U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 traveled to New Haven on Wednesday to endorse Connecticut State Sen. Toni Harp ARC ’78 in her bid for the mayor’s office.
“I have known and worked with Toni Harp for two decades or more and I’ve come to admire and respect her commitment to policies that are critical to the people of New Haven,” Blumenthal told the News. “She has a record of accomplishments in areas like health care, public safety, education and other issues that are especially important to major cities like New Haven.”
Blumenthal is the latest member of the state’s Washington delegation to throw his weight behind Harp, who will square off on Nov. 5 against Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 for mayor of New Haven. Both U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy endorsed Harp in August, prior to her victory in September’s four-way Democratic Primary. U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro endorsed the mayoral hopeful at the end of September.
Blumenthal said he planned to make the endorsement ever since the night of the Democratic Primary, when he called Harp to congratulate her on her victory.
“There’s no magic about timing an endorsement,” he said. “New Haven was fortunate enough to have a number of qualified individuals seeking the endorsement, and I called her the night of the primary to congratulate her and to tell her that I would be supporting her as the Democratic-endorsed candidate.”
Blumenthal and Harp held a press conference Wednesday morning at Union Station to discuss transportation issues as they pertain to the city, the state and the region as a whole, with Harp coming out in support of a one-hour express train from New Haven to New York City. Yale President Peter Salovey hinted at a similar idea in his Oct. 13 inaugural address.
“How can we create a local ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs? How would a one-hour train between New York and New Haven change the intellectual and educational biosphere of our campus and city?” Salovey said. “We must ask these and other questions.”
Connecticut State Sen. Martin Looney and erstwhile mayoral candidate and former President of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Matthew Nemerson also attended the press conference. Following his exit from the race, Nemerson has served as an economic adviser to Harp’s campaign.
Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Blumenthal served as the attorney general of Connecticut. He said he could not say how much the endorsement would factor into the decision of New Haven voters but that he has long been an advocate of the city’s residents.
“I’ve done my own part as a U.S. Senator and before that as Attorney General to fight for the people of New Haven and Connecticut,” he said. “And that’s what New Haven needs: someone to advocate and fight for them with the persistence and effectiveness that I know Toni Harp will.
Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 5.