Last night, 20 students crowded together in the common room of a Davenport College suite to hear Paul Chandler ’14’s visions for New Haven as the candidate for Ward 1 alderman.
Chandler and his campaign team have now held three of these open, informal meetings, hoping to receive student input on their platforms and refine their policies to reflect their constituents. Fielding questions from attendees, Chandler stressed the three major policies he would tackle as a member of Board of Aldermen: balancing the city budget, investing in the community and reforming education. A Westport, Conn. native and varsity track and field team member, Chandler stressed that he, unlike his competitor Sarah Eidelson ’12, represents the student voice in the election.
“Although Sarah used to be a student here, she is no longer in touch with the constituency base,” Chandler told attendees. “I’m a member of the Yale community, and I think that is one of the biggest assets that I have. Every year you’re out, you lose more and more touch with the students.”
Yale students make up 95 percent of the Ward 1 population, and Chandler has met with the heads of campus advocacy groups, including the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project and the Yale Student Environmental Coalition, to hear their perspectives, he said. Chandler said he intends to use these conversations, such as the YSEC’s pushes to promote ethical investing and consolidate transportation options, to round out his platform.
Chandler also stressed reducing the boundary between the University and New Haven, adding that people should feel no different walking on any part of the campus as they do in other sections of the city. Yale, he said, serves as the largest employer of New Haven residents, and thus the University represents an integral part of the city’s economy. The other aspects of his platform include public safety projects like completing bike lanes and creating brighter streetlights. He is also invested in improving education through expanding vocational programs.
Asked about his decision to run under his Republican political ideology and how that would impact the election, Chandler said he feels it is very “authentic.” During his time canvassing and speaking to fellow Yalies on campus, he said he has found a lot of common ground with many of his peers.
“My goal is to try to knock on every Yale student’s door,” Chandler said. “As the canvasses go on, I will have a chance to take more and more ideas from students and incorporate them into my platform.”
Chandler’s campaign manager Ben Mallet ’16 said he was very pleased by the turnout at the meeting, adding that the goal was to provide students with the opportunity to talk to Chandler about any concerns they have.
“Paul really wanted to do this in an informal, friendly way,” Mallet said. “We could have held this in a lecture hall in WLH, but we are trying to make Paul as accessible as possible to students.”
Mallet added that the campaign plans to delve more heavily into policy starting next week as the ideas from meetings with numerous campus organizations accumulate.
Maria Seravalli ’16, a member of the YUPP who attended the meeting, said she felt that Chandler presented his policies clearly and responded well to tough questions about his Republican leaning. She added that Chandler spoke to her student organization and that she was impressed by his outreach and commitment to improving the prison system in New Haven.
The general election takes place on Nov. 5.