With only eight days before the mayoral primary, State Sen. Toni Harp ARC ’78 spent time on Yale’s campus fielding questions from inquisitive Elis about her candidacy for mayor.
Harp shared information about her platform, including what distinguishes her from other candidates and her plans for education reform in the Elm City. In attendance at the event — which started at Timothy Dwight College — were Ward 1 Alderman Sarah Eidelson ’12, Ella Wood ’15, who is running for Doug Hausladen’s ’04 seat in Ward 7, and Ward 22 Alderman Jeanette Morrison.
After a short session in TD, Harp walked throughout campus, stopping in Silliman College, Cross Campus and Berkeley College while handing out flyers to students and offering to help register them to vote in New Haven.
Asked several times throughout the day what sets her apart from the other three remaining mayoral candidates — Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, former city economic development administrator Henry Fernandez LAW ’94 and Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina — Harp cited her experience, adding that she knows how to get the job done.
Harp, who has worked in the state senate for 20 years, said that her relationship with Gov. Dannel Malloy and her ability to work with the state government will allow New Haven to secure much needed state funds. She has been endorsed by Malloy as well as Senator Chris Murphy.
Harp, Eidelson and Morrison also spoke about the importance of reopening the Dixwell Community “Q” house, a community center for youth and families.
In addition to supporting the “Q” house, Harp discussed her plan to improve the New Haven Public School system. Harp spoke of the need to strengthen the schools as quickly as possible, which she said begins with educating students before kindergarten. She proposed a full-day preschool program that she said could be made feasible by combining funding from different levels of government.
Other education initiatives she mentioned were creating a stronger reading program and providing professional certificates to high school students who are not going to attend college. In today’s economy, she said, some students will not be able to attend college, but they will still need a professional certificate in order to secure a job.
Harp said that she would continue to look for “financial” and “intellectual” support from Yale to help solve the problems of unemployment in New Haven.
According to the United States Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in the city of New Haven as of July 2013 was 12.4 percent.