Ward 7 seat up for grabs

Ella Wood
Photo by Alex Schmelling.

Doug Hausladen ’04 is getting an appointment. Ella Wood ’15 is getting a second chance.

Half a year after an unsuccessful bid for Hausladen’s spot on the New Haven Board of Alders, Wood has entered conversations about running a second time for the Ward 7 seat that Hausladen will resign this month in favor of a City Hall appointment. Ward 7 Co-Chair Alberta Witherspoon told the News Tuesday afternoon that Wood called her that morning to say she wanted to run — and to request a meeting to discuss the race.

Abby Roth ’90 LAW ’94, special assistant to Yale School of Management Dean Edward Snyder, said she also plans to run. Roth said Hausladen, who will take over as the city’s new traffic director on Feb. 1, approached her about succeeding him.

Reached Tuesday evening, Wood said she plans to meet with Witherspoon and fellow co-chair Nadine Wall — but that she has not made up her mind about running.

“It’s a process of figuring out what will be best for the ward,” Wood said. “I think with a special election coming up in the ward, the issues that were facing us last September are as important as ever … I want to talk with the leaders and constituents around the ward to figure out where we stand with respect to all of that.”

Wood, a native of Albuquerque, N.M., and the Speaker of the Yale Political Union, moved to Humphrey Street in Ward 7 in August 2013 and then challenged Hausladen’s re-election bid. With the backing of Yale’s UNITE HERE unions, Locals 34 and 35, she ran on a platform of greater community engagement and more equitable economic development. She ultimately drew 232 votes to Hausladen’s 331.

Witherspoon said she and Wall will meet with each of the interested candidates before making an endorsement. Hausladen said he has not yet resigned his seat but hopes to do so in time for the special election to take place on the same day as the race for Mayor Toni Harp’s old state senate seat, which is scheduled for Feb. 25. The election must take place within 45 days of Hausladen’s resignation. A third special election — for the Ward 3 seat on the Board of Alders — will be held on Feb. 17.

Roth, a resident of Audubon Court, has lived in New Haven for the past seven years following a 13-year stint in Washington, D.C. as an attorney for the federal Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. She is the public safety chair of the Wooster Square Management Team. Prior to her post at the School of Management, Roth was the Director of Alumni Affairs at Yale Law School.

Roth said a major component of her agenda would be helping Hausladen execute his vision for the city’s transit services and to continue his work of improving street safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists within the ward. In 2012, she helped organize a traffic-calming initiative at an intersection by Yale-New Haven Hospital where a medical student was struck and killed in 2008.

Wood congratulated Hausladen on his appointment and said the position will put his skills to good use. She said the speed with which the special election will take place will not affect the race.

“There’s enough time,” she said. “It’s a fantastic thing for the ward to have a chance to make use of all the opportunities that another election presents us.”

Ward 7 comprises the downtown area and portions of Wooster Square, the Medical District and the Hill and Dwight neighborhoods.

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