Douglass to run again for Ward 2

Trumbull College second cook Frank Douglass Jr. will run for Ward 2 alderman again, Douglass told the News.

On the same week incumbent Ward 2 alderwoman Gina Calder ’03 EPH ’08 announced her plan to run for the seat, Douglass, 55, confirmed to the News this week that he will run as well, saying he will kick-start his campaign for the Democratic nomination over the summer. Douglass, the union-backed candidate, lost narrowly in 2007 with 254 votes to Calder’s 272.

Frank Douglass Jr., who works as a chef in Trumbull’s dining hall, plans to run for Ward 2 alderman. He will challenge incumbent Ward 2 Alderwoman Gina Calder.
Han Xu
Frank Douglass Jr., who works as a chef in Trumbull’s dining hall, plans to run for Ward 2 alderman. He will challenge incumbent Ward 2 Alderwoman Gina Calder.

As in 2007, the last time these two candidates vied for the position, this election has the potential to divide the district in two.

Although he told the News shortly after his unsuccessful 2007 aldermanic bid that he might run for mayor in the future, Douglass said Tuesday that he has known he would run again for the Ward 2 seat ever since he lost to Calder.

Like last time, Douglass said the unions will be his main support.

The once-self-proclaimed “King of Omelets” ran against Calder two years ago, when then-incumbent Joyce Chen ’01 announced she would not run for a fourth term.

At the time, Yale unions Local 34 and 35, along with some vocal Yale students, backed his campaign advocating for the unionization of workers at Yale-New Haven Hospital — an effort ultimately failed in Dec. 2006 despite support from several city politicians.

In contrast, Calder ran on a platform focusing on economic development. Although she was supported at the time by Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and the Democratic Town Committee, she was also criticized for her statements during the election that the Yale-New Haven unionization effort was not a pressing issue for her ward and for previous employment connections to Yale-New Haven CEO Marna Borgstrom EPH ’77.

The election was tight. The end result: victory by a razor-thin margin for Calder — a mere 18 votes.

But this time around, Douglass said, he will win “by a landslide.”

“You’ve seen what she’s done,” he said Tuesday in the Trumbull dining hall basement. “Now give me a shot and see what I can do.”

He added: “I’m running again — I’m definitely running again — and it’s definitely going to be different.”

Indeed, he said, he will focus on wooing more Yale students, unlike last time.

“Like Obama, I’m really going to focus on the younger crowd,” he said. “That’s where the votes are.”

Many Yale students interested in living off-campus often look for housing in the Dwight neighborhood, Ward 2.

The last Calder-Douglass primary election garnered the highest Ward 2 turnout in years, with over 525 voters. It is quite possible September’s race will see similar — if not greater — results.

When asked about Douglass’ renewed bid, Calder admitted Wednesday she had not expected to run an uncontested race.

“I never really expected an election cycle where I didn’t have an opponent,” she said. “It keeps you on your toes.”

News of Douglass’ plans reached the Trumbull dining hall staff yesterday. There were still murmurs among the cooks as they grilled turkey burgers for dinner.

A Trumbull dining hall worker, when he heard the news, was surprised.

“What?” he said. Then, recomposing himself: “We’re rolling with him. Of course we’re rolling with him.”

Although Douglass once was famous for creating omelettes at the grill in Trumbull, because he is now the third-in-command, he often leads in the basement.

In the past, aldermanic elections in Ward 2 have been hotly contested. Chen defeated Calder in 2005 by only 21 votes.

Martine Powers contributed reporting.

Comments

  • Alum

    He should stick to making omelets, or does being a cook now qualify you to debate budgets and other legislative matters? Oh wait, the Federation of unions is still obsessed with running the city so I guess the answer is yes.