Rachel Plattus ’09 will not run for a second term as Ward 1 alderman, she confirmed to the News on Thursday evening.
Plattus’ decision leaves the campaign road free for Mike Jones ’11, a Saybrook political science major who announced his candidacy for the Ward 1 seat Wednesday evening. Jones is the only one so far to announce any intention of running for the position.
Plattus, a Saybrook freshman counselor who will graduate this May, said she decided not to pursue another cycle as alderman because she believes New Haven’s Ward 1 constituency should be represented by a current Yale student.
“One of the reasons I ran in the first place was because I felt it was really important for a student to be in the seat,” Plattus said. “That’s why Mike decided to run, and for the sake of Yale undergraduates, there is a lot of merit to the idea that the seat should continue to be held by a student.”
Plattus met with Jones last night to inform him officially that she did not plan to run again for a second term, and to discuss Jones’ upcoming campaign, Plattus said. She said she had conversed with Jones several times before Wednesday about the aldermanic position, and Jones seemed excited and enthusiastic about the job.
In an e-mail message to the News on Thursday night, Jones complimented Plattus on her “extraordinary commitment” to the Yale and New Haven communities.
“I look forward to watching her progress over the next year, and I wish her the best of luck in whatever she decides to do next,” Jones wrote in the e-mail.
In the day since he announced his candidacy, Jones and his campaign team — Campaign Manager Matthew Ellison ’10 and Communications Director Chris Magoon ’12 — have started a Facebook group entitled “Mike Jones for Alderman” that, as of 8 p.m. Thursday, had recruited 255 members.
Jones also sent a message to the Yale Dem_talk e-mail panlist late Wednesday night, informing them of his intention to run for the Ward 1 seat and outlining his academic background and his vision for the aldermanship.
“I want to help make New Haven a better community, and I want to help address the concerns of those who may not have much of a voice in city government – including the young and the homeless,” Jones wrote in the e-mail.
Because of Jones’ involvement in a tutoring program at Wilbur Cross High School, his desire to give voice to “the young and the homeless” may suggest plans to improve the education of New Haven schoolchildren and support for the homeless . Additionally, Jones’ Wednesday press release stated that he plans to improve Yale-New Haven relations, encourage comprehensive sexual education and alleviate the city’s financial crisis.
On a personalized page featuring Jones on Yale’s Roosevelt Institution Web site, he listed himself as involved with the Institution’s Center on Education, and wrote that he is interested in “tackling policy issues regarding education — especially higher education.”
Jones also made it clear in his letter to the Dem_talk e-mail panlist that if he wins this fall’s aldermanic elections, he will not seek re-election at the end of his first term. Jones plans to keep students highly involved in city politics “until my successor is chosen in 2011,” he wrote in the e-mail.
Though Jones hurried to disperse the news of his candidacy around Yale’s campus on Wednesday night, an official announcement of his entry into the aldermanic race does not seem to have yet reached the Board of Aldermen. Aldermanic President Carl Goldfield said Jones has not yet contacted him or released any official statement to the Board of Aldermen.