Holahan ’63 drops out of mayoral race for health reasons

The first New Haven resident to establish a 2007 mayoral campaign committee, former alderman Tom Holahan ’63, has dropped out of the race for health reasons. His daughter, Erica Holahan ’99, said her father plans to continue to be active in the community.

“My dad has lived in New Haven for almost 50 years, and this town is where his heart is,” she said Sunday. “He entered the mayoral race in hopes of bringing positive change to the city, and he’ll continue to work to create positive change in a capacity that won’t be as an elected official.”

Holahan’s exit from the race leaves former alderman Willie Greene as the only declared challenger to DeStefano. Independent James Newton, who ran in 1999, is also gathering support for a run. Although there was speculation that State Senator Toni Harp might enter the mix, she said Sunday that she has no interest whatsoever in running in 2007.

Holahan is a former East Rock alderman and leader in the Friends of East Rock Park Organization. His daughter said that for her personally, one his most important accomplishments as an elected official was his successful effort with a group of neighbors in the late 1970s and early 1980s to prevent the construction of a commuter highway off I-91 that would cut through and effectively ruin East Rock Park.

“I grew up in that park, and had it been destroyed, I would have had a different childhood,” she said. “In the future, I think my dad’s efforts will be in continuing his work on the construction of a Mill River walking trail.”

Holahan, a former New Haven high school physics teacher, said in a November 2006 interview that he was dissatisfied with seven-term Mayor John DeStefano Jr.’s leadership of the city.

“I’ve long felt that the mayor has not run the city properly,” Holahan said. “I think [14] years is a long time to be in office.”

While at Yale, Holahan was a reporter for the News and a friend of Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin Jr., who was known for being outspokenly progressive.

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