The new year has brought a new spokeswoman to City Hall.
Anna Mariotti, a seven-year New Haven resident originally from Hartford, Conn., will now serve as the new public information officer and director of communications for the city of New Haven. Mariotti started the position last Monday and is replacing Elizabeth Benton ’04, who assumed the role in November 2011 and left her post a year later to work as the communications director for Sen. Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73.
“There are so many good things about New Haven and I sort of always talk about it anyway, that it just seemed like the perfect job: something I really, really wanted to do,” Mariotti said.
Mariotti, who is a 2005 graduate of Trinity College with an American studies major, has served as the president of the City Point Historic District Neighborhood Association and the board chair of the New Haven Democracy Fund, a group that provides matching funds and public financing grants for mayoral candidates.
Benton said that Mariotti is “passionate” and “dedicated” to New Haven, and that she has shown her commitment through her work in the City Point neighborhood.
“Anna has demonstrated a commitment to the city and a talent that will serve her well as communications director,” Benton said.
Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 said he sat in on Democracy Fund meetings and has seen Mariotti chair the group. He said that Mariotti “seemed like someone with strong integrity, a good work ethic and an interest in improving government.”
Mariotti has also served as a legislative liaison and assistant to the Hartford City Council, as well as working with a number of nonprofit organizations, such as United Way. For the 2010 census, she helped the Census Bureau reach and educate “hard-to-count” populations, including immigrants, lower-income populations and college students such as Yale students, who may be initially resistant to census surveys.
“I really want to increase communication: not just the social media, but the grassroots communications with residents,” Mariotti said. Benton was known for increasing City Hall’s social media presence, and Rob Smuts, the chief administrative officer of New Haven, said that he hopes Mariotti will “keep up with changes due to technology” to ensure that residents stay informed.
Mariotti added that she wants to ensure that certain New Haven programs, such as New Haven Promise, get the national attention and recognition that she thinks they deserve.
Alex Johnston, the former president of the City Point Historic District Neighborhood Association, said that Mariotti has been active in a number of neighborhood activities, including preserving the Long Wharf Nature Preserve from highway construction and coordinating the relationship between the City Point neighborhood and the Sound School.
Johnston said that one of the challenges he hopes Mariotti will address is the difficulty of understanding and representing the concerns of different neighborhoods that all have “their own sets of concerns,” though he said Mariotti is “good at listening and good at building relationships” and that in City Point, she has been a “tireless leader and advocate” for the neighborhood.
Mariotti will serve as the twelfth spokesperson for Mayor DeStefano since he first assumed office in 1994.