1 incumbent Alderwoman Rebecca Livengood ’07 over Nick Shalek ’05 in the upcoming election Nov. 8.

Livengood, the Democratic Party’s candidate, was appointed by New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. in August to fill the seat vacated by Ben Healey ’04, who accepted a job in Boston. Shalek, a Democrat running as an independent, currently lives in New Haven and works in the Yale Investments Office. Ward 1 includes a large portion of the Yale community, including Old Campus and seven residential colleges.

Alissa Stollwerk ’06, president of the College Democrats, made the announcement to the organization’s members in an e-mail following the general meeting.

“The Yale College Democrats have voted overwhelmingly to endorse Rebecca Livengood,” Stollwerk said immediately after the votes were counted. “We are looking forward to working with Rebeccca to get out the vote in Ward 1.”

College Democrats Vice President Daniel Munz ’06 emphasized the importance of consensus to a successful campaign.

“The Yale College Democrats are proud we served our member’s best interests by presenting them with an important choice they had to make,” Munz said. “It’s important we be united going forward.”

Livengood said she was “very honored” in light of the outcome.

Shalek said he did not believe the vote was reflective of the Yale community, stressing the vote’s outcome should not detract from the solvency of the problems confronting New Haven.

“I don’t think that the vote is representative of the average Yalie or the average Democrat,” Shalek said. “The endorsement is less important than the issues.”

On the issues, Shalek said, the difference between himself and Livengood is rooted in finding the solutions, not determining the problems.

“Rebecca and I are working towards the same thing,” said Shalek. “[We are both] just as principled, but [I'm] more pragmatic.”

Both are focusing on the economy as one of their primary issues.

As alderwoman, Livengood said her objectives are to encourage economic development and improve the city’s schools. Shalek said, as alderman, he would work towards lowering New Haven’s unemployment rate.

Shalek also said both he and Livengood feel a desire to increase the student presence in the local political scene.

“I’m bothered when I see students view the relationship [between Yale and New Haven] as antagonistic,” Shalek said. “Rebecca and I are both eager to get students involved in city politics.”

Comments